School Days Archive

First of First(s)

Yesterday was a big day in the Friedman house and it all happened within 2 hours of waking up. YAWN. So tired. O. M. I would type the G but I’m just that tired.

Madelyn and Arielle both had their first day of school and everything went pretty perfectly. Other than the no-sleeping in thing.

Oh, and not to bury the lede but Bryan was out of town for work this whole week so it was single mama milestone time and part of me feels like Supermom for doing it all myself and part of me feels super lame for being proud of doing it all myself.

I woke up the girls after I bargained with the alarm clock to not be sooooooo rude and abrupt in the morning. Madelyn woke up excited to start her first day of school. Arielle was just confused because she normally snoozes until 8:30 (don’t hate!). Thankfully, outfits were picked out the night before (including mine because… mom friends) and lunches were packed before going to sleep so all we had to do was take care of ourselves and make time for a 3-minute BTS photo shoot.

I love how Arielle is looking up to her big sis, learning the ropes of how this first-day-of-school thing works.

First grader and first time preschooler — these girls love going to school!

Arielle looks like the cutest little jailbird ever with her mugshot pose.

Madelyn is a professional first-day model now.

Each girl got a frozen Trader Joe’s waffle on the go because I’m the world’s okayest mom, except for Arielle, who got two because I knew she’d need a refill during Madelyn’s drop off. We walked onto campus together and made a quick stop to take a photo with the school sign. I’m planning to snap the same shot of her in the same place every year to see where she ends up on this sign as she grows. Sometimes I am impressed with myself.

We lined up at her classroom and I had no idea what to expect because we were not placed in the class I thought she’d be in. Apparently, Madelyn is a cooperative learner and easy class citizen (funny, the principal clearly hasn’t seen her do chores and help out around the house when I ask), so she was placed in a first grade/second grade split. I’m mostly okay with this because I am a product of a first/second split as a first grader and I think I turned out fine… enough. Also, she is in a class with a lot of her friends. The teacher is great from what I hear, and who I wanted Madelyn to have for second grade. So, we shall see what happens next year. I am super bummed to miss out on the classroom we hoped to be in (super bummed = I talked myself off a ledge and had to actively restrain myself from turning into that crazy mom), but I also know Madelyn will do great in any class. I’m super proud of her and can’t wait to see her enjoy some challenges and maybe even get a sneak peek into second grade.

New building, new door, new room. Same backpack.

Of course, the best part about the first day of school is seeing friends she missed all summer! She didn’t have many playdates with school friends because the first half of summer, Madelyn was in camp every day and the second half of summer, she was working on a TV project (more details TBD). “Normal” is not a word I’d use to describe Madelyn’s summer, so we are all feeling refreshed and delighted to be back in the routine with some of her favorite friends.

Madelyn’s FAYEvorite friend from kindergarten is in her class again, and we are all so happy!

Two feet away from literally entering first grade.

Parents were invited into the class to check out the new digs, and just as Madelyn and I got comfy at her desk, Arielle ran out of that second waffle. So that’s when Armageddon happened, basically, and she let out screams and enacted tantrummy fists and no amount of rational conversation could be exchanged. The bell would ring in about eight minutes and parents were still hanging around the desks inside. I was so sweaty from this and frantically figuring out my exit game plan because I knew this was not acceptable. The teacher casually walked by to let me know that “it’s ok! We’re almost done in here, so you can probably just say goodbye now,” which was a super nice way of telling me to take the maniac toddler in my arms and remove her from the classroom. What a fantastic way to start off the year as the crazy toddler mom. Thanks, REL.

A quick kiss later, we fled the room and hurried to the car so we could get to our next stop: Arielle’s preschool!

Madelyn was so excited to have her own desk with shelves inside to store her things. I imagine this is like the elementary version of lockers.

Despite the fact that it was a school filled with toddlers, Arielle’s drop-off was a lot more low key: tons of familiar moms from years of preschoolhood together, warm and sugary sweet teachers, and best of all, tons of easy parking.

I signed her in while she temporarily hugged my leg and then I showed her where her lunch, snack, and water go. She totally owned the classroom and felt so proud to be there. She immediately got on the floor to play with building toys and sat with her friend. The girls’ older siblings were in preschool together and now it’s exciting that the baby sisters are going through it in the same class, too.

Arielle was hard at work doing her very first preschool STEM project.

Brooklyn and Arielle both sat down to explore the toys on the carpet and were super involved in their exploration.

Brooklyn got a little verklempt when her mom started to leave, but Arielle made sure to let her know she had a friend in her.

Saying goodbye to Arielle was super anti-climactic at her drop-off probably because she didn’t have a baby sister at her’s to steal her thunder (grumble grumble), but I’m so glad there were zero tears from her all day. That is not the experience we had with Madelyn at the same age.

After a little more schmoozing with mom friends on the playground, I made it to my next stop right on time: behold! The new tradition! The most brilliant idea ever! The escape from reality! The Massage! I booked an hour of me time to relax and get those knots worked out. Quite frankly, I’d been saying I was going to get a massage for six months, but every time I’d think about booking it, something stressful or physical would come up and it seemed wasteful to indulge in a massage when it would be ruined right after due to more deadlines or travels or events. But I think two kids successfully attending their first day of school after a wild summer was the best way to start the 2017-2018 school year!

That massage table made me its bitch.

Pick-ups in the afternoon went just as well as the morning hustle. Both girls shared big hello smiles with me and squishy goodbye hugs with friends. At first I was a little emotional to leave the kindergarten bubble and start in on the final round of preschool, but I’m feeling really positive and excited about the school year and know my girls’ happiness is the best part!

After school, Arielle enjoyed a leisurely ride with friends around the playground, similar to what some experience as they travel from bar to bar at night in a college town.

Madelyn ran out with a smile on her face, so I’ll call that a win.

Fun references with the now-annual photos from Madelyn’s kindergarten year:

Madelyn’s First Day of Kindergarten
Madelyn’s Kindergarten Update After a Few Weeks

  1. nicole
    8/24/2017 10:22 PM

    love your words. always! glad to hear they had great first days.

Professional Kindergartener

It’s been about three weeks of kindergarten and so far, it gets a thumbs up. Everyone is happy and we are getting into the groove of the new schedule.

2nd day of kindergarten and it was just as strong as the first!

2nd day of kindergarten and it was just as strong as the first!

A week before school started, Madelyn got her placement for her class and she ended up in a K/1 split. I was pretty happy about it because I’d heard amazing things about the co-teachers who were doing the K/1 and I knew she could handle the challenges that come with being in a split class. As a teacher, I know that the split classes usually house kids who are independent workers and catch on quickly. I was in a K/1 when I was in kindergarten and I turned out OK. I was super excited for her to have that influence of the older kids while being surrounded by other kindergarteners who were just like her.

The same day we got the assignment, we also happened to meet her teachers. Madelyn was smitten. She thought they were so, so sweet and bright-eyed and I thought they were so, so creative and inspiring. We both walked off campus that day like we were walking on air. The first day of school could not come soon enough!

Madelyn's favorite part about elementary school is hanging up her backpack on the hook. It's the little things.

Madelyn’s favorite part about elementary school is hanging up her backpack on the hook. It’s the little things.

But two days after receiving our assignment, I received a call from the principal that a surge of kindergarteners had just registered and it was enough to make a whole new K class so the split dissolved, a new teacher was hired, and Madelyn would be in this just-created kindergarten class. My heart sank; everything I had wanted for her was busted and now we didn’t know this new teacher. The fear of the unknown was strong.

The first day of school was the first time we got to see her teacher, and Madelyn came home and reported that she was very nice. I didn’t get much else home for the first two weeks, so other than the hellos and goodbyes we exchanged at drop-off and pick-up, I didn’t have any interaction or information about the class. What mattered most, though, was that Madelyn was happy.

In the meantime, she was making friends and learning her way around a new environment. As a mom who was super involved at the preschool level, I knew all the kids and the teachers and everything that was going on in and out of the classroom. In elementary school, though, I had no idea what she was playing at recess or the order in which she was eating her lunch. I didn’t know the routines of the class or who her real friends were. This part has been the biggest adjustment for me. Also, Arielle comes to pick-up sometimes and she wants to walk around — everywhere! — and squeals in delight when she sees her big sister coming out of the gate. These are things she didn’t care about just a few months ago when we were doing the preschool circuit.

Reunited and it feels so goooooood

Reunited and it feels so goooooood

In the last week or so, I’ve gotten to know some of the other parents and everyone seems so nice. Madelyn talks about the same two girls from her class all the time, so I know she’s making friends. I am so happy for her because I really like these new friends and their moms a lot. Knowing that’s in place makes elementary school feel a lot less isolating and more like we are going through these experiences together.

Madelyn always wants one more hug or smooch or wave goodbye in the morning before walking into her classroom with a big smile on her face. I will give them to her as long as she'll let me.

Madelyn always wants one more hug or smooch or wave goodbye in the morning before walking into her classroom with a big smile on her face. I will give them to her as long as she’ll let me.

Last week was Back to School Night and Bryan and I had a date night out to meet the teacher and learn more about the class. It couldn’t have come sooner! I was so excited to have my questions answered and learn a little bit more about how Madelyn spends her day.

I am glad to report that not only is the teacher so sweet, but she’s very cool and approachable and keeps it REAL — yet still very professional! — so she is right up my alley. Of course I am so glad that things worked out the way they did, and I know the days will just get even better and better as the class grows together. I signed up to volunteer in the class one day a week, and I can’t wait to see Madelyn and her friends in action.

And this should not be a shocker, but when I saw that the “Room Parent” duty was still blank on the teacher’s volunteer sheet, I couldn’t let it remain empty. So, I filled in a random person’s name. No, just kidding. I wrote my own. I am such a sucker.

Oh! And homework has started! The first two weeks that the homework folder came home, I thought it was pretty weak. But now I see that those two weeks were practice because THIS week, homework got real. I don’t even mean that in a bad way, but it’s totally digging into the curriculum now and it’s not just coloring stuff. Thankfully, Madelyn absolutely loves homework. I know her tune will change eventually, but for now, she wants to complete her entire week’s packet of work the first night she gets it. I have to pace her, otherwise she’ll finish it all in one night. Thankfully, nothing has been hard or new for her since she’s been reading and spelling for a while now, but she enjoys the process of thinking about the work and always wants to do a little extra. If only college scholarships were based on kindergarten work ethic and standards knowledge.

So at just a little under a month, I give kindergarten an A+. I was nervous for this adventure to start because leaving our preschool bubble was so bittersweet. It’s been a big change for me as a mom: out the door on time; productive mornings to run errands and prepare for the week; oh yeah and taking care of a toddler; working part time; doing homework in the afternoons while also thinking about dinner and what to make and did I go grocery shopping because I don’t have ingredients; getting both girls to bed with actual bedtimes; cleaning the house watching TV before bed. But now that we are feeling like a professional kindergarten family, things are great and becoming more and more comfortable. The schedule is falling into place. The routine is good for everyone. I’m sure I’ll have it all down pat just in time for Thanksgiving break when we have nine days off.