Today was my son's first day of school. I'm no different than any parent before me whose had to send their first child off to Kindergarten. The preparation leading up to it, gathering all the supplies, not knowing how he'd react, the fear, the excitement. When I think about it, it sounds exactly like preparing for labour. I remember prepping my hospital bag not knowing exactly what I'd need, going to a hospital orientation and looking around timidly, being scared of the big task ahead but excited and feeling impatient for the time to come. It was my rite of passage into becoming a mother and this is Nicholas' first rite of passage as a child.
Ok I realize I'm probably being overly dramatic, I can't help it, but I know there are some of you out there who will agree. Plus it was a dramatic day, so I'm allowed :)
Our day started like any other (much like how every labour story starts). He asked to have some toast for breakfast, and I got a yogurt for him too just in case he didn't eat his lunch. This is when I reminded him that Mama and Dada weren't staying with him at school today, that he'd have to stay there on his own. That's when he started saying he didn't want to go to school (uh oh, was that a small contraction?). It was a phrase that was repeated a million times that morning and got repeated louder and with more anger as the morning went on.
I packed his lunch the night before; salad (surprisingly at his request), some falafel, cheese, pretzels, carrot sticks, banana bread, fruit leather, and yogurt. I had no idea how much he'd eat, so I packed as much as I could. Better to be over prepared! We spent some time practicing opening and closing the lids. His bag was packed and ready to go!
Similar to the obligatory baby bump photo, we took the obligatory first day of school photo in front of the house with his back pack on. Immediately, he wanted his dad to carry him on his shoulders. This couldn't be a good sign. He was starting to get anxious as I tried not to show him how anxious I was as well.
As we got closer and he spotted the school, he was getting louder "I don't wanna go to school!". This was it, I knew it. He was going to make an even bigger deal when we get there. I try to talk myself down in my head "Don't worry, he'll surprise you. He'll see all the other kids going in. He'll be fine."
We arrive at school and he was not fine. His screams of "I don't wanna go to school" rang across the school yard as all the other parents looked our way. I looked at all their children lined up nice and quietly along the wall. Why does this always happen? Yep, we were the ones with that one kid who was throwing the big fit about starting their first day of school.
All eyes on me, I dug into my old bag of behavioural therapy tricks, and worked through it. It was like a tug of war, he even ran away from me at one point, but eventually I dragged him in there, got him set up as his cubby and walked out those school doors hearing his voice fading behind me "I don't wanna go to school"...
I will equate the next 6.5 hours to having an epidural. Just like that, all was silent and I was blissfully ignorant to whatever was happening at school. I went about my day, tried to do some work but found it difficult to concentrate when all I could think about was Nicholas.
As I walked to school this afternoon to pick him up, I started thinking about how this whole day seemed like labour. I had a little chuckle to myself at the similarities. I had been looking forward to this day for so long, to have the whole day with just my 1.5 year old would feel like a vacation. So I was surprised and caught off guard as to how nervous and anxious I was. When Nicholas popped out from behind those doors with a big smile on his face, a student was born. I couldn't be more proud. He was fine. I was fine. My heart was full.
Now, any bets as to how Day 2 will go?