What a week it was!

{a.k.a. The post about the first day of kindergarten.}

Two weeks ago, Spencer started Kindergarten. Oh. My. Word. I don't know if it was the sudden change in attitude when he turned five, or the uniform, or something else completely... but I feel like I sent a whole different kiddo off to school! In the weeks leading up to the first day, Spencer had a mix of anticipation and anxiety. He asked many questions in the days leading up to school, and unfortunately, we only knew some of the answers since we are kind of the "new kids" too! You could see his excitement grow when he picked out his lunch box and snack containers. You could see his anxiety show when he realized that it was all new kids in his class. (Or, more accurately, that he was the new kid in class.) His excitement peeked through when he learned about all the fun things he would do there, and his anxiety popped up when he realized how long he would be there. All very typical... and all in all, I think there was more excitement than anything else. I mean, he was going to KIN-DAH-GAR-TEN after all!

The Friday before school started, there was an open house for all the students, where they could see their classroom and meet their teacher. Spencer is normally a "large and in charge" kiddo... but the Spencer that walked into that room, immediately shut down and refused eye contact. He explored some of the stations, played with a few things, but for the most part was detached from the situation. No interest in making new friends or talking to the teachers. No interest in engaging us even! Yeah, Doug and I got pretty nervous at that point. While Spencer has occasionally shut down in new situations, it's never been to that extent... All of the sudden, I think our anxiety skyrocketed off the charts!

After the open house the school held a cookout. And this is where it all turned around for Spencer. He not only saw his friends from the neighborhood, but he quickly befriended some of the "big kids" (upper elementary) and spent the night chasing/tackling/playing with them. He's always drawn to the older kids, so that was not a shock at all... but it was a big relief to see him open up and have fun. That's when I think that Doug and I felt like it would be ok. More importantly, Spencer left the cookout with a big grin on his face and a positive outlook. Anxiety back down into normal levels. Whew!

{He brought his sass to class.}

And then... It was time.

On Monday morning, we all headed over together. We went in and we found Spencer's hook outside his classroom... We hung up his jacket, and put his lunch bag on the shelf above it. After a few moments of "now what," we walked back down the hall to the auditorium. We ran into Mrs. P, who had given us the tour, and handled our applications/etc. Spencer asked her what we should do next, and she responded that "Your parents sign you in and then you head to the gym!" She could tell he wasn't so sure of that plan so she offered to walk him in. You could see the relief on his face as he happily accepted. We signed him in, and then there were some quick hugs and kisses before they went through the doors. (Children all congregate in the gym before school and then walk to their classes as a group with the teacher.) I think he looked back once and waved. That was it! Dry eyes for all! Doug and I looked at each other, shrugged, and said "That was easy." It was too good to be true.

And it was.

The rest of the week was not that smooth. The initial "first day high" wore off pretty quickly and we had a clingy boy at drop-off, and a very teary boy at pick-up. Every day. For the next four days. Luckily, the teachers in the gym are well versed in the "peel-away procedure" so while not the most enjoyable moments, drop-offs weren't too painful. Pick-ups were. As soon as he buckled in, the tears started. Part exhaustion, part overstimulation, and a lot of keeping his emotions in check all day added up to one out-of-control kid in the evenings.

{He also brought his "class" to class.}

I had heard that the adjustment to Kindergarten was ridiculously hard. And I was expecting all sorts of issues. But I guess I wasn't expecting them to be so, ahhh, intense. Honestly, I was hoping that I'd be able to share a funny photo of our kiddo fast asleep in his dinner. But, this is Spencer, and Spencer does not sleep. So his exhaustion manifested in high emotion, extreme goofiness, and intense anger. Usually all at the same time. It made for a really hard week. Add in that it was so new to all of us and, well, we have some really cute first day photos and we are glad that experience is over. Let's just leave it at that.

And that's where I should leave it. But the first week of Spencer's Kindergarten experience does not end there. Oh, no!  In addition, there was belt testing on Friday night. Yes. Five full 8 til 3 school days, and then belt testing to boot. I set the stage with the dojang that it might not happen. I mean... I thought he would be tripping over his own two feet by that point. Nope. Not Spencer. While it was not his best showing ever, it certainly proved that he knew his stuff. (That, and the Grand Master happened to see his class earlier that week, when Spencer was on his game.) So Spencer capped off a really big week with a new belt.

Author's Note: Yes, my "voice" is really rusty here. I know. I'm hoping that as I start writing more, that improves. Please bear with me! Also, the second week was worse than the first. That doesn't seem possible. But it is, and it's wrong. And this week, the third week, I finally think we are finding our groove. Or at least, discovering the joys of really, really early bedtimes. But still. TGIF tomorrow!