June 24, 2007

reveille!

6/24/07

Lucy begins school today. Well, at least they call it "school," as I'm not sure what the nomenclature is for the weird years before kindergarten, but I do know it's twice a week, and that she has her own cubby, and it's a set class where they learn different activities in order to sharpen their minds and hone their social skills. Which sounds just like the "schools" I went to, except for the learning and social skills part.

I know all of you with older kids have long since abandoned any fascination you have with this topic, but it's still new to us, and therefore a big deal. Today is the first day of a journey that will culminate - the Buddha willing - 16 years from now when she graduates from high school. Hell, if the seas don't rise too high and we're all drawing oxygen into our lungs, that journey might take 20 years, including college (although our household Rule of Three still holds: "no Dook, no ______* and no motorcycles")

Just think of every day you went to school. There had to be a first, and that's today. Even if it's largely defined by her "cubby," which as far as I know, is the first time she'll have a designated space of her own outside the house. I wonder if all schools are defined by our locker; we go to school because we have stuff there. It is our 12 square feet of extended self, far flung from the feudal interruptions of our parents. Later on, our dorm room is the same, only more so, with hot-air popcorn poppers and posters of that couple kissing by Robert Doisneau, further detaching us from hearth and womb.

I'm excited for her, but The First Day of School always conjures up misery for me, and I have to have faith she's able to cull from her vast social repertoire - she's already cooler than I was as a college sophomore (but not as cool as I was as a senior, because I was pretty fucking cool).

To blunt the edge of dread, I always spent the days before each school year obsessing over school supplies, making my mom buy Husky pencils, 4-color Bic pens and Trapper Keepers, protractors and translucent plastic zipper bags that snapped into 3-prong folders. Somehow, if I had enough things to write with, I'd be able to shield myself from the crap I knew was coming. By week 2, all of my supplies would be sitting unused in the locker; instead, I'd have sheets of torn-out paper masquerading as class notes, hastily scribbled from Algebra foxholes. My locker was a disaster area. I still have dreams about it.

Lucy needs no such cache; however, the one thing they do require is an Earthquake Preparedness Kit, held in a 2-gallon Ziploc bag. It has a change of clothes, nutrition bars, a space blanket, and a variety of other things, including "a cuddly for your child to hang onto." I can promise you, in the event of an earthquake, that kid will not be clutching a cuddly, she'll be pulling classmates away from gas leaks.

Oh yeah, there's one thing I needed to make for her first day: a photo for her cubby, so that other kids know which one is which. So late last night, I pored through some photos, and decided to print this one:

LucyPlayaVista5a(bl).jpg
go get 'em, my little girl!

Posted by Ian Williams at June 24, 2007 11:12 PM
Comments
Posted by: salem's little sister at June 25, 2007 4:20 AM

Have fun at school Lucy! Ben started pre-school last fall and on his first day, I cried from the moment I dropped him off until the moment I picked him up.

Posted by: LFMD at June 25, 2007 4:34 AM

How exciting! In my day, it used to be called "nursery school", but now it is "pre-school" or "pre-K" or "early enrichment." By any name, Lucy will definitely love it. She is ready for the world, that is for sure.

My sense of dread about school lasted for years. To give you an idea, on my first day of kindergarten, my mom excitedly asked, "How was your first day of school, Laurie?" My response: "NOT FINE." NOT FINE became my response to everything school-related. I ask you, was this not the first sign of clinical depression????

I cried every day from K through 3rd grade. Terrible shyness, terrible separation anxiety. I was always in the nurse's office, eating saltines and drinking ginger ale to calm my "nervous stomach." My poor parents! My mom still tells me that she can't believe that I made it all the way through law school . . .

P.S.: Helen LOVES school and never spent a NOT FINE day there. Lucy will love it too -- she will have lots of fun and friends.

P.P.S.: Will she have any celebrities' kids as classmates?

Posted by: emma at June 25, 2007 5:14 AM

Have a great day at school, Lucy. The Kissing Hand is a must read for anyone sending their child to school for the first time. I talk about the book on the day Frederick started kindergarten here:

http://emalice.livejournal.com/11739.html

Posted by: LFMD at June 25, 2007 6:00 AM

Emma - YES! My daughter and I do our own Kissing Hand every morning and night. It is part of our daily ritual, and we have been doing it ever since we read the book years ago.

Posted by: Lee at June 25, 2007 7:11 AM

How sweet!!! Go Lucy!

Posted by: ls at June 25, 2007 8:03 AM

My daughter's school still uses the term "nursery" for the pre-kindergarten years. It is a Waldorf school, so I think it is a German thing. At any rate, she loves it! And for me, I hope she always does.

Posted by: laurie from duke at June 25, 2007 9:40 AM

Congratulations to you all! What a big day! Please share a "first day of school" photo tomorrow.

Our girls just "graduated" from what we've been calling pre-school, and will begin kindergarten in August. A LOT happens to your kid in the pre-school years, so keep that camera poppin and keep your eyes open. If you blink, you may just miss it all and next thing you know, you'll have a kindergartner on your hands.

Hope the drop-off went smoothly. For us, that was the hardest part.

Posted by: xuxE at June 25, 2007 6:41 PM

oh that ROCKS! YAY first day of school!!!

my mom said that on my first day of school all the other kids were crying and screaming and refusing to let go of their parents but i immediately climbed up on to the bus and waved at her through the window.

i'm sure Lucy will totally thrive and have lots of micro adventures.

come to think of it, at my kids montessori school they call the group which is age 18 mos to 3 years the "infant community" which kind of conjures up images of some kind of toddler social club which sums it up pretty well.

just wait until you have the parent meeting and find yourself trying to sit in the teeny tiny chairs.

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