In some ways, not one single thing has changed. We will still wake up each morning in varying degrees of crankiness, eat our modern family breakfast straight outta the microwave, take showers while singing the theme song to the current favorite TV show, and all get out the door by 7:30.

It’s a grand life.

Yet change is in the air. Kindergarten-shaped change.

[typography font=”Schoolbell” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]Farewell Preschool[/typography]

The complete story of the first day of kindergarten actually starts a week ago — on the last day of preschool. That morning before school I overheard Jeff musing aloud, “last day… Buddy, you’re not old enough to be having a last day of anything.”

Agreed. Especially considering I just gave birth to him, what, yesterday?

The parents were all invited to an art show and reception that afternoon at the school — the kiddos had been preparing for weeks. My expectations ranged from finger painting to Picasso, and the show did not disappoint.

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If you look closely at his face you will see traces of the chocolate chip cookies he managed to sneak before we arrived at the reception. He’s not yet clever enough to destroy all the evidence.

Masterpieces covered every wall, a slideshow of photos played in the background, and there was an impressive spread of homemade snacks provided by each family in the class. We brought Ninja Turtles fruit snacks. #pinterestbedamned

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With his preschool teacher, Ms. Jennifer. We LOVE Ms. Jennifer.

In order to properly celebrate such a big day, we made plans to spend the evening at dinner with Colt’s best friend Scout. These two monkeys have been in the same class since they were two years old, and they are thick as thieves. When the kindergarten talk really started to heat up at preschool a few months ago, we were surprised when Colt came home one day announcing he would NOT be going to kindergarten. Evidently, once the kids had discovered Scout’s birthday was late enough that she would be staying in pre-K another year — that was that. If Scout wouldn’t be at kindergarten Colt didn’t really see the point of going. It took us several weeks to talk him down from the ledge on that one, and remind him of all the mind-blowing fun to be had at kindergarten. He could tell Scout all about it, and they would still be friends. Scout’s mom and I are committed to making that happen. I mean – just look at them.

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We let the kids choose the restaurant, and we couldn’t leave without posing with the Mer-pig at Mermaids. They have much better taste than we gave them credit for — we were bracing ourselves for Chuck E. Cheese.

Oh, these two.

Scout’s mom Eileen was so sweet and got them matching lunchboxes (Colt’s holding his in the photo) so they’d have something at school to remind them of each other. I cried. Over lunchboxes covered in robots, y’all. These two kiddos are such precious friends to each other.

[typography font=”Schoolbell” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]Meet the Teacher[/typography]

After a proper farewell to preschool it was time to focus on the main event, and meet the ring leader. Wednesday night we took advantage of a kindergarten-exclusive “Meet Your Teacher” night at his school where we dropped off his school supplies, toured the classroom/cafeteria/gym, and discovered another friend of his from preschool will be in his class this year!

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We finished preschool in style, promised to stay in touch with BFF, met the new teacher, delivered the school supplies, memorized the drop-off/pick-up routine, arranged after-school care, and got a haircut.

Now all there was left to do was wait for THE BIG DAY.

[typography font=”Schoolbell” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]The Big Day[/typography]

School is in his blood. Jeff has had over 40 first days of school and Ninny & Pop combine for over 100.  There’s no escaping education in this family. And while I haven’t made a career of it, I grew up in perpetual anticipation of the first day of school. I LOVED it. The excitement!  The new school supplies! The newness of it all! And — though I’m sure the novelty of all this will eventually fade a bit — Colt seems to have inherited a genuine excitement for school.

It has been THE topic of conversation lately.

Are you excited? Are you ready? You’re gonna love it!

Excited! Ready! Let’s do this!

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How does one person look so big and so little — all at once?

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He was 100% happy about the whole thing. No hesitation. He found his name on the table, grabbed the nearest orange crayon, and humored us for a goodbye high-five. I took as many photos as I thought I could get away with and it was time to leave.

We have a kindergartner.

After the drop-off, I joined in the Facebook First Day Frenzy and posted a photo of him all excited for his first day.  And – until then – I’d kept my emotions in check. But with every “like” and sweet, supportive comment on that photo, I fought back tears. With every notification I got throughout the day, I could feel a hug or a knowing smile or a kindred spirit. It was overwhelming to see the activity on that photo and know that all those people were rooting for my kiddo (well, all three of us) to have a brave, happy day.

And it worked. We are so fortunate to have such an extended “family”, and knowing that you were all THERE for this big, exciting milestone made it really special.

September 2008 | First Day of Daycare | Colt – 11 weeks old
August 2013 | First Day of Kindergarten | Colt – 5 years old

And just for fun — this is what kindergarten looked like in 1973.

ms hill
Middle row, plaid pants. Look familiar?
Smackover Elementary School – Smackover, Arkansas

When I picked him up from school he was grinning from ear to ear.

“Mommy, it was an awesome day today. I want to go back to kindergarten again tomorrow, too.”

He hardly took a breath between the car ride home and bedtime that night. We heard all about the library and all the new rules and the cafeteria and tomorrow is gym so I have to wear sneakers and I made some new friends but I can’t remember all their names and we had story time and we read the book about the Kissing Hand and I told my teacher “we do that!” and I had a chair with a pocket on the back where I can put stuff and I LOVE KINDERGARTEN.

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Toasting a successful first day over dinner at Flying Burrito.

I hope kindergarten continues to live up to the hype, Buddy.  So far, so good.

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4 thoughts on “K is for Kindergarten

  1. Great post! I totally get what you mean about looking so BIG and so LITTLE at the same time. How does that happen? So glad he loved the first day; that’s always the hardest. I had to drag mine in crying to K. Enjoy! –Rhonda

  2. Thanks Rhonda! Yeah — we’ll see how long the novelty holds out ;)

  3. Oh my good gravy do I love reading your blog!!! Love that he had such a great first day, and here’s to an awesome year ahead. :)

  4. Thanks Amanda! He bounded out of bed today — ready for Day 2!

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