Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Caleb's First Day of Kindergarten

Today our Caleb-bear started kindergarten.  Last night we went out for frozen yogurt to celebrate, and this morning the four of us went to McDonald's for pancakes before heading to school.  When we walked in the classroom, Caleb (who is shy and introverted and takes a long while to feel at ease somewhere) immediately grew reserved and quiet, and I could tell he was uneasy.  But he was brave, and he gave us all goodbye hugs with a smile.  I barely made it out the door of his room before I burst into tears.  Joel was utterly baffled by my crying and couldn't for the world figure out why I would be sad.  Thankfully Bryan was there to reassure Joel as I couldn't get any words out. 

All day long I thought about Caleb and prayed for his day.  I could hardly wait to pick him up.  But as soon as he started walking to the car at the pick-up line, I could tell he wasn't doing well.  He was on the brink of tears.  When I got him in the car, he wouldn't say a word about his day, and I could tell his tears were growing closer to the surface with every question I asked.  So I told him to close his eyes and rest, and I sat quietly the rest of the drive home.  Once we got home, he crumpled on the floor upstairs and said he couldn't move.  He also said he was freezing, and today it was 96 out, and our upstairs was 81 degrees -- so I knew something was off.  Turns out he had a fever (which was actually a relief to me because it explained his sorrow.  I was afraid he had hated his first day) and a bad headache.  I tucked him in to bed to rest, and he was asleep in no time.  He woke up with more perk and was willing to tell me a little about his day, and it was a pretty good day until the headache set in. 

He told me that his table buddy, Will, thought Caleb's snack looked yummy, so Caleb gave him three pieces.  When Will proclaimed how much he liked the snack, Caleb gave him more.  As Caleb was telling me the story, I thought, "That's my Caleb!  Generous to his core."  He has such a naturally kind and good heart.  I don't know where he got that generosity from as it certainly isn't me.  My gut reaction as a child (and I'm ashamed to admit it, but even as an adult!) would have been to pull my bag of popcorn closer to myself and to shield it from my neighbor's hungry eyes.  Caleb puts me to shame and teaches me so much.  I love that about him!

Tomorrow we will do our first day of homeschool.  We chose to send Caleb to a school that is a homeschool hybrid.  He goes to class two days a week, and I homeschool him the other three days with curriculum provided by the school.  I'm excited about it, and Bryan and I are both convinced we made the best decision for Caleb.  I shudder when I think about what this week would have been for him if he was going five days a week for 8 hours a day! 

A year ago, we were sending Caleb off for his first day of preschool.  Bryan and I worked our day around taking Caleb to McDonald's for pancakes and then to preschool ourselves.  Afterwards we headed to Egleston to spend the rest of the day with Samuel.  I remember after dropping Caleb off, we came back to the car, and I bawled my eyes out.  I couldn't stop crying.  Mostly I was sobbing about Samuel, but I was also crying about saying goodbye to another of my children.  With the drain of a nightly goodbye to Samuel (the worst part of everyday), it was excruciating to say goodbye to Caleb too.  I can't explain it, but that cry session in the car stands out to me as one of the biggest cries I had while Samuel was alive. 

Here are some pictures of this year's rite of passage as well as last year's:
At Yogli Mogli's celebrating Caleb's start of school the next day
Giggling boys at Yogli Mogli
Caleb, the very-almost kindergartener  
(Caleb said he wasn't a kindergartener until he walked in his classroom.)
Getting ready to go to McDonald's for pancakes
First morning of school pancake breakfast
Bryan and Caleb at Caleb's desk -- an official kindergartener now!
Caleb with his teachers
He said of his lead teacher, "I liked her right from when I very first saw her."  :)
Me and Caleb last year before heading to preschool and the hospital
I see in this picture how much Caleb wanted me near him -- how hard it was that B and I had been gone for the majority of the last 11 days
Again last year before starting preschool

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