Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Growing pains

JJ started first grade last week, and the tears that have been shed since then could fill an ocean.

I thought this transition would be easy. After all, he went through kindergarten at the same school, he knows every single kid in his class, and the drill isn't that much different.

But it is different. Very different.

The day is longer. The work is harder. The expectations are higher. Recess is on the (gulp) Big Kids Playground.

And Mommy isn't there.

JJ has always been very attached to me. One of my closest friends (and the mother of JJ's future bride) once quipped that if JJ could climb back into my womb, he'd do it without a second thought. Truer words have never been spoken.

One of the biggest tear triggers has been The Peanut's stroller. We walk to school almost every morning, and both kids happily skip most of the way there. But inevitably, The Peanut gets tired and climbs into the stroller…and then the tears begin to flow.

"I want to ride in the stroller," JJ sobbed this morning. "I wish I were still little."

"I know," I said. "Sometimes it's hard growing up, isn't it?"

"But JJ," The Peanut said helpfully, "soon I'll be too big for the stroller, too."

"But you're little now," he retorted. "I miss being little. I miss being with Mommy."

And that's the big issue, I think. Each morning when we drop him off, there's a piece of paper at each child's place. At the top is printed "Me and My Family." The point is to draw a picture of your family, and every other child has been working on his picture for days. JJ's paper is still blank. Well, not totally blank: there are faint traces of circles and lines, erased and redrawn many times. This morning I asked him about it. "Are you having a hard time with your picture?"

He burst into tears. "I hate it. I hate this picture."

"Why, honey? Why do you hate it?"

"I just do. I hate it. And I hate school."

I don't understand it, and he can't find the words to explain it to me. Possibly he doesn't understand it himself. But those words "I hate school" cut me to the quick. One of the gifts I've worked hardest to give my children is a love of learning new things. Is school going to kill that love? Or is this just a temporary blip?

Please tell me it's a blip.


MollyJ said...

late to this but yes it is a blip! and you will probably have to go through it a lot.
We had tears and hating school until E was 6! They start at 4 here. At 7 on the first day, he did'nt even look back to wave and this was being at a new school too.
Hang in there!

followthatdog said...

School can be a biggie. I remember hating it quite a bit. I'm sorry he's hating his so much, hopefully it will get better.