Andy boarded the kindergarten bus without a single glance backwards. We waved pointlessly in his general direction as the bus rode off, but he was too busy beginning his new life as a big man about campus to bother to look our way. That's it. Armed with a bag of Teddy Grahams that I carefully pre-cut open for him (just a little snip to get you started, son) and the confidence of someone who has never truly been told no, he was completely ready to get the day going. Later, he would act annoyed by my thousand questions, but the answers were so deeply unsatisfying that I could barely stand it. What do you mean, you didn't make any new friends? How can you not remember what you did all day? Did you miss me at all? You didn't miss me AT ALL?
People warned me about the first weeks of full day kindergarten. They said:
He will come home and be so very exhausted. False. He comes home and begs to go the playground.
He will be too excited to eat his lunch or snack. False. He ate it all, except for dessert yesterday because he didn't have enough time to get to it. Today, he said he ate dessert first. It only took one day for him to figure that one out.
The bus will be late the very first days. True. Although today it was only ten minutes behind, which is shocking to me considering I can't get TWO kids into the CAR in under twenty minutes, at least not without threatening to lightly beat someone. Note to self. Check to see if my child has been lightly beaten.
The second day will be harder than the first. False. The second day, Andy was up EVEN EARLIER than the first day, ready and excited to go before the sun had fully appeared on the horizon. Who needs an alarm clock? Between Andy's eagerness and my own parental anxiety, the clock next to the bed is totally pointless. I'm up. My baby's sleeping from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm, but now I'm clocking three hour shifts beginning at midnight and ending at five. So, actually, it's more like one three hour shift. And bits of a two hour one.
My other kids will be lost without Andy. False. Emily is obviously perfectly fine, and Alex- well, Alex is a delight to be around without Andy there to antagonize him. He plays nicely by himself and very clearly enjoys doing what he wants when he wants without having to share or take turns. Alex is discovering how wonderful it is to just be Alex. And he's happy to see Andy at the end of the school day- but not, like, overly so. I guess nobody really misses anybody around here. Except me, I do miss Andy. Although, it would be nice if Andy and Alex could just alternate getting on that bus everyday.
It will be harder on me than it is on Andy. True. Understatement of the year. Andy is perfectly fine with the whole kindergarten thing. He loves taking the bus, clearly. He loves spending the whole day there. He has very easily accepted this big change in his routine without positing a single question. Is it that children are more trusting than adults in believing that things will just work out? I'm up half the night thinking that putting him on a bus in order to return safely (and educated and nourished) eight hours later is the craziest expectation I've ever had, and he just marches on the bus and sits down confidently without even a sniff of the driver's breath to check for alcohol. I mean, how is it possible that I'm the weird one here? How is it that my young child thinks this whole intricate system is somehow perfectly normal??
The years go by quickly once they start school. I don't know yet. I believe it, I guess, since just three days ago he was an itty bitty newborn with a wig of hair. Two days ago, Alex was an itty bitty newborn, and yesterday it was Emily. Actually, more like five minutes ago it was Emily. But that last one is a fact. It hasn't been three days since Andy was born. It's been five years and almost two months, and it's gone by pretty quickly. So if it starts to go even quicker, then we're all in trouble. Now excuse me while I gather up my children, hug them tightly, and try not to think of how old we'll all be in another five years.