Because I really do owe my boys a great big huge apology for totally underestimating their amount of stress this week with the start of school. It became pretty clear by school day number 4 when every single person in the house was tantruming in the morning, including me. It was a bit obvious the night before when the 5-yr-old new kindergartener cried every 5 minutes about absolutely everything in big weeping, sobbing tears punctuated by blood-curdling screams.
Yes, it took me three days to become reflective enough to see that the boys were exhausted and I certainly had not done well enough to prepare them nor to help them navigate the huge change of starting school. By the time I got them to bed on day #4, I had myself a little cry-out of emotional exhaustion on my bed (and though I stumble on the “language” in this post about emotionally exhausting mothering, when I read it the next morning, I thought – wow, that’s exactly what I’m thinking!)
I was actually glad there was no school on Friday. I took the “little boys” (ie, Mr. Trouble and the Little Guy) in to day care with Mr. Ornery so that he could “visit” and say hi to his friends again. Then we all just played at home for the morning – the school boys on the computer, me in the weeds – until the afternoon when we explored a new pool (thanks to Pittsburgh Mommy Blog’s mention of it). It was exactly what we all needed. No stress. No worry. Something new and fun. Time on a pool lounge chair for me to just sit for a bit, to breathe. A chance to regroup and become friendly to each other again.
So, today I say:
Super Tall Guy, I am so sorry for being so grumpy with you this week and for not being more patient. You knew you didn’t want to go back to school because “it’s too boring” and “second grade is too hard.” You have changed classrooms, changed teachers, and changed most of your classmates. And to top it all off, your best friend from the past two years is in the other second-grade class. Despite all this, you have “stayed on green” every day, and I haven’t had a call yet from the teacher!, and you haven’t even given (too much) of a fuss about getting ready for school. I shall try to give you a little extra attention this next week and let’s find the fun in second grade.
Mr. Ornery, I owe you a super huge apology for completely underestimating the amount of change you would be going through and how exhausting that would be for you. Your cheerful smile and bouncy energy mask the fact that you’re so nervous inside that you just can’t hold back the tears. Your whole daytime world has changed and Mommy’s just been like, “hey, you’re going to kindergarten now….have fun!” I know – it’s the second time “kindergarten” for me….but it’s the first time for you. I’m sorry. You certainly needed many more cuddles and hugs and explanations than you were getting from me, even with the whole “Kissing Hand” bit. Thanks for being such a brave little boy and for loving your awesome teacher so much (but, um, hey – don’t forget about your Mommy!). I promise to give you much more “lovings” this coming week and find time every day to listen to just you tell me about your day at school.
Hey Little Guy, sorry for kind of forgetting about you…..again. With all the excitement of the brothers going back to “real” school, there certainly wasn’t much hoopla to celebrate that you were also moving to “the big kid class” at your day care center. Yes, you visited it a few times and you always seem to handle transitions well, but maybe your extended and extraordinarily annoying whining fits are just your way of saying “Hey Mom, my life is stressful too, you know! Where’s my attention?!? Hello!!!”
So….to possibly avoid future apologies (yeah, right!), next “Back to School” season, I’m going to try to remember to:
- Acknowledge that it’s going to be stressful and tell the boys that. Let them know that they are going to get so tired from meeting new teachers and new friends and old friends and figuring out new classrooms and new seating arrangements and new schedules. They have new desks and new chairs. New backpacks and lunch boxes. New clothes and new shoes. New readings and math and homework. It sure is a whole lot of new at one time – and how many of us like change?!?
- Have something fun and special in their lunch boxes every day. Take some time to write a little note or draw a little picture. I’m not super creative like some parents, but I would like to do something a little more meaningful than a hurriedly packed sandwich.
- Celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of the school year by having some one-on-one time with each boy. I thought about it a bit late this year and asked Super Tall Guy to go out to breakfast last week…and he wanted The Flipper to join us. I wish I had done the same with the other boys.
- Stock up on a little more patience and a lot more sleep! I definitely needed to be in bed earlier myself each night to be more rested and ready to handle their emotions. I had a hard enough time managing my own emotions and feelings feed off each other like wildfire!
- Slather the boys with as many hugs and kisses as I can get away with. After all, they are still young enough that they’re letting me hug and kiss them before they walk into the school and I know this isn’t going to last long.
In fact, none of these days and years and moments of time last long, so I don’t want to live in regret. We’ll have a re-do next year and next week!