Our morning was rushed, kids had to be woken up. They don't like this. Honestly, who does? So Little Dog started his morning in a screaming meltdown. Luckily Big Dog was there to turn things around. One thing I love about having the boys close enough in age to exhaust me on an hourly basis is that they seem to have this special relationship, almost a special language that can enrage, but also instantly soothe. So Big Dog stepped in and the within a minute Little Dog was laughing and reenergized to get on to "Big Boy School". They eat breakfast, get dressed and off to the car we go. Mr. Dog follows us in his car so if Little Dog needs more time to warm up, he can stay and help him settle in.
We arrive at his school and he's buzzing. Didn't want to pose for first day of school photos, he just wants to get inside. We sign in and get his stuff put away. He seems excited, not scared. He adapts quickly so I wasn't too worried. I say my good bye, tell him to have a great day and tell me all about it when I see him later. Mr. Dog hangs back to help him adjust.
Big Dog and I head back to the car. As we head toward his school, Big Dog maligns the smokers in the cars around us. It makes me laugh and makes me almost forget how nervous I am about his first day of school. As we turn toward the school I glance in the rear view mirror and notice Mr. Dog is right behind us. After parking, as we walk toward the school he catches up with us. Apparently Little Dog had settled in so easily he felt he could go with us to see Big Dog start school too.
We get him settled in his classroom, meet a few other parents and snap a few photos. The bell rings and it's time for us to let him go. We walk to the library for the PTA coffee and talk. The whole time I'm worrying. Worrying about Little Dog, worried that he won't be happy without his big brother in his school. Worrying about Big Dog, worried that he won't love school the way I want him to. Finally I head off to work. I spend my day rushing from meeting to meeting. Stressing about deadlines. Following up on issues and problems. All the while my boys are on my mind. I can't help it. I'm a mom.
Finally it's time for pick up. I head to Big Dog's school and am pleasantly surprised to find him happily engaged in some kind of game with two other boys. I talk to the staff, he's had a good day. Then I tell him it's time to go get Little Dog, we need to head out. As we walk to the car, I start asking about his day. He looks at me, and with an exasperated sigh says "Mama, I already told all of this to the people you were just talking to." So I guess I'll have to come to terms with the fact the after school care staff will hear more about his day than I will.
As we drive over to Little Dog's school, he begins to open up. They had gym class today. The coach likes to be called Mr. D better than his real name. Big Dog thinks this is strange. They played outside and he had two popsicles. Both red, they were delicious. At lunch he sat next to Skyler. He's nice. They had rest time at their desks. When he put his head down he pretended to bang his head on the table and it made two girls laugh. He's chatty. He's happy. He can't wait to go back tomorrow.
When we pick Little Dog up I'm kind of worried. We're the last pick up. It's not even that late, but the school is mostly empty. I guess on the first day more people pick them up earlier. Other than a bumpy nap time, the teacher reassures me he had a great day. When I ask him he says "no". Did he have a good time? "No." Did he meet some nice friends? "No." and then the grin cracks across his face. I knew it was coming, but I never know how long he's going to keep going before he lets me in on his joke.
He's less chatty, but he tells me about playing outside. Raves about the fish sticks and catsup. Says he painted a monster with horns. He had a good day too. He likes it. He wants to go back. I start to believe this is all going to work out. Though honestly, the coordination of it all is a bit daunting. I'm going to have to be on top of things and it will be pretty easy to screw things up.
Once we get home the meltdowns start. Both boys are tired. Too tired. It's been a long day of new experiences and they've had a pretty mellow summer. First days are hard. Being "on" all day has put them into an "off" state that is wearing me down. It's time to go inside, they want to stay outside. I want them to wash their hands, it's too hard. I make pizza for dinner, they won't eat it. I give them cereal instead. Big Dog seems to be a half step away from tears of frustration all evening. Little Dog is not listening, breaking rules then insisting he is "so so sorry!" It's exhausting. I'm already so wiped out from the stress of the day I'm just gritting my teeth and trying to be patient. Trying to be understanding. Trying to encourage them to use their words and tell me what they need or want. I know it's not their fault, and at one point in a major meltdown over a glass of water that got knocked over, Big Dog perfectly sums it up. "Papa," he says, tears pouring down his face, "It's been a long day!"
They've since had a a bath and seem much calmed. I expect they'll fall into bed and be asleep in a heartbeat. I expect I'll soon follow. But I have a glass of wine to finish. We've all got some adjusting to do. I know it will get easier with time, I just hope they don't do me in first. I'll keep you posted.