So friends, today was Sir O's first day of first grade.
I'm getting to be a professional at being Sir O's mother, so I was anticipating a bit of drama. But somehow I always screw this up and I never (ever) anticipate the right flavor of drama. Sir O keeps throwing combinations at me that I'd never have seen coming. Like some milkshake flavor I would never have dreamed up. I think this morning was something like a mint marshmallow pineapple peanut butter when I was only expecting something the marshmallow and the peanut butter parts.
Sir O is always painfully anxious about new and unfamiliar experiences. He's a kid that likes to wallow well inside of his comfort zone. I was frustrated that the meet-your teacher open house was only the day before school started, and I probably ought to have inquired about a chance to take him in sooner (and at a time that the place wouldn't be swarming with other kids and their younger siblings), but somehow my plate was always full enough that I never did get that done. We attended the open house yesterday and he seemed at least halfway positive about it, if you ignore the part where he refused to set foot in his first classroom without being carried.
His teachers (he has two, half day English, half day Spanish) seem enormously sweet, he has an awesome class pet/turtle named Mr. Hobbes. He already knows about half of the kids in his class, he just hasn't seen them since May. I helped him last night to build the most fun and healthy lunch to pack that I could muster. Those are dinosaur sandwiches with Nori scales down their backs, come on, give me points.
I failed, however, to wake up before the crack of dawn this morning. I foolishly thought I could manage to get everyone presentable and get Sir O to school early enough to get settled without waking myself up before 5am. Sir O decided to have a panic attack about what pants/shorts to wear. The other boys refused to get dressed. Bunny took longer than usual to nurse. Nobody was willing to eat breakfast. And then the neighbors across the street started walking to school, without parents. And Sir O immediately decided he needed to join them. Except I hadn't taken his picture yet and was planning to take him to school and help him find his classroom on the first day. He was not happy with me. He fought me with all his recalcitrance. So I finally said "fine," and he started to go. But his friends were out of sight, and at some point he remembered how anxious he is. So he turned around and headed back home. Luckily I had already thrown all the kids in the car and was planning to at least follow him and make sure he entered the school appropriately. I threw him and his scooter in and snagged one of the only parking spots left in front of the school. Then the panic set in at full-strength and he again refused to actually enter his classroom. I took his backpack and scooter to the coatroom, essentially carried him to his desk, and tried really hard to find encouraging things to say. He was having none of it.
So I left him. All brutally introverted and hating life. When he gets like that my presence usually aggravates things. I know his teacher will not have time to coax him out of his moodiness, there are just too many other kids in his class. I wrote a note on his information sheet saying he'd probably take at least 2 weeks to warm up to school again. I'm just a bit worried that by the time he warms up to 1st grade his teachers will have already pegged him as an ornery unpleasant kid and not have eyes to see the sweetness and vulnerability underneath. They are, after all, very outnumbered human beings with limited amount of emotional energy to spend on their classrooms of diverse personalities.
So I'm bracing myself today, and attempting to batten down the hatches for the hurricane that will hit when Sir O gets home from school. I have no idea what flavor of hurricane to expect, but I can pretty accurately predict it will consume everything in its path. I will do my best to be a soft place to land, but I anticipate today will go down in the annals as a rough day.