Taking your youngest child, your last child, your baby, to his first day of Kindergarten can be a traumatic experience. Even if he is ready, you may not be. After all, he’s still so young. It was just yesterday he was standing on his tiptoes trying to see the top of dining room table, or charging around the living room with his shirt off waving a wooden spoon as a sword. Actually, that sword thing was this morning. In any case, he’s a big boy now. So here are some tips to make it through the day successfully.
DO: Try to make the last 2 weeks of summer stupefyingly boring. You will all be so sick of each other school will seem like a Disney ride.
DO: Wear sunglasses, so that if you get teary eyed people will not see it.
DO: Plan an activity for after drop off, so that you will not have to go home to that empty house.
DO NOT, however, become so absorbed in planning your post drop activity that you forget your child’s backpack, have to run back home for it and barely make it to lineup time, sweaty and disoriented.
DO NOT: Go the library. You will end up wandering into the children’s section, looking at all the baby flap books you read to him just a few years ago. Or you will find yourself wistfully staring at a “Blues Clues” videotape, and remembering a song, word for word, about the planets.
DO: Go the wine store and pick out something for yourself for dinner tonight. A nice bottle, not the usual el cheapo jug stuff you drink most days. And when the clerk asks if you need help DO NOT snap “Uh uh” simply because you are too emotional to talk to anyone.
DO NOT: Plan to do housework. If there is anything worse than coming home to an empty house, it is coming home to an empty house and picking up a dust rag. It’s been messy this long, let it go a few more days.
DO: Spend some time thinking up some new excuses not to do housework. Now that you don’t have a baby at home, how will you explain the mess?
DO NOT: Clean out your child’s clothing drawers. I know they are a mess, but you have been through enough today. You don’t need to also face the fact that he will never again fit into those adorable Spiderman PJs.
DO: plan a nice family dinner for tonight. Maybe bake a cake. This will give you the opportunity to eat from stress and lick the frosting bowl until you’re slightly queasy.
DO NOT: Keep looking at the clock and think: “I wonder what he is doing right now.”
DO NOT: Go on petfinder.com to look at the cute little dog you’ve been trying to talk your husband into adopting. That dog has been adopted by someone else. This is too much loss for one day. Perhaps a second cake is in order.
DO NOT: Plan to get a lot done. Because if by chance you end up drifting from room to room, unable to get your bearings, at a loss for how to organize your time without constant cries of “Mom” to punctuate your day, you will accomplish nothing and feel terrible about it. Try instead to just get one simple thing done. Like, for instance, baking a cake.
DO: Greet him joyfully at pick up time.
DO: Bring him to his older brother’s soccer practice. Listen to him whine about the heat and how he hates the snack you brought. Let him step on your toes several times as he tries to climb up your legs. Have him spill Gatorade all over your newspaper. Have him bite your stomach, TWICE, while you are trying to get the game schedule from the coach. During dinner, listen to him howl that “This is the gross chicken!” and watch him twist in his chair, eat with his fingers, and pretend to snore in your face when you correct his manners.
You will be ready for drop off again first thing tomorrow.
My oldest son started college this month. Savor your moments!