Wednesday, August 15, 2012

School? Already?!!

On Monday, my son had his very first day of Pre-kindergarten at an actual school.  We had talked the new school up quite a bit, pointing it out every time we passed the building.   We emphasized that Zane was a big boy, and therefore he needed to go to a Big Boy school. As we picked out his supplies, we let him choose a few items, all the while telling him that he was going to have a great time at his new school. We even bragged on the merits of the new playground!

Zane was all on board with us, until last week.  Last week, he decided that, no, he would not be attending school this year. 

"Next year," my son said. 

I patiently explained about nonrefundable deposits and how they were NONrefundable, but this meant little to my son because I did not preface my explanation with the words "Lego", "Ninjas", or "Candy".   I finally just told him that he had to go to school because Mommy and Daddy had to go to work, and that was that. School is, after all, the "job" of the child; they just get paid in different currency. 

The morning of the big day, Larry and I were both up before the alarm, our anxieties on high alert.  We kept our game faces on, however, so Zane would be more amenable about going to school.  We let him pick out his favorite soccer jersey, some team called Chelsea.  We let him pick out his shoes.  We tried to feed him breakfast, but he wasn't interested, so we bundled him into the car and drove to school, just like 14,000 other people did.  14,000 people, a parking lot that holds was chaos.

We thought that Zane would be impressed with all the other kids attending his school.  He wasn't.  Instead, we got this:

We didn't exactly drag the boy to his classroom, but Zane walked with all the enthusiasm of the condemned.  This was just pitiful. 

Scientists have previously only observed this sort of behavior in the American teenager; large, well-funded grants are needed to study this new phenomenon.

Now, here is where I could have been a firm disciplinary type.  I could have clearly stated limits and offered incentives.  I could have, but I did not.  Instead, I did what many, many parents before me have done:  I offered a bribe. 

"If you smile and go into your class and listen to your teacher, I will bring you a 'SUPER SECRET SURPRISE'."  At my words, the boy perked right up.  He wanted to know what the surprise was, of course, but I felt that I should honor the definition of the word 'surprise'.  Zane will do many things for a 'SUPER SECRET SURPRISE'.  Even if the 'SUPER SECRET SURPRISE' is a piece of candy. 

Gone was the dragging of feet.  Now Zane was all smiles and downright perky. We went into his class, he met his teacher, he sat at a table, there were Legos...and he was fine.  Zane was just fine with the world. Which I hope his teacher appreciated, since several other kids were screaming and crying their fool heads off as their parents left the room. They probably should have included ear plugs on the list of office supplies.

I did hold it all together until we got out of the classroom.  All the other moms in the office told me that I would cry, and they were right.   I cried on the way back to the car.  I cried in the car on the way to work.  I cried when I got to work and people asked me how it went.

I'm a softie about some things, I guess. Watching Zane grow up has been a joy, and it seems like this day got here too quickly.  I wanted a little more time to enjoy his being a little boy, I guess.  A little more time to hug him and play Ninja Shark vs. Pirate T-Rex  But just like I'm getting older and creakier, my child is growing up.  We both have to deal with it. 


  1. This post made me tear up a little. I used to work in daycare and while it's not the same as Pre-K, the kids always reacted the same on the first day. Crying and screaming, clutching their parents leg. I'm sure he will do just fine! Good luck!

  2. Aww. That's how my son looked going into kindergarten. He starts first grade in a couple weeks and I know it's going to be tough.

    Glad Zane got cozy quickly.

    So what's the surprise?

  3. Thank goodness he brightened up, a those photos made me sad! What was the surprise momma? Did you get one too for making it outside with those tears,you should have!

    1. I actually had a big glass of wine that evening. Sort of a celebration and stress release!


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