13 September 2009

First Day of Preschool

I barely slept Wednesday night. After finally setting aside clothes for the first day, I got it into my head to fold (most of) the mountain of laundry we generated after returning from our week in NY. I'm not quite sure what I did with the rest of the night, but it was 5 AM before I knew it, and I barely managed an hour of sleep before Rita came into our room.

Miraculously, her early wake-up for the day didn't impact her enjoyment of school at all. She and Rafi were (mostly) cooperative in getting dressed, eagerly put on their backpacks to head downstairs, tolerated several rounds of posed First Day pictures, and bounded down the street with fewer than half a dozen pauses to examine cracks in the sidewalk and idling trucks in the road.

Once at school, they found their cubbies, helped me put away their spare clothes, settled their backpacks inside, and dashed off into the classroom before I could even turn around. I really think that if the school didn't require that parents stay through the entire (hour-long) first session, I could have left them right then and there. Instead, I had the privilege of watching them explore a sand table, a deluxe kitchen and dining area, and more new-to-them toys than I could count. Clean up, circle time, and - just like that - the first day of school was done.

I can't wait for them to go back on Tuesday.

10 September 2009

Two Little Fish

In about seven hours, Rafi and Rita and I will head out the door and down the street for their first day of preschool. A typical mother would have their First Day Of School outfits laid out (probably new clothes), bags of spare clothes packed, camera waiting, and home at least somewhat tidy so as to streamline the process of getting out the door in the morning.

Me? I did manage to find a dress and leggings for Rita that match each other and do not have any visible stains. And I set aside a polo for Rafi, but I have no clue which of his pants will match it, be suitable for the weather (mid-teens/low-60s, depending on your preferred system), and go with sneakers (they do have new sneakers). Their sandals would match better for both outfits, but they are definitely showing wear. Besides, the other parents will think I'm a loon for putting myself in sandals in mid-September - better they don't think I'm abusive for doing the same to my children.

I have a spare outfit set aside for him, but I can't find the cubby-box-clothes I had in mind for her (you know...the ones that still fit, but are stained and a little shlumpy so you won't miss them at home). Extra socks - check. Spare diapers stuffed and set aside; the school is planning to use disposable wipes and zipper-locking plastic bags as needed. Of course nothing is labeled, since I only got around to ordering clothing labels about 90 minutes ago.

The living room and kitchen are in shambles, with most of our summer clothes recently laundered and tossed on every available surface, waiting to be folded and put away. This should add to the excitement of looking for Rita's spare clothes or even finding a clean shirt for myself in the morning. I still need to memorize the door code to get us into the building. I'll have to remember to ask Julian where the camera is before he leaves for work. And I should probably make sure I actually have my wallet with me when I walk out the door in the morning.

We're not terrible parents, though. Just before bathtime, we presented the children with their first backpacks, with their initials embroidered on the flaps. Tucked into each bag was the welcome note from their teachers. They unzipped and rezipped the bags, and had us read them their notes over and over, pointing out each teacher's face several times. I shortened the shoulder straps as much as possible, and they danced around their room with bags on their backs, their faces filled with pride and delight.

They could go to school in tattered t-shirts and ragged shorts, but if they put on those smiles every time they put on their backpacks, they'll be the best-dressed kids in the world.