I need to have a bit of a proud mama moment.
We’ve been gently preparing H for kindergarten for several months now. He starts JK in September, and has been very anxious about it. We did the Intro to Kindergarten night, brought him to as many school functions as we could, introduced him to S’s friends, and talk about how fun it will be. At the end of last year, S’s amazing teachers even let him come into the classroom with her at the end of every school day to see the room, her cubby, the tables, etc. He was very tentative about going in the class with her, but would go as long as she would hold his hand.
Even then, sometimes it was too scary and he wouldn’t go in.
His anxiety over going to school has played a big part in my decision process about what to do about my job in September. I knew that if I went back full-time I’d miss his first day of school, and I want to be there for him.
To help him prepare for school, we enrolled him in a week long summer day camp. S went to the same camp for the last two years and loved it, and we hoped it would help H see that school isn’t scary. It’s every morning for three hours, and the kids take their backpacks, lunch bags, etc just like you would for school. They do crafts, sing songs, play games and read stories, and it’s sort of like a mini preview of a school day.
It’s super fun, but it’s also the first program that he’s ever done totally on his own.
We’ve been taking him on excursions to purchase all his school supplies, and he’s now all decked out with Batman shoes, a spiderman thermos and a Lightning McQueen backpack and lunch bag. We’ve been talking to him about camp for a week or two now so that he wouldn’t be surprised, and while he’s been very excited about his new stuff, he hasn’t said much about camp.
The first morning of camp, I loaded all the kids in the car and prepared for battle. I fully expected his tears to start before we left the house, but he was very calm. He donned his shiny new backpack and jumped in the van.
We got to the community center where his camp is, loaded P in the stroller and and walked in. We were a few minutes early so we had to wait outside the door for the room to open. H was SO calm. I was trying not to make a big deal about it, but inside I was freaking out. This is my child who is highly sensitive and nervous, and he was walking around like he owned the place.
A few other kids came to wait with their parents, and instead of hiding behind my legs like usual, he looked at them square in the eye and said, “Hi, I’m H. What’s your name? I like your shirt.”
When the door opened, he gave me a hug and just walked right in, like he’s done it every day of his life. That’s it. No tears, no clinging to me, no fear… nothing. He has been SO brave all week long, and I have been absolutely bursting with pride. I know it seems like such a small thing, but this has been a huge hurdle for my little H, who suddenly seems very big.
Yesterday was his second last day of camp, and as we drove home he asked,
H: “Mom, after camp is done, is it time for school?”
Me: “Yes sweetheart, but it’s not yet. You still have lots of home days left.”
H: “…Aww. I want to go to school now.”
I’m not sure how this happened, but my small boy suddenly found his courage and is finally excited for school. I’m sure we’ll still have some hurdles to jump come September, but this week has been such a balm for a worried mama’s heart.
My little H is growing up. <3