Monday, September 10, 2012

Helen's First Day

It seems as if all the bandwidth on this blog dedicated to school goes straight to Connor. I do care about Helen's school experience, but her path is so clear to me that I don't spend a lot of time over-thinking it, stressing about it, or worrying at all. Partly, this stems from Connor and Helen being so different. Where Connor would be perfectly happy to go unnoticed for a while and if things go wrong - he'll basically just accept them, unless Helen has busied herself painting her nails or applying make-up, she'd prefer to be noticed - and she doesn't just accept things. I never worry that she won't get what she needs, because she demands it. Mostly, being at a tiny, private school with teachers that I already know on a path I've walked before feels easy.

But I have to remind myself that Helen's experiences are new to her, and so it came as quite a shock to me that rather than bounding onto the playground as she had done at drop-off of Connor two years ago, when she begged not to be noticed so she could join the class, Helen started her time in the Oak Tree Kindergarten in the background. First clinging to my leg for much of the open house, and then settling in behind or beside Ed and I at drop-off the next two days, she impatiently reported to me at the end of the second full day that she did not want to go to school.

To hear her tell it, school stresses her out. "Mom, C kept asking me to play saying 'don't you want to play with your old friend, Helen?' Only I didn't want to play with her because H and J and I were building a rocketship and we needed to finish it and then I went to play with C but she was mad at me." This was followed with "H and I are getting married. We're going to have strawberry ice cream at our marrying party. Do you think my birthday party could be a marrying party?" And apparently it was H, not Helen, who brought the issue up.

Today she seemed more settled, and I'm hopeful she'll hit her stride in the coming week. Ironically, when Connor was in the class, Ed and I often remarked how the girls seemed somewhat blase about getting to school, hanging out with the parents before morning verse, while the boys were like a pack of hounds running around the playground from the start. Despite the slow start, I'll be shocked if Helen is still hanging out with the parents in a couple of weeks. She's more of a pack leader.

But...she's been known to surprise me before.

Without further ado...the first day of school shot, taken by Ed.


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