I can't find the actual post, but I swear somewhere in the depths of this blog I wrote about how sending Jacob to daycare from the time he was seven weeks old would inevitably have an impact on how I viewed the first day of school. The closest I can find is here, but I swear I speculated in detail at one point about how I'd react when I finally shipped him off to Kindergarten, given the fact that he's been spending the day at a "school" for nearly his entire life. Of course, I can't find it right now.
I think I concluded that I wouldn't be as emotional as some parents because I'm just used to it. We've been leaving him somewhere every morning for over four years now, and at least once a year (more when he was younger) we've adjusted to a new classroom and new teachers. None of that stuff will be new to us. And, most likely, he'll be busing back to daycare after school anyway, so I'd be picking him up at the same place I have for the last few years.
Last year I got a little glimpse at the fact I had overestimated my emotional fortitude when watching the new kindergarten parents stand outside daycare as their kids got on the bus for the first time. You could see how emotional they were, and while I don't remember my exact reaction (obviously it wasn't enough to blog about), I do remember thinking, "Oh, crap...that's going to be me in a couple years," and thanking my lucky stars that we still had two whole years before it was an issue. But seeing the emotion coming from seasoned daycare parents tipped me off that maybe it wouldn't be as easy as I'd hoped.
On the bright side, we are getting to skip out on the trauma of the first day of preschool. Jacob got a new backpack over the weekend so it felt a little like a new school year this morning, but he skipped right into the same room he's been in for months. I did mention previously that I am looking forward to having the new kindergartners out of his classroom, because I think the older kids are a bad influence and I'm looking forward to having him in the same room again as a few of his old friends who happen to be a couple months younger than him. I was hoping that would happen as soon as today, but it turns out that our district doesn't actually start until Thursday, even though most districts around here start today or tomorrow.
I'm not sure how I feel about the late start. I think it's a little weird, but on the bright side, next year I'll have more time to adjust to the "first day of school" concept before we actually have to do it ourselves. I'll spend days watching other parents' pictures on Facebook and hearing all their stories before I'll actually have to do it myself. Perhaps the school supplies elsewhere in the area will be replenished by the time we'd need a last minute item, or that extra day will give me the chance to ensure that we are perfectly, completely prepared. Or it will give me another day to obsess and completely lose my mind over sending my little boy out into the world.
Because, as it turns out, kindergarten is going to be a whole new ballgame. When I didn't see buses around town this morning, I decided to look at the district website to see when they started. While I was there, I noticed that the school around the corner from us is actually only for grades 3-5. For some reason I never noticed that before (even though I had suspected there was a chance that was the case and feel like I even looked for that before). So that sent me on a hunt for which school he'd actually go to if we go the public route, and it turns out it's the one I'd hoped it would be. It's down the road from daycare, actually, so it turns out his end-of-day bus ride could be rather short depending on the route. Good to know. Of course, it's a whole other scenario if he goes to the local Christian school, which is a considerably farther drive.
While I was on the district site, just for kicks, I looked at the lunch menu. And for some reason, that was what sent me into a sudden panic about kindergarten. I noticed that there were two options each day. The thought of sending Jacob to school having to pick his own lunch, let alone be responsible for the money to pay for it, blew my mind. Then when I started to think of him having to carry a tray from the lunch line to his table, that pretty much sent me over the edge. I mean, right now there's one option at daycare, someone serves it to him at the table, and someone keeps an eye on what he does or doesn't eat. The thought of him managing his lunch by himself a year from now doesn't even seem possible. Perhaps there's help, but who knows? I don't even have anything to compare it to, because I had half-day Kindergarten when I was a kid and came home for lunch every day. When I got older, my mom usually made my lunch, but I had the option to buy lunch if I liked that day's selection. Taco day was my favorite, and I remember the lunch calendars coming home with the monthly newsletter and being tacked right up in our kitchen. To be honest I have no idea if I'd ever risk having Jacob buy his lunch early on, so most likely I'll be packing it out of pure fear. Perhaps we'll try buying on pizza day or something as a test. I know this is getting way ahead of ourselves, but there was just something about the concept of school lunch that made me realize I'll be sending my little boy out into the big (bad?) world all by himself, with very little control on my end. Yikes.
I think the idea of a smaller Christian school scares me less because that was the environment I grew up in, but until we do open houses and all that stuff, I won't know what we're most comfortable with. We have a year to come to a decision and prepare ourselves, but I know it's going to go far more quickly than we can imagine. I'll definitely feel a little nervousness on Thursday when all those parents are outside daycare waiting for the buses again, and I'll be in complete disbelief that that'll be us in another year. Doesn't seem possible.