After a busy summer that started with preschool graduation, followed by three different summer camps, Madelyn began kindergarten at long last!
But let’s back up.
Preschool graduation was the sweetest. It was such an emotional day and a true icing on the cake to a fabulous preschool experience. I was so lucky to make some of my most favorite friends ever, and I was honored to have a part in helping create the graduation ceremony with some awesome moms. It was inspired by the movie, “Up” with the theme “Adventure awaits” and we decorated the day to feature colorful balloons.
Madelyn had been practicing all the graduation songs and the order of the ceremony for months and every night at dinner, we’d get a whole show. I knew the whole shebang from start to finish thanks to her sneak peeks, and if anyone was absent, I could’ve easily filled in because I was so well prepared by my little maestro. The irony, is that Little Miss Super Star totally and completely lost her mind when the actual ceremony started. I think the build-up of graduation and the realness of the emotions that preschool was ending hit our very … delicate… girl, and as soon as the processional began and alllllll the happy kids walked into the ceremony, cheerfully marching and singing, Madelyn covered her eyes and the waterworks almost caused a flood in the temple (#SaveTheTorahs). She stood up with her class with her head in her hands and that’s how she finished the song. Newsflash, girlfriend: That’s not how you’re going to get into “Hamilton.”
Eventually, with some water and a pep talk from her teacher, she got it together and was able to perform with the rest of her class, hand motions and all. Regular Madelyn was BACK! She finished strong and even collected her diploma.
And then when graduation was over, she ran toward us and celebrated with her bestie, Keith, as if she had just won a Tony for her performance. Did she forget Processsionalgeddon only 30 minutes before? Either way, we were super proud of her. Our graduate was sparkling the way she normally does, and she said it was the best day ever. She’s a good actress after all.
My Graduation Committee friends and I had so much fun decorating the room, that we also thought there needed to be a photo op! All the kids loved taking pictures and holding the graduation signs and the parents got in on the action too.
I’m so glad we captured some really fun pictures of Madelyn with her big smile on preschool graduation day!
One of the songs that Madelyn actually performed at graduation was a song called “Kindergarten Here We Come” and it did. Those lyrics don’t lie. Her first day of elementary school arrived and she yo-yoed between being super excited and super nervous. I was totally expecting a Processionalgeddon to make another appearance in the form of Drop Off-pocolypse based on her tenuous feelings about starting kindergarten.
It started to sink in hard core at the kindergarten orientation the week before school. It took place in the MPR/Cafeteria and I explained that this would be the room where she would come see shows, or assemblies, or receive an award. And without missing a beat, she asked, “And is this where we will come do Shabbat?” Crickets. So, yeah, I had to explain that there’s no Shabbat or any other Jewish holidays at elementary school and she wasn’t really OK with that.
Moving right along…
She continued to ebb and flow between nervous and excited. I did what any mom of a girl with fragile feelings would do: I took her shopping. We picked out a bunch of new outfits for school and one of them became her first-day ensemble. And then I showed her pictures of my first day of kindergarten. Her observations: “Mommy, your bow is very big.” “The teacher has white legs.” and “My hair looks better than yours.” All of these are mostly correct.
Last night, we made sure to start off on the right foot by implementing our bedtime routine that we failed at all summer. She’s just a night owl. But she’s also not a morning person (I have NO idea where she gets that from. Hum dee hum dee doo dee doo), and we knew she’d have such a hard time waking up if she didn’t have an early bedtime. We tried to implement it all summer, but things got in the way and we couldn’t be consistent. Last night, we meant business. We read a story about kindergarten and we went to sleep talking about kindergarten. She had to have nothing but pleasant kindergarten dreams to really get into her subconscious, right? Both kids were in bed by 7:45 and Bryan and I felt like we won parenting.
This morning, the first day of school, Madelyn woke up all on her own. That’s good because I had a really hard time getting up (see above re: non-morning people and how it’s a genetic disorder) but I blame that on the tossing and turning I did all night because apparently, it’s not just kids and teachers who are nervous for the first day of school!
Chipper and cheery, Madelyn completed her morning checklist that we started a few weeks back. She loves checking off her must-do items each morning that help her get focused and ready for the day. I recommend this method to parents everywhere, especially if you have a kid who dilly-dallies in the morning like mine.
She ate a sensible breakfast (TJ’s frozen waffle and yogurt. I ain’t no morning Martha) and we took our First Day Of School photos like all the other parents took while breaking the internet today. I made her a sign because I’m too cheap to buy one and I got a little emotional as I saw my baby all ready to go to kindergarten. Elementary school is no joke. This is like the start of it all and I had Danny Tanner moments of seeing my girl grow up before my eyes at this front door: smiling in braces; dangling car keys to her first wheels; with a date and corsage before prom; move out day for college. YOU GUYS! This is like the runaway train to all that stuff. We can’t get off! She just grows up and we have to be OK with that! This is insanity! Also, PS, I have no idea where Madelyn gets her dramatics.
She was excited to go, but then as we parked and started our walk to the gate, she got a little apprehensive. I know that it’s a sign of doom to come; Her voice begins to sound wiggly and she starts to question things.
We walked to her classroom and we had about ten minutes until the bell would ring. Kids were starting to gather. All of them were bouncing off the halls. Madelyn began to cling harder. It’s funny: most people see videos of Madelyn or observe her with her friends and think she’s a total ham. And 99% of the time, that’s the case. But when she’s uncomfortable or unsure, she shrinks. This was no different and Bryan and I exchanged looks of dread and embarrassment and pity for the likely fact that she was going to lose it when it was time to walk in.
The teacher opened the door and all the kids lined up to meet her and walk inside. Madelyn mentioned she was missing her preschool friends and we reassured her that they were missing her, too, and they were all starting new adventures also. She was glad to know that they weren’t all back at familiar preschool without her. Girlfriend has some serious FOMO like her mama. However, before we could really get a grip on the situation, her head went into her hands and her shoulder slumped over and it was like we were looking at that scared little girl at graduation who just couldn’t get it together. We were losing her! She was a goner! Houston! We have a problem! Bryan crouched down and shared some words of inspiration; then I took my turn. And in the knick of time, she swallowed her tears and fears, and as the second-to-last kiddo to get to the front of the line, the teacher welcomed her and ushered her to the carpet where all the other kids happily gathered and we shrugged. Parents aren’t allowed into the classroom at kindergarten drop-off, so our job was done. It was out of our control now.
The day went slow for us back at home. I was dying to know what was going on back at school. It’s not that I’m a helicopter mom; I’m just a very curious mom!
When it was finally time to pick her up a measly 5 hours later, she offered up a pretty good report. She mentioned she only cried twice during the day (only) and it was because she didn’t know where her teacher went during lunch (answer: to talk about all the students with all the other teachers) and she didn’t get a chance to go down the slide because the “Orange Vest People” (campus supervisors) said that recess was over.
I asked a million questions about the day, but it was like pulling teeth to get answers and even the best dentist in the world wouldn’t be able to get her to offer up some juicy details. From what I gathered, there was something about a scavenger hunt and she made two friends. She also said the bathrooms are clean but there are no toilet seat covers so she lined the seat with toilet paper. I’m glad to know that the life lessons I’ve taught her have traveled to school. But as far as a play-by-play of what kindergarten was like: nothin’. I think tomorrow I’m going to strap a GoPro to her head so I can see what goes on in kindergarten!
Despite the roller coaster of everyone’s emotions in the Friedman house, I am actually really excited and looking forward to these school years. Our school feels like a really nice and tight-knit community of families which isn’t dissimilar from our preschool experience. I can’t wait to watch her learn and explore both academically and socially, and I know this is just the beginning of truly amazing Madelyntastic things!