Thursday, September 9, 2010

First Day Jitters

We have the first week and a half of school behind us and we all survived.

Going into the week everyone was excited about their new school, new clothes, new supplies, and lunch boxes. And that's how things were until bedtime the night before the very first day. That night Johnny was all smiles and Sofia was grinning ear to ear, asking if she could sleep with her new pink lunch box. But when I went up to tuck GJ in, he was hiding under his bed. He was hard to coax out. I asked him if he was worried about school and told him that everyone feels a little nervous. He wouldn't admit to being nervous about school. Instead he told me he was angry at his bed. Huh? I was stumped. Deano went up next and had better luck. Deano told GJ that you can feel excited and a little scared at the same time. That did it. GJ told his Dad that he was both. Then he let us tuck him in, reassure him, and turn out the lights.

That night Deano and I both tossed and turned. I had totally ridiculous anxiety dreams about mean children and tearful good byes. Despite my fitful night, our first school morning went really, really well. The kids placed their breakfast orders the night before and laid out their clothes. In the morning we stayed on schedule. I woke up early to get a jump on the three lunch boxes, so by the time their perky faces rounded the corner into the kitchen, I was caffeinated and all smiles. Breakfast was ready. They chattered away and GJ showed no signs of nerves. In fact, he was playing his big brother role with pride, telling Sofia all about his first day of pre-school. It was sweet.

The rest of th first week was great. Our mornings ran smoothly; drop-offs were smiley events, pick-ups were cheerful. But I still can't shake my anxiety. Each day after school, among other questions, I ask the children about who they played with at recess and something they learned about a new friend. Sofia seems to play with a little girl named Chloe most of the time. Johnny always rattles off 3 or more names. At first, GJ would name new friends too. But this week on Tuesday he said he played alone at recess. Even though he reported this in a very unconcerned and matter-of-fact tone, it felt like a punch in the gut to me. They next day he joined his brother and some of his classmates at recess.  I know there have only been five days of school so far, and I know that GJ isn't worried, but I can't help feeling anxious for him. I want him to make friends and never feel alone.

So while tucking him in, I asked GJ how he's feeling in general, then how he's feeling about school so far. I got "good" and "good." Then I asked him if he feels sad not to have new friends yet and he said, "not really." I just looked at him then and he seemed to be thinking. I waited patiently wondering what he was about to confide, expecting to hear his true worries.  He said this,
"Mom, I have like 180 days of school to make friends."

What else can I say? I slept well that night.


  1. I think most parents feel what you're feeling. No doubt you'll be there if GJ wants or needs reassurance. You sure are a good Mom :-)

  2. That GJ is a wonderful little guy!