He’s off! My little big boy is off to 4K, so many emotions filled the days leading up and of course this morning. When you really think about it, it’s a really BIG day! I asked myself a lot of questions leading up to this day, and they all hit me square in the face this morning. Would he make friends, would he listen, should we have held him another year, would he be kind and non-judgmental, would he be himself? Would he be scared, feel alone, be nervous?
In the days (really weeks) leading up to his first day, we talked a lot.
Every night we would go through a list of questions.
- What’s your last name?
- What’s daddy’s name?
- What’s mommy’s name?
- How old are you?
- When is your birthday?
- What’s your sister’s name?
This all started after he started on a new fall baseball team. You see he’s the youngest and the littlest on his team, after seeing the other kids I was nervous and regretted signing him up. I knew he would be one of the younger kids but he is also so much smaller than everyone else, the problem with this is he wants so badly to be big! The first day of baseball one of his teammates asked him how old he was, I think he got nervous because he told him he was two. It made me so sad when he told me the story and how the kids laughed at him. I felt like a failure that I didn’t set him up for success asking him questions like this and teaching him about himself and his family. Let’s just say after that getting him to go to baseball each Sunday has been a chore. Anyway, I digress…
Once we received his teacher’s name we added that to the list of questions along with some standard life/school things.
- What do you do if you have to go to the bathroom?
- How do you introduce yourself to someone?
You get my drift. This is something I completely took for granted and as I transition from a working parent to a stay at home parent and they are some of the things I am learning along the way.
So, it’s here. The day we send him off to school, on a school BUS! The bus was the one thing Wyatt was most excited about and the thing that I feared the most. The thought of not being able to protect him for a portion of the day the second he stepped foot on that bus made me nauseous. He was so excited, he had met his teacher a few days prior and he really liked her..thankfully…I think it might have something to do with the jar of Hershey kisses in her classroom but I’m still taking it as a win. I was so scared for him, schools are supposed to be safe but sadly they aren’t, at least not as safe as they were when I was a kid. School shootings, adolescent suicides, bullies, childhood cancer; our kids are subjected to more now than ever before. Will this make them stronger, more fearful, more aware of the world around them? Honestly, it all scares the crap out of me. I failed at ensuring my newly turned four year old knew, in fact, he’s four…how in the world am I going to help him navigate this world that he is entering..one I never really experienced first hand, just on the periphery.
I’ve decided I will take every opportunity I can to teach him right from wrong, good from evil. Little did I know our first lesson would come before he even started school. 4K in our district has a delayed start, almost a full two weeks after my nephew. Dominic started 1st grade, I’ll repeat that..1st grade, a week and a half prior to Wyatt. Only a few short days after he started he already had an incident at school. He was scared and hurt and he’s in first grade…at 6 years old he was put in a position in a place he is supposed to feel safe and inspired.
Sports come naturally for Dominic, he’s great at soccer, baseball, swimming…the kid has great instincts and is just overall athletic. During recess, almost every kid’s favorite “class”, he was playing kickball..he kicked a HOMERUN! Exciting, right? No, scary..why you ask? Because another kid put him in a headlock, a headlock because he hit a homerun…a moment that should be exciting and celebrated instead he was scared and hurt. We can not expect our teachers (bless their hearts, seriously they are amazing!) to be there every moment of every day with each and every one of our kids, so instead we take these opportunities as parents to teach our kids. That night Wyatt and I talked about it, to my surprise at four, he understood why the other boy choked his favorite 6-year-old. We talked about how we were proud of Dominic for how he handled the situation and what to do if he is in a position like that.
Each night I ask Wyatt three questions:
- What was your favorite part of today?
- What made you happy?
- What made you sad?
We have been doing this for about a year now, it has been fun to see his answers evolve as he has become older but it also gives us the opportunity to talk about his day. So, off my soapbox..I am still learning at this parenting thing, and I definitely fail at times. My lesson of the day is to take a moment to talk to your kids…like really talk to them, the time we have with them is so limited we have to make it impactful.
Our motto for the year…