Well, we’re three weeks into the new school year and so far things seem to be going quite smoothly. The boys look forward to going to school every day. No one has come down with an awful case of the Flu or Gastroenteritis (knock on wood….especially about the stomach virus….there’s nothing funny about projectile vomit and explosive poops…ever). And, most importantly, I haven’t forgotten to drop anyone off or pick anyone up from their respective schools (yet).
Now, this is a big year for us. For the first time ever, all three of my boys are going to school. Finn is in second grade and he’s thrilled to bits that all of his little buddies are in his class. He’s still shy as could be around his teacher and his face turns a lovely shade of plum purple whenever she speaks to him, but we’re working on that. I was paralyzingly shy at his age (I know, hard to believe considering no one can get me to shut up now) and it took my mother ages to get me to come out of my shell. And she tells everyone the story about how once she finally did manage to get me to open up and talk to people, my teacher made me write my name on the chalkboard as punishment for talking out of turn during class and then I retreated right back into my shell. Wouldn’t say a peep to anyone. The teacher complained to my mother that I was being shy once again and my mother firmly responded, “It’s your problem now!”
Each afternoon on the ride home from school, I ask Finn how his day was and he always replies “Good.” I then ask for three things that they did that day at school and he always gives me the same answers – Recess, Lunch and Gym. I then bang my head against the steering wheel and insist that they must be doing something other than running around and eating.
“Did you do any writing?” I ask him.
“Nope,” he says.
“Any math or science?”
“You must have done some reading.”
He grins at me and says “Nope.”
Sometimes it feels like he’s been professionally trained by NCIS or the FBI. This kid doesn’t give up a thing. But that’s okay….Christmas time is just around the corner (apologies if I just stressed you out with that statement) and I’m pretty sure he’ll get a bit more chatty in exchange for a few good words to Santa. A mama has to do what a mama has to do.
When Cal’s first day of kindergarten arrived, I was a bag of nerves. I thought I’d be calm. I thought I’d be collected. I thought I’d be cool. I’d already been through the whole ‘first day of kindergarten’ thing and honestly thought that I wouldn’t be as worried or emotional with my second child. But that’s not the case at all. This school stuff never gets any easier. As we stood there at the school door, waiting for the bell to ring and the teachers to take them inside, I kept smothering him in kisses and giving him long, lingering hugs. Cal loves a good cuddle, so he was delighted with all the affection….until about the sixth hug. Then he kind of shrugged me off and gave me the “Enough with all the hugs” look. Finn has given me that look a million times, so I know it well. I stepped back and took a deep breath. He’s such a sweet, thoughtful little boy. What if someone’s mean to him, I thought. What if he gets his little heart broken? He smiled at me, blew me a little kiss and walked into his classroom. My right eye started to feel watery. Then my left eye. I felt like we were in a Hallmark commercial or something.
The minutes seemed to crawl by while he was at school. I kept checking the clock, wondering what he might be doing. Hoping that he wasn’t getting lost or having trouble opening up his yogurt drink. I think about ten grey hairs popped out of my scalp that afternoon. What am I going to be like when my boys go off to university?! The Hubby is going to have to get me hooked up to a Valium drip or something. When pick-up time finally arrived, Cal came running full-speed out of the school door, shouting “This is the best day ever!!!!” at me. So it appears all that worrying was for nothing. He loves his teacher (although he is pretty shy around her, too). He loves the kids in his class. And he really loves snack time.
And then there’s Ro-Ro. There has never been a child more excited to go to preschool. He has been bursting to walk through that school door since the day that I registered him last January. All he wants to do is be a big boy and do what his older brothers do. I keep telling him to slow down….you’re only three once….but he has no interest whatsoever in being little. He wants to experience everything and meet everyone. And he really wants to paint.
So on the first day of preschool, he was up before the sun, poking me in the nose and telling me to wake up so that I could help him get dressed and make his breakfast because he had to go to school. I’ve never seen anyone scarf down a bowl of Cheerios faster. And he’s definitely never put on his shoes all by himself without so much as a whine or a bit of protest. That kid was on a mission.
When we finally arrived at his preschool, the teachers asked the parents to come inside for a moment to get their children settled and help them deal with any separation anxiety. Separation anxiety? He couldn’t kick me out of that school fast enough. Ro-Ro ran over to the craft table, pulled a smock over his head and sat down to begin painting. I knelt down, gave him a kiss on his fluffy blonde head and asked him if he was okay. He nodded at me as he dipped his brush in the paint.
“I’ll pick you up after story time. Have lots of fun and listen to your teacher. And remember to go to the potty when you feel you need to pee.”
He looked up at me, rolled his eyes, let out a dramatic sigh and said “Go, Mommy, go. I gotta paint.”
Right then. That was me told!
“Well, I need a kiss before I can go anywhere,” I told him. He sighed again.
He turned his head to the side and puckered up his lips to give me a kiss, never taking his eyes off his painting. I bent down, gave him a peck and then walked towards the door. I was old news.
Two hours later, I returned to the preschool to pick up Ro-Ro. As he walked toward the door to leave, he looked up at his teacher and said “Goodbye, Miss Cheryl!” He was glowing with pride as he held up his school bag, which looked like it was bursting with artwork. His teacher told me that he insisted on doing each craft project at least three times. At this rate, we’ll be able to wallpaper the house twice over in his artwork by the time he finishes preschool. But that is NOT happening. I’ll just have to be a bit ‘selective’ with his scrapbook.
We were driving to Ro-Ro’s second day of preschool when I asked him what was most exciting about school. I expected him to say ‘snack time’ like his older brothers.
“Seeing my girls!!” He said as he kicked his legs around in excitement.
“Your girls?” I asked him. Who was he talking about? The girls in his class? I was surprised he had time to notice any since he was so busy painting on the first day of school.
“Yeah, my girls!” he said again. “I gotta see my girls!”
“Well, who are your girls?” I asked him. It was only his second day of school ever and already he was talking about girls. What was he going to be like by the time he got to middle school? Suddenly home schooling was seeming rather appealing.
“You know,” he muttered as a sly smile spread across his face.
“No I don’t, Ro. I wasn’t there. Why don’t you tell me?”
He looked out the window and thought for a moment. Then he held up his right hand and started counting on his fingers as he listed “Well, there’s MIss Patty, there’s Miss Cheryl, there’s Miss…Miss….what’s her name….Miss….I don’t know.”
Wait a minute. He was listing off the names of his teachers.
“Ro-Ro, do you mean your teachers?” I asked him.
“Yeah, you know. My girls. They’re my girls and I’m gonna go see them now.” He was very sure of himself. I’m pretty sure his teachers didn’t tell him to call them ‘his girls’.
“Ro-Ro, they’re not your girls. They’re your teachers.”
“Noooooo. They’re my girls.”
I snickered to myself and shook my head. Clearly he was feeling very comfortable at school. I should probably explain to him how he should respect his teachers and not call them “his girls”, I thought to myself. I figured we would just have that talk after school.
When we arrived at the preschool, he gave me a quick kiss and then ran in the school door. I stood there watching as he hung up his school bag on his hook and began taking off his shoes. And then, as innocently as anything, he looked up at his teachers, smiled and said “Hello girls!!!”
I froze on the spot. Clearly I should have given him that whole ‘respect your teachers’ lecture before we got out of the car. I stood there on the pavement, waiting for ‘his girls’ to drag me inside to discuss my cheeky child.
And then they started laughing. And then Ro-Ro started laughing.
“Good morning, Ro!” I heard his teachers respond.
And then I heard his sweet little voice saying, “Good morning, Miss Patty! Good morning, Miss Cheryl! Good morning, Miss….you.”
We’ll have to work on that other teacher’s name. Whatever it is.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I turned and walked towards the car. That kid really knows how people work. And he really knows how to work a room. I’m not sure where he got all that charm from, but he definitely has it. And then I had a thought that sent shock waves through my system.
Oh my God, he’s going to be a politician.