Last night we took Allie to an Ice Cream Social at her new school. We walked around the school and eventually wound up in Allie's new classroom. Her teacher, Ms. Grady, was there greeting her new students. Ms. Grady had studied the photos that were taken of Allie when she went to Kindergarten warm-up earlier in the year and knew who Allie was when she walked through the door. Allie blurted out something about her sister loving to play in a jumpy (there was one full of bouncing children outside the window of her classroom). It was a nice effort to break the ice. I was proud.
By the way, Ms. Grady is a lot better looking than her official Web site photo. Some of the guys I work with have kids at this school and, creepy or not, we're all in agreement regarding this point.
Deb, Allie, Julia and I did a scavenger hunt that told us where to deposit Allie's school supplies. At each drop point we would encounter an Allie's name printed in perfect, D'Nealian, Kindergarten teacher, handwriting. One where she hangs her jacket. One where she sits. One for Allie's "mailbox". Another that marks what Allie's job will be for that week. Her fist week, Allie is in charge of recording the temperature (beats the crap out of sleeping mat helper, I think).
Julia was busy with a toy cash register and pushing a fairly mangled dolly around in a wooden cart.
We wandered around the school. Ran into some people we knew. Eventually we made our way to the cafeteria/gym and grabbed bowls of ice cream. We sat down next to a couple who really weren't interested in becoming school kid parent buddies. I made a glancing attempt at small talk which they quickly dissolved. So we sat there and ate our ice cream while they discussed the results of some reality TV show that were to be announced that evening.
After ice cream the four of us leaked out on to the playground. Allie looked a little bewildered among all the kids. After a while I found her crying. She panicked because she couldn't find us. Then when we made motions to leave she started crying again because she didn't get to spend as much time at school as she would have liked. All the other kids stared and pointed at Allie.
Okay; there was no staring or pointing. But I felt bad she cried.
So we went back this evening for a one-on-one meeting with Ms. Grady.
Kindergarten is complicated.
I could go into detail, but this post would become very, very long. I think we do feel a little better about Allie getting on the bus. And we established some goals. Chief among them is to have Allie reading by the end of the school year. Ms. Grady doesn't think that will be a problem at all.
What were Allie's goals? She wants to learn about body parts because she wants to be a doctor and she wants to learn to read. Ms. Grady said people will call her Doctor Allie. Allie seemed to like that idea.
At the end of the forty minute meeting Allie got a T-shirt and a bag from Ms. Grady. The bag contained various objects and a note explained the significance of each object (a lifesaver so you'll know you can always come and talk to me, a star so you'll always remember to shine brightly, stuff like that). It was too cute for words.
Allie's excited. Deb and I are sad, nervous and excited. Julia doesn't give a shit. She should though. Before this evening, Deb and I hadn't really considered the effect school is going to have when Allie is no longer with Julia for most of the day. It's going to be an adjustment.
School starts Tuesday. I'm sure by 11:00 a.m. Deb and I will be able to talk about it without getting choked up.
Please don't call us before then.