On Tuesday morning, I dropped my son off for his first day and Kindergarten and practically skipped back out the door. I helped him hang up his new monogrammed backpack and slide his car-shaped lunchbox into his cubby. And then I left him there in that cozy room filled with colorful bulletin boards and cheerful wall decorations. He seemed fine. It all seemed A-Okay.
Come Thursday morning, his teacher was waiting for my arrival. Once the kids were safely out of earshot on the playground, she gently asked whether my son was getting enough rest. Here’s how the conversation went (translations are strictly my own).
Teacher: Your son seems tired. Is he getting enough rest? (Translation: Are you letting him stay up ‘til ten o’clock)
Me: He sleeps from 8 at night until 7 the next morning and has a quiet time from 3-4 in the afternoons. I think he’s getting plenty of sleep. Why? (Translation: What did he do?)
Teacher: He just melted down a lot today. When I asked him when his birthday was, he couldn’t remember and he kind of slumped to the floor and cried. (Translation: He pitched a fit)
Me: Oh. (Translation: Oh, crap.)
Teacher: He’s probably adjusting to our new schedule. It’s hardest for the boys at first, because they’re used to a lot of free play. For example, your son would really like to play blocks every day. (Translation: He isn’t going to be playing blocks every day).
Me: I agree. It’ll probably just take some time and he is a bit on the immature side (Translation: It’s not my fault. He was born that way)
In the end, I got back in my car in a funk. My son was melting down? I had an impromptu teacher conference on the second day of Kindergarten?! What’s wrong with us?
I gazed at the school building, knowing that the power to control my son’s day and my ability to help him were dissipating. He had to look to others now. He was going to have to grow up a little.
This is natural. This is good. And I’ve left him in the hands of a wonderful, experienced, caring, kind, and talented teacher, so why is it a little hard for this mom to let go?