The start of kindergarten and the shift to fall

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Jonah started kindergarten last Wednesday. It’s a milestone I’ve been actively dreading for months now, and subconsciously dreading ever since his first weeks on earth. I have to admit that, to no one’s surprise but mine, it’s been a beautifully positive experience so far.

Before school started we squeezed in one more small summer adventure at Warren Dunes. The beach was packed, but my favorite part by far was climbing the dunes and watching the kids make forts from the vines and branches at the top. They would have played there all afternoon if K and I hadn’t insisted on a swim to escape the heat and humidity.

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We stopped for Ice Cream in St. Joseph on the way home, and I was certainly feeling heavy saying goodbye to summer. Along with all of the big feelings I have about my first baby growing up and going to school is another sprinkling of sadness over the loss of long days, late nights with nowhere to be the next morning, the sound of summer insects in the evening, the ease of nothing but “grab your flip flops” to get kids out the door, and the planning of many an adventure. I’m also feeling some anxiety because Kristin is going to be out of town almost every weekend from late September through November for a yoga teacher training program, which means I’m going to be doing a lot of solo parenting. I’m overwhelmed by the thought of it, but I have to say that the way the last week has unfolded is giving me a new sense of faith in this change of seasons.

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Jonah picked out his outfit for the first day, and while he woke up and told me that he wasn’t as excited as he’d been all summer – he was actually feeling a little bit nervous – he put on a brave face and seemed to come around by the time we left the house. Kristin and I walked him to school (he scooted) and we cried as we walked behind him, unable to believe that we’ve already reached this point.

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He seemed to get a little bit shy in front of the school as lots of other families began to gather, but he let us take pictures and seemed glad to have us close.

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We did all of the usual walking him to class, finding his seat and his cubby, learning the morning routine, and then after lingering for a bit we said goodbye. He never cried, hugged us both tight, and let us go.

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We took him out for dinner after his first day, along with Gigi and Papa Doc, and there was a double rainbow across the sky as we drove. We marveled at what a good sign that must be after all of this worry. Amazingly, there was another one last night, before the start of week two. At the end of his first week when Mama K picked him up, he told her, “I LOVE my school.” Today he brought home a worksheet on which he wrote his name and had to color in a face to illustrate his feelings. It reads: “My name is Jonah. This is my first week of kindergarten and today I feel…” He colored in “Happy.”

He also lost a tooth, the first one he’s lost non-surgically, in his first week of school. He seemed surprised and proud all at once and announced the big event to his entire class the next morning.

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So things are looking up. My hope for Jonah this year is that he continues to love school, continues to be naturally curious and to love learning, makes new friends, and grows more confident and willing to try new things even when they seem difficult or frustrating.

Jude and Vivienne are happy to be back at preschool, Vivi especially. She missed her friends all summer long and is hilariously proud to be one of the bigger kids at school now (though they still have two years to go before kindergarten). She graduated from the nap room (because she talks and sings and keeps everyone else awake) and announced it proudly to a number of other teachers, and I’m told that she helps the younger preschoolers and tells them, “When you’re big like me, you’ll be able to do this by yourself.” One day I received a text from one of their toddler teachers from two years ago. She was covering a class upstairs and she sent two pictures and said: “One of your children was beyond thrilled that she found worms, and one of your children was not going to sleep without his jet-pack.” I love the things that make them so uniquely them right now.

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The cooler weather has been lovely. It makes me want to bake and drink tea. It makes me want to buy fabric and sew things (even though it’s been awhile – I need to get back into it). I signed up for a couple of online photography classes that I’m excited about, and I’m getting excited about getting into the Halloween costume groove very soon. Part of the craftiness drive is surely connected to the fact that our mudroom renovation is finally really moving along. It feels like we got started at the very beginning of summer, and now the flooring is done, the paint and wallpaper are done, we’re ordering lighting, and we’re still making some other design choices and have some serious furniture construction to do, but we’re getting there. My hope is that by October I’ll have a craft room, in addition to a gorgeous mudroom that we love.

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So let’s do this thing, Fall. We found out today that my sister and the kids are coming for an impromptu visit tomorrow due to Hurricane Florence, Kristin’s birthday is on Wednesday (along with two school meetings), and the kids start gymnastics on Saturday. There’s a lot coming up, but we’re ready and feeling pretty good.

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