Thursday, September 01, 2005
Emily's first day of Argh.
Yesterday was Emily's first day of kindergarten. She was only in school for 3 hours, but it was a looooong day.

It started Tuesday night. She was just so wired up about starting school the next morning that it took absolutely nothing to set her off. Plus she was home with Willem and my dad while I was teaching my class, and that's a whole lot of Daddy games to cram into one evening. Here a spaz, there a spaz, everywhere a spaz, spaz. At one point after she had ostensibly been tucked into bed, we hear a thump and a wail - she had hit her head on the ceiling. Now, granted, she does have a loft bed, so this isn't as insane as it might otherwise be, but still, the bed is not six inches from the ceiling. It took some effort for her to get there.

Wednesday morning was relatively uneventful, she got up and dressed and fed and out of the house on time. Got on the bus with hardly a backward glance... though that may be due to the fact that the bus driver was yelling at some kids in the back of the bus already ("Keep yah hands to yahselves!") and drove away as soon as Emily's back pack had made it all the way past the plane of the door.

We wandered back to the house and did a good job of not sniveling, Willem headed off to his class, and Jacob, my dad and I sat down in the living room and breathed. (My dad's weekend falls on Tuesday/Wednesday, so he was home.) About 10 minutes later, the phone rang - which is never a good thing in the morning after you've put your kid on a school bus.

It was Someone vonWhatshername at Emily's school, who was disturbingly perky given the conversation:
SvW: Hi, is this Kate?
K: Yes, it is.
SvW: Good morning! How are you?
K: I'm fine, thanks. Is this a sales call?
SvW: Oh, no, ha ha ha ha ha, hee hee. No, this is Someone vonWhatshername at Emily's school, how are you?
K: I'm still fine, thanks.
SvW: Oh, right. Hee hee hee. Well, Emily got off at the wrong school this morning. But it's okay, they got her on a different bus to come here, and the vice principal will get her off the bus and walk her to her classroom. Tee hee!
K: Excuse me??
SvW: Emily got off at the --
K: Right, thanks. How did that happen?
SvW: Well, I'm not sure. The bus drivers aren't supposed to check the kids' name tags. The name tag checker at the other school noticed her right away, she never even got inside the other building. She'll be here soon! The vice principal herself will walk Emily down. *happy sigh*
K: Okay. I'm on my way.
SvW: Oh, that's fine. You don't have to come down if you don't want to, I just thought I'd let you know.
K: Right. I'm on my way.

I'm realizing, in the retelling, that I probably should have been more awed by the fact that the vice principle herself was going to walk Emily down. Apparently this is going way above and beyond the call of duty, and I'm just too plebian to realize what an astounding honor this was.

Anyway, with my dad home, I could leave Jacob and just go directly to the school, so I ended up arriving at precisely the same time as Emily. I *knew* she'd be fine, but it was good to get there and see that she was okay - not in the least upset, still ready for kindergarten. I decided to hang out for a bit, and hence I accidently discovered that The Good Parents at this school get their kids on the bus and then race the bus to school on the first day, to bid a second, more chaotic goodbye when the kids line up to go from the playground into the school. Phew, what a relief, I almost didn't get to be A Good Parent.

The rest of the day was wonderfully less eventful - Jacob and I took a shower, stared bewilderedly at each other, put the dishes away, stared bewilderedly at each other, started some laundry, stared wilderedly at each other, etc. I wasn't really certain whether he really understood that Emily wasn't in the house somewhere, until I announced, "Okay, it's almost 11:00, time to go get Emily!" He made a beeline for the door and pointed at the car, just in case I got sidetracked or confused on how to best accomplish this. Such a good helper.

Getting her to tell me about her day was tricky - at first, I got a lof of "I don't knows" and "I can't remembers." After a while, we were able to figure out how she'd spent the morning, and then she was able to share that with anyone willing to stand still long enough for her to tell. (This includes the guy at the Walgreens photo center, the waitress at Friendly's, two Grandmas, and one of the trees in our front yard.)

This morning, she apparently decided she'd fallen into too much a rut with the school routine, because she woke up complaining that her eye hurt. Which, at first, I didn't take too seriously, because this is a child who will scream like she's being beaten with a cactus if she stubs her toe. (Last night at dinner, we got to listen to, "Ooooowwwwww, I burned my hangnail on my hot dog." Who says these things?!?) Anyway, she kept complaining, and eventually we were able to actually see the particle in her eye. Another side effect of her loft bed is that she likes to pick at the popcorn paint on her ceiling, and now she has learned why that ain't such a hot idea. It was bad enough that we kept her home in the morning, ready to take her into the doctor as soon as they opened. Just for future reference, we discovered that the more surefire way of healing a hurt eye is to hang out in the doctor's office waiting room for 5 minutes - it was as good as new without us ever getting to an exam room. Argh.

So she got through her day at school, and judging by her truly horrible attitude all day, she's tired. I've done my best to respond by either (1) giving positive distraction and activities or (2) pretending I'm stone-deaf and dumb as a brick, but still, by bath time I was ready to barricade her into the bathroom for a few weeks. Thank God she has two parents, I can't imagine how much shorter her life expectancy would be if I couldn't hand her off sometimes.

Here's hoping that tomorrow can be her first *normal* day at school!!