Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to school.

When my children were growing up "back to school" was always such a fun time. We shopped for new clothes and shoes. The girls usually wore dresses on the first day of that new school year. Backpacks were loaded with new paper and notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils with fresh erasers. The lazy days of summer were over and mom was ready for the routine to begin again. The anticipation was a just a little bit nerve racking, but mostly exciting.

Sidenote: Except when Haley started kindergarten. That was just a little too much for her. Complete meltdown - total anxiety attack. When it was time for me to leave, Haley's teacher had to hold her back while she kicked and screamed and hollared at me as I walked away, "MOM! NO! Don't leave me! I don't want to stay! NO! MOM! NO! Come back!"

I cried all the way home and then called my mother in law for consolation. She said, "You are her mother. You don't have to leave her like that. You go back and stay with her."

We lived just a block away from the elementary school at that time. I dried my eyes and started to walk back carrying on a conversation with myself: Seriously! How rude of that teacher to tell me to leave and that Haley would be just fine. How does she know? She doesn't know Haley. What's wrong with me sitting in the room for a while with her? But ... what if she has calmed down now, and seeing me only makes it worse? What if she has another fit like that and the teacher gets upset because she had just finally settled down? Maybe I'll go to the office and have them call the classroom so I know she's okay.

She was okay. Her anxiety the next day was much less, and by day three Haley was ready to skip off to school, happy as a clam. I realized that somewhere along the way a tiny switch got flipped inside of that little girl that sent a panic attack in motion whenever a situation was new. Like the first time she was going to sing in church, or was supposed to give a talk. And at her first dance recital, piano recital, visit to a new friend's house - oh, and the first day of middle school ...

She didn't kick and scream that day, but she did cry - a lot, and held on to me, pleading with me not to leave. (It was that switch I tell you.) I walked her to the office. The nice office lady, Sharlene, said she would take good care of her and if Haley wanted to, she could spend the day in the office with her. And that is exactly what Haley did.

The next day we had a few less tears and a little less time with Sharlene, but this was a BIG change for Haley and I think it was a whole week before my little Miss Hee was feeling good to go on her own.

It's so interesting for me to even remember those little boughts of anxiety for Haley. I think she was probably around 14 when the switch flipped off ... slowly though ... V E R Y SLOWLY. To see her now - you would NEVER know. (End of Sidenote.)

We always took the traditional front yard picture too. At least in elementary school we did. I don't think I kept that up once they went to middle school. But this morning, as my last two big kids headed out the door for their first day of high school together I said, "Hey you guys, let me grab the camera and take a picture for old times sake."

Um, not quite the same enthousiasm of yester year, but I laughed out loud.


  1. i could actually feel myself having anxiety when reading about haley's first day of kindergarten. i seriously dread that moment with luke. except if it goes anything like his first day of nursery, he wont be able to get away fast enough!

  2. Hi
    I'm glad I'm not the only one that this has happened to. My son cried through preschool and Kindergarten. It was so heartbreaking. Lots of anxiety. We decided to send our three children to a Montessori school. So far it has been great. This year will be the first time the three of them will be at school all together at the same time drop off. It goes by so fast. Enjoy the last weeks of summer.

  3. i am cracking up from the last picture. oh elliott. you know he did that and so sophie joined in...i'm sure she would have a BIG grin if it was her all alone. ha. they both look so cute...i miss high school.

    seriously...loved it!

  4. Oh the first day of school! What a great post! I do miss getting a new backpack, folder & pens! Remember the days of fuchsia, purple, and teal backpacks and folders with bright stars and hearts on them? *sigh*

  5. oh gosh that makes me laugh! i love the first day of school. there is, for the most part, an excitement in the air!

  6. Those teen years..and the attitude of "OH MOM"...Yes I did all the first day school pic's they were so fun to do too. I never had any that had a melt down though..too bad, it gives you something to remember! ;D

  7. I found you over at Nie's show and tell. I thought that you might enjoy a project that I have going on over at my Blog. Every Tuesday I host The Happiness Project. You simply post a photo of something that makes you happy and then link up.

    I'm trying to take over the Blogosphere with happiness. Here is a link to this week's post if you want to see what it's all about.

  8. HA! McCall's socks in the first one. HA! And- who is that thing that you are calling Elliot. Since when....

  9. P-Dove I'm still doing the first day of school pictures complete with the kids holding paper plates that have their grade for the year written on them. The crowd is getting smaller though. Haley's experience reminded me of Trevor's first week of Kindergarten where he ran away everyday! The first day it happened, I had to hand Annelise to a complete stranger so I could chase that little monster down the street. (He was a fast little one at that age.) On day two, I was better prepared. An last... a big shout out to Grannie for sticking up for her grandbabies... Grandma Leda would be proud!

  10. OH BOY...I am done taking those photos! The last two years were Tanner all alone! (Actually the last few have been Tanner all alone~cause Cory decided I was CrAzY to think he would pose once he was in high school!!!! lol
    He would actually take zero period so he knew he wouldn't have to~who said boys are easier?
    I guess I could do one of them going to college together, it starts 9/23...wonder if he would? =0)

    We all get one who cries when we leave them at school...mine was Michael! It breaks your heart! He did it for weeks!