First Grade

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Eleanore was home schooled for most of last year. It wasn't anything that we planned, but after we moved from Dyess to Goodfellow, it just kind of happened. And we loved it. But... towards the end of her kindergarten year, I started noticing little things here and there that clued me in to the very real truth of, she needed more. I hated to admit it, I felt like a bit of a failure even, but I couldn't deny her the socialization and stimulation that she was craving, just because I wanted to teach the kids my way, and in a tra la la everything organic and pioneer-like manner. There were many, many, many advantages of home schooling (learning in pajamas, youtube videos instead of recess, not having to dress everyone in snow suits just to walk down the street and then have to strip them naked halfway home because the sun decided to come out and bust up the snow storm, crazy Texas), but in the end, Eleanore just needed more than I could offer her. And when this new baby comes in 8 weeks- I'll even less to give. Or maybe I'll just give it differently? Lord be with me either way, haha.

Anyways, so we've been in Honolulu for a little over a month, and all of the stars finally aligned just right, and Eleanore started first grade. I'm taking a little photo class on the side (sort of, I've been terrible with keeping up with the lessons and assignments) that gave me a nudge in the right direction to think about how I wanted to photograph and document her first day.

Christopher took the younger two to the park, so that I could walk Elie into the office, take her to the bathroom, and then wander with her down the outdoor hallway to building A to join her new class for a year of spelling words, cupcake free snacks, and special classroom slippers. And hopefully some friend making and fun having as well :)

She was all smiles on the drive there- she had been anticipating starting school since we asked her about public school at the beginning of the summer. We woke her and her brother and sister up at 5:30 am so that we could get everyone fed and dressed, drive down from the city out to the base, and get her signed into the office by 7:30. There was another little girl starting her first day as well, kindergarten though, so the two anxious Annie's sat by the door giggling about growing taller than trees and shrinking smaller than ants, while the office folks got them enrolled and the Mama's chatted about previous bases and coconuts.

That first brave walk around the corner and down the sidewalk past all of the unfamiliar faces was a little nerve wracking. She kept slowing, twirling, and looking back at me. I kept urging her to go forward (so I could get a picture, hah!), but eventually she just stopped, folded her arms, and pouted. Thats when you know its time to put the camera away and just focus on being a mom.

The kids have outdoor cubbies- because in Hawaii, where its a perfect 85 degrees and sunny every day, you can do that? The kids take their "passport" (binder) and journals out of their backpacks, water bottles as well, and remove their "outside" shoes and stuff them into their little labeled (Elie doesn't have a label yet) wooden locker space with their backpacks. They've all got inside shoes to wear- so not to bring sand and mud (it seems to rain/mist daily) into the classroom.

Lunches lined up perfectly by the sink, good morning messages written on the white board, fresh boxes of markers and friends to help explain how to do journal entries... it was a swirl of brand new, and all so exciting.

I tried to give her as much space as possible, backing away farther and farther as the clock ticked on, only inching back when a whimper of doubt lured me in. It took about twenty minutes before I was able to escape back out into the sunshine- where I stood and stared a little longingly at the blue doors, half expecting her to come running after me. I guess it was me that maybe was wanting to run back in to her?

But then I got over it, took a deep breath of salty air'd freedom, enjoyed the fact that my little girl was in good hands other than my own, and continued on to finding and figuring out a new routine.

And she did great. She survived the day. She even had fun. And I survived too. Though I certainly missed her, and the silence of her confused siblings was almost too much to handle- especially when they both fell asleep in the double stroller along the Waikiki beach, allowing me to sit peacefully on the lanai listening to Hawaiian music by myself for almost an entire hour...

This is good for us. Not just her, but us.

I can get used to this :)

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