Joy and I accompanied little Hyrum to his first day of school January 3. He was excited to go to school.
We drove there listening to his favorite music. He was excited to go to school.
We parked at the school. He was excited.
We got out and put his backpack with his breakfast and lunch in it on him for the first time. He nearly fell over. It was a struggle for him to walk up to the school building even with our support. The backpack eventually fell off his back and I hooked it onto his arm which I held up for him.
He was not in a good mood when we got to his classroom at the end of the hall. It suddenly became very real that we were about to leave him in this strange environment and he did NOT want us to go!
For the firstest time in his live long life, Hyrum felt separation anxiety. We were delighted?? No, not really, but that was our silver lining. After 34 months, he's finally decided it's important that we stick around.
We spoke softly to him and tried to encourage him to play with some of the toys he had liked. He wasn't letting us out of a 2' radius from him. Joy had forgotten something in the car for him, though, so she left to go get it and I tried to transition him into this new world.
The teacher, who is a very nice lady and accustomed to this, suggested that many parents will try to ease their children into it by only staying through breakfast the first day, then a little longer and a little longer; or come and get them after lunch because there's a lot of noise and business in the morning but after lunch when nap time comes around it gets quiet and the children start missing their parents more... and none of this was helping me comfort him. She shared with Joy later that many children cry the entire first month their children come. Sometimes normal is more frightening than calming.
Hy and I ducked into the "closet" - a little area closed off from the rest of the room where coats are hung but without a door - and I sat down on the ground with him. He held me closely and just whimpered that he didn't want me to leave and he didn't want to stay. It was truly heart-rending.
I finally remembered that I had wanted to give him a father's blessing before school. Now seemed a good time. I asked if he wanted a blessing and hes said yes. So sitting there in the closet I put my hands on his head and blessed him with the ability to enjoy school, to grow, to make friends, to be comforted. He seemed to calm down just a little.
I talked to him about nursery - you like going to nursery right? Mommy and Daddy leave and you play and have fun, and then Mommy and Daddy come back to get you. This is just like nursery.
"You and Mommy will come back for me?"
Yes, Mommy will come for you.
"Mommy AND YOU come back for me?"
I weaseled my way out of answering that one and brought him back into the classroom. Mommy was back so I gave him one more hug and told him to give Mommy hugs. He ran to her and I stepped out of the room, not knowing how long it was going to take her. I was surprised to see her so soon, but those few minutes out in the hall were miserable because I didn't have to act brave and happy about this anymore. [The bowling picture from Joy's birthday is a metaphor.]
She joined me and we walked out the doors together, talking about how hard that was. Joy was going to go back in an hour or so to check on him.
When she did, very sneakily so that Hyrum wouldn't see her in case he had acclimatized, the teacher reassured her that Hyrum was happy and enjoying himself. When she came back again to bring him home, they reported that he had said he didn't want to come home. Now that's our Hyrum.
So the first day was a success.