Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thriving Amidst The Chaos

This week was the first week of school for my big boys.  They have been so excited for the last few weeks, counting down the days till that first momentous day finally arrived.

Ben has done all this before, but Mitchell was a first-timer.  How fortunate for him that he gets to attend the same school as his big brother!  In fact, their classrooms are right next to each other!  Knowing Ben would be so close erased almost all fear from Mitchell and, for their part, it was a fun first day.

I wish I could say the same thing for myself though.  I did not have fun amidst the total chaos that surrounded the drop off and pick up.  It was as if two giant mobs descended on the place, pushing and shoving each other, competing for the ONE door that all the kids had to get through.  After asking plenty of clueless parents, I finally found out that my kids had to be dropped of in different areas, regardless of the fact that their rooms were right next to each other!  Thank goodness Matt chose to come with us, so we divided and conquered!  After circling the school, dragging Ben with me, I did eventually find the correct place to bring him.  Matt had a similar experience getting Mitchell to the correct place, but in the end, they both joined their classes successfully.

This chaos was repeated at the end of the day at pick up.  They really thought it might work to dismiss each kid in the lower grades and preschool one at a time through one door.  Now since this was the first day of school, there were two parents for each kid (and sometimes a nanny and a stroller) you can imagine what this must have looked like!  I know what it looked like as a parent on the outside, but now imagine what the poor 
little kids were seeing from the other side!  More than one poor soul burst into tears at the door when faced with this terrifying mob of parents yelling and reaching for their child.

How long has this school been in operation anyways!?  117 years, my friends!  One would think they'd have the kinks worked out by now.

On the positive side, I must say that it was really just that first day that was so chaotic.  The staff regrouped and came up with an alternate plan, and that added to the fact that I actually knew where to be and when made subsequent drop off and pick up much smoother and more efficient.  

Actually, so far, those two instances of disorder are the only things I have to complain about with school this year.  Both boys love their classes and teachers and are bringing home glowing reports of their days.  Ben is really making a great transition from "playtime" preschool, to real school with lessons and desks and pencils and gym class, while Mitchell is quickly learning how to play in a group of kids and follow directions and figure things out without his mom helping him.  

One positive thing that has come from school starting that I wasn't expecting is how excited they are to see each other when Ben finally gets home!  I pick up Mitchell a few hours before Ben is finished, and while we have a good time together, he really just is not himself until his big brother gets home.  They immediately pick up right where they left off, only with more enthusiasm and camaraderie because they haven't been together the whole first half of the day!  It is so cute to sit back and hear them tell each other over a snack what they did at school that day - things they claimed not to remember when I ask them.

I think the very first day of preschool calls for a trip to Dairy Queen, don't you?  I let him pick what he wanted, and he, as always, picked a vanilla dipped in chocolate ice cream cone.  Well chosen,  my big big preschooler!

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