It’s been over a month since Nate started school… can you believe it!? Over one month since this little dude of mine began Junior Kindergarten! And even more shocking than that is the fact that he’ll be turning FOUR exactly one week from now! I’m so proud of how far he’s come in terms of school and gaining some independence from me. The first two days of school were totally fine. I think he was excited to see his classroom, meet new friends, and play with new toys, however; the next week he definitely realized that school was an every day, all day long thing and the anxiety of being away from Eli and I was taking its toll on him. Drop offs were hard. I happened to be off his first full week of school so I was the one taking him and picking him up every day while Kurt was working. I was so fearful of him taking the bus that I wanted to prolong it as long as possible but looking back, I know now that me being the one leaving him was far worse than him leaving me. The moment we pulled into the school parking lot and began walking to the gated area, he would start tearing up and then he’d be in full-fledged melt down mode as soon as he saw his ECE standing outside waving to him. I would look around and see other kids being dropped off perfectly fine and immediately would become frustrated that my kid was the one crying. I realize now though that many of his classmates actually have other siblings in the school so for many of them, drop offs were probably easier because they knew they had their brother or sister there with them. Nate was alone. He had never had to go to daycare while I was working and had spent the last year at home with me while I was off on maternity leave. This was a completely new and rather frightening experience for him.
By the third week of school I decided it was time to try the bus route and see if perhaps that would help him to adjust to his new life. We had done the First Riders program together that his bus company offers so he was familiar with the bus but I was still worried about him being so young and having to do this all on his own. After all, he is only three years old. But to my amazement, by day three he was getting on the bus with no complaints and whining. He would look back at me with a few tears in his eyes but seeing the other kids (especially a little girl in his class) getting on the bus too, it definitely helped to ease some of his worry. I remember standing there the first few days after the bus took off with the mom of the little girl in his class and she assured me that eventually it would get easier and less stressful. She told me how her older son had once gotten off at the wrong school when he first started out but that the teachers there immediately noticed and the bus circled back for him and how he had once fallen asleep on the bus and when the bus driver realized, he phoned her to explain what had happened and that he would keep the boy on the bus until she could meet them at the next stop. Her main points to her worrisome stories were that these bus drivers are incredibly well trained and know what they’re doing.
Toward the end of September we had the Back to School BBQ where we were able to meet with his teacher and ECE as well as tour the classroom and learn about their day to day activities. His ECE is on yard duty in the mornings and she assured us that Nate had started coming off the bus with a big smile on his face vs. tears in his eyes. She kept saying how sweet of a little boy he is and how he always gives her a big hug as soon as he sees her in the mornings. His teacher also informed us that Nate loves to solve puzzles and he’s very good at comparing shapes and letters to other similar objects. It gets a little overwhelming some days when I’m at home with just Eli. It feels like part of me is missing and then I begin to panic a little bit thinking about how I don’t know what he’s doing at that exact moment. I’ve spent almost four years knowing exactly what he’s doing during the day, even when I’ve been at work, I’ve always had a general idea of what he was up to with my dad but now that he’s at school, I have no clue. It’s weird thinking about how he has this entirely separate life from us now. One that we are and are not a part of. He’s becoming his own little person and it’s exciting and thrilling to watch him blossom into a new version of himself, it’s also a bit sad to know we aren’t able to witness it 100%. But regardless, I am so very proud of him and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for him!
Photos by Autumn Leaf Photography