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It's Off to School We Go

"Are you sad?" "Will you cry?"

Those are two questions I keep hearing from moms who've been where I am today -- the first day of kindergarten. And one thing is certain: My 5-year-old is ready for this transition. At the school's open house on Friday, he happily roamed around the room playing with different toys. We discovered that he already knows three girls in his class. After a kindergarten family picnic on Sunday, he asked: Can I go to school tomorrow?

He awoke on Sunday asking his dad if he was going to school today. So, there's really no doubt about where he wants to be. And I've got no angst about whether he's ready or if this is the right school for him or pushing him too hard.

Monday's going to be especially crazy not just because 5-year-old is starting kindergarten. After dropping him into the first day mayhem of elementary school, we head off to college, where my nephew moves into his freshman dorm with three roommates. Now that's a transition. No more Mom buying shampoo. No more Mom nagging you to do homework. No more Mom cooking meals.

So, will my sister cry? Will I? Maybe a little, but for no good reason other than these kids grow up way too fast.

How do you feel about school's start? Are your kids excited or bummed about summer's end?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  August 27, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers , Teens
Previous: Family, Family, Where Art Thou? | Next: A Little Perspective

Comments


First! dammit!

Posted by: Jack Bauer | August 27, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Most kids I've run into don't seem quite so bummed about summer's end as one might think given the popular hearsay. They're not likely excited about new classes, but getting back in touch with friends and catching up on what has been going on while they were on vacation presents a kind of nervous excitement. This might be short lived, but there is much more to school than just class.

As for the parental side of things, back to school time can be symbolic of a lot of things: the passing of time, growing independance of children, our own parental struggles, perhaps even our own mortality. Not all of us cry when we put our child on the bus the first time (or leave them to their new life in a dorm) but the emotions that are part of that act are potent nonetheless as a parenting milestone.

Posted by: David S | August 27, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Why can't we post on OnBalance today?

Posted by: south | August 27, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

My daughter is so excited for kindergarten. Two more days to go. I head back to work the next week and am looking forward to it too. I won't cry, and neither will she.
The hardest part for us is the schedule, since we're a family of night owls. During the summer, the kids drift to late bedtimes and getting up late (or naps). We've been working on shifting the schedule back to school norms.

Posted by: inBoston | August 27, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Wow! All 4 of my kids will be in school next week, the youngest attending all day kindergarten.

For the first time ever, my wife and I will have the entire house all to ourselves when I work from home.

Whatever will we do with all the freedom and free time?

Both of us are cheering! WooHoo!!!

Posted by: Lil Husky | August 27, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Most parents seem to look forward to the start of school. I don't. It is so much easier now -- no arguing about homework, no making school lunches at 6:30 in the morning, no uniforms, no late busses, no school meetings, no driving from practice to practice! The summer is so much more laid back for everyone! I wish it didn't have to end.

Posted by: Steve | August 27, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprisingly sad today as first grade starts. It's funny -- over the weekend, my girl was scared, acting out, insecure, etc., and I was strong and reassuring. This morning, our roles reversed. She woke up excited and energized, hardly able to wait to get out the door. I saw her so tall and straight and poised in her uniform and the braid she insisted on, and realized that the little cuddly toddler in my mind is completely gone. She has become the "big girl" she's wanted to be since the day she was born.

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Posted by: datindicw | August 27, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

We're all excited about the start of school! My third grade daughter has been preparing for two weeks and was up and ready to go an hour before her bus was due to arrive this morning. My son, who doesn't start back until Thursday, followed us out to the bus stop still in his pajamas, wanting to get on the bus with her.

Contrary to David S.'s supposition, in our case the kids are just excited to get back to the business of learning. My daughter is excited about writing all in cursive and having a visiting artist in the school for the year. Last year's third grade did projects about legends and tall tales and my daughter can't wait to do a project like that herself. My son, who is autistic, loves the structure and activity of the school year. He'll be much happier when he gets back into that routine again.

As for me and my husband, we've never been anything but happy about the start of the school year. It's all about new beginnings, new knowledge, new people, and of course, new school supplies. There's nothing quite like the smell of freshly sharpened pencils to get your brain going!

Posted by: Sarah | August 27, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

This year, it's hard. My older daughter is off to college and my younger to high school. They are nervous I think, and so am I. Transitions all around.

Posted by: Vermont | August 27, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

by Sarah @ August 27, 2007 11:08 AM

"Contrary to David S.'s supposition, in our case the kids are just excited to get back to the business of learning. My daughter is excited about writing all in cursive and having a visiting artist in the school for the year. Last year's third grade did projects about legends and tall tales and my daughter can't wait to do a project like that herself. My son, who is autistic, loves the structure and activity of the school year. He'll be much happier when he gets back into that routine again."

I could not be happier to hear that, and I sincerely hope that it is always such for them. I know that I felt similarly when I was in school, but I am aware that I am not the majority.

Posted by: David S | August 27, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Why can't we post on OnBalance today?

Posted by: south | August 27, 2007 09:31 AM

You can now, it is fixed!

Posted by: you can now! | August 27, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Both boys started the new school year today. Life is back to normal at our house.

Younger son is a 5th grader this year, his last at a very-much-loved elementary school. Our whole family will miss this school next year, and DH is making his plans to recruit and train other parents to run the P.A. system for all the events when we're no longer around to make things go smoothly for the PTA.

Older son, the autistic, is a sophomore at the best public high school in our city. As usual, DH is having to sort out his class schedule, and is working with another parent to correct a 'least restrictive environment' violation against our two kids.

We still have to submit the paperwork for last years' transportation reimbursment, and are still hoping to find the missing textbook (stored in older son's program resource room all last year - and most like returned) we had to pay for before we could get him registered for the new year.

Summer was fun, but it's always a relief when we get back to normal.

Posted by: Sue | August 27, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Geraldine | January 11, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

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