Today was the first day of school for Sarah Kate. Sarah Kate is at a new school this year (new as in it’s brand new and no kids have gone there before, not just new to her), so there’s a certain level of unavoidable chaos involved. In addition to a new building, they’ve added another grade to the mix (250 more kids), so that just contributed to the First Day Insanity.
We went to “Meet the Teacher” on Friday afternoon. It was not one of my finer moments as a parent. I was out of town with Nathan all week and had stayed up until 4:00 a.m. that morning. I met my parents to pick up Sarah Kate in the middle of the 4-hour drive home, and all three of us got back into town at 12:45 – just 15 minutes before the blessed event was supposed to begin. Thankfully, it was a come-and-go affair, so I took an hour breather before heading to the school. I had to drive around for 30 minutes looking for a place – any place! – to park that wouldn’t require Sarah Kate to walk a half mile or more. Each time I circled past the “blue” spaces my blood pressure would rise just a little bit more, as at least a few of the cars parked in them had no visible blue tag or hangtag. Maybe they forgot to put them up – I have done it myself – but fully half of the blue spaces were occupied by non-blue vehicles, so I had my doubts. We finally parked and headed into the building. Sarah Kate had worn sandals that day (not okay) and tripped at least three times. One very nice lady that was walking behind us tried to help her up, and I feel sorta bad because I sorta snapped at the lady “She’s fine.” I’m sure the lady was trying to help me as much as she was trying to help Sarah Kate (I had Nathan in a sling so I had my hands full), but my first instincts were “We don’t want pity!” and “She knows not to wear sandals! She needs to deal with the consequences!” FAIL.
But back to the first day of school… Sarah Kate wanted to “be a tray” on the first day. Being a tray is a big deal for her, because in the past I always packed her lunch because I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to carry the tray in a crowded lunchroom without either falling or spilling/dropping the tray. We did a couple of trial runs at the end of first grade, though, without incident, so I opted to let her look at the school menu each month this year and decide when she wanted to take her lunch and when she wanted to be a tray. Because I was out of town, we had very little in the way of groceries in the house, so I was relieved when she chose to be a tray on the first day – it bought me one more day before I had to make a Publix run. Alas, she changed her mind later in the day on Sunday so I had to scrounge for lunch fixins. Thank goodness for that stockpile I’ve been building. NEAR MISS.
We got up and got ready on time. I woke Nathan up early so I could feed him before leaving (sometimes it really honks to be the little brother). We drove to the new school – madness! – and got in the drop-off line – more madness! As we pulled up to the drop-off point, I noticed two things. First, there was no ramp, only a curb for the kids to step up. Second, most of the teachers weren’t opening car doors and assisting the kids out of the cars. I turned to tell Sarah Kate to go ahead and get out, and she looked a little bit scared. A scared look from the child whose favorite ride at Walt Disney World is the Tower of Terror (and it’s been her favorite since age five). I encouraged her not to wait on a teacher but to go ahead and step out, which she proceeded to do, but in the process she almost forgot her backpack. As I was calling out to her, a familiar face appeared at the door – her first grade teacher from last year. Sigh of relief. Maybe this isn’t going to be so bad, after all. JOY.
As I drove away from the school, though, I realized one thing. I forgot to take her picture on the first day of school. Sigh. FAIL.