This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Apologies to Judy Blume for borrowing the title of her book, which, BTW, I never actually read (but "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret" is an all-time childhood favorite of mine). But I found the title appropriate enough to recount today's big event, CJ's first day of 4th grade.

WOW. I am the mom to a 4th grader. Tim and I have a hard time convincing ourselves that she is, in fact, in *4th* grade, not 3rd.

I have to really begin from the night before...first-day-of-school eve. The day went well and normal as ordinary days go. The girls were tucked in and Tim and I were hunky-dorey in the solemn quietness of the no-kids-around zone.

Tim took time to check in on the girls and came back to let me know that CJ needed me. She was having a crisis. As I got closer to her room, I could hear the sobs and hiccups that accompany hard crying. Sure enough, there she was, lying down, with the saddest face, crying uncontrollably. I heard a squeak that came out as "I can't get to sleep."

I remember this...I remember going through the anxiety and excitement of going back to school. I would panic, though, because I was deathly afraid of NOT falling asleep. I think I became an insomniac through my early tween/teen years because of my fear of not being able to sleep. On top of that, my dad would yell at me to hurry up and get to sleep -- I have school the next day!

That always make me more freaked. So then I would be crying and just more anxious about getting to sleep and, well, you can probably guess what that did. Vicious cycle but somewhere in there, I did fall asleep.

But it's been my goal to teach my kids not to drive themselves crazy over the ability of NOT being able to fall asleep. CJ's a bit more tenderhearted, so her instinct is to panic.

I recounted the same things to her that I've described here. I wanted to make sure she knew that it was perfectly okay to feel nervous, scared, excited, etc. Kind of like the yoga thing -- at least the class I take, one of the instructors tells us in the beginning 'acknowledge your thoughts, then toss them out of your mind'. Easier said than done, but I do strive for it.

I managed to calm her down with a promise that I would sleep with her if she was still awake when I went to bed. She was. I did. And the next thing I know, she's out like a light bulb.

The morning started great. We had some Lucky Charms for breakfast. CJ said she didn't feel hungry but she knew she had to eat. She prepared her lunch and had already been dressed for her day -- she had laid out her clothes the night before.

I took her to school with the promise that I would walk her all the way into her new room. She was very anxious about the fact that she didn't know who her teacher would be, who would be in her class, and whether she would have her school supplies.

The school supplies were ordered through the PTA at the end of 3rd grade. It was a fundraiser that provided the backpack and all the school supplies necessary for 4th graders. Great idea.

There was an Open House last Friday to introduce students to their teachers and classrooms. If you've been reading my blog, then you'll know that I was out of town last week. This was explained a few times to the school administrator and two PTA members. Somehow, stating that "We will not be attending the Open House because we will be out of town on vacation" is not clear enough because I just received a voice mail message, in response to a request to have the teacher's name and student listing given to me, that "...the Open House will be held this Friday, August 24th...blah blah blah".

CJ's hope was that 1) Sarah would be in her class and 2) her backpack with her school supplies would be there. Number one came through -- Sarah is in her class. Number two, however, was a no-go.

So all was perfect until the missing backpack came into play. Then there were the tears. She was supply-less. I knew it wasn't a big deal on the first day, but GD it -- where is the backpack??? Through the chaos of the first day of school, I was unable to find info but by golly, someone's going to hear from me tomorrow.

She pulled through, though. My little trooper. Day one went well and I heard a lot about what happened during the course of her day. She told me about how she was concerned that Austin Don't-Know-His-Last-Name was in her class when she saw his name on the desk. But it turned out that there are TWO Austins and the one in her class is not the one she was concerned about.

Then she told me about one of the 'coolest stories ever'. Sarah was walking in the hallway and came across the Austin Don't-Know-His-Last-Name (the one NOT in her class) and well, it took a few minutes for CJ to finish the coolest story ever because she was laughing so hard.

Finally, though, it came out that Sarah came back to tell CJ that Austin Don't-Know-His-Last-Name was now wearing glasses, which apparently was the funniest thing to her and Sarah.

Although I couldn't help laughing, I found it a little disturbing that my tenderhearted daughter would be laughing about someone having to wear glasses. I even said to her, "Poor Austin".

This only had an odd look sent my way from this beautiful, innocent face.

I asked her why she thought it was so funny that Austin would have glasses. She said that most people who wear glasses look smart and well, Austin just doesn't look smart.

Anyway, it's my turn to be anxious as I sleep for the evening. Today is my last day of vacation. I told CJ that this morning. She said that at least I won't be crying. Ha! Little does she know...I will be crying...

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