Max started "big school" this week. As you know, I was extremely anxious about it. Two days before school started I found out that the teacher I thought he was getting was no longer teaching that grade. To say I panicked would be putting it mildly. But once again, our wonderful school came to the rescue. I heard from the old teacher, the other teacher and the new teacher all within 24 hours. They listened to my concerns and they reassured me that they would take extra special care of Max.
On Wednesday morning the four of us left super early for the first school day of 2014. Max and I hung around the playground while we waited for Adam and Kate to hear which class they would be in (they each got awesome teachers PLUS they had their best friend from last year in their new class). After 30 minutes of hanging around (which is really long because he was really excited to start 'big school') Max decided that he had enough of this school thing and said he wanted to go home. Max always wants to go home. I had a little internal panic but distracted him by suggesting we walk around the playground to the fabulous jungle gym on the other side. Eventually it was his turn to meet his new teacher. Teacher Kelly. Teacher Kelly is young and beautiful and very sweet. When we walked in she got down on her haunches and looked at me as if to say "will he let me?", I nodded and she asked Max if she could have a hug. He launched himself into her arms and gave her the biggest hug ever. Max is a very good hugger.
I hung around for a bit and then said I was going and would be back later to pick him up. We kissed and hugged goodbye and off I went. No problem.
Everyone was thinking about him that morning, hoping he was ok. Marko and I were Skyping each other
[2014-01-15 11:25:09 AM] Marko Albertyn: Hope it was ok for him
[2014-01-15 11:25:41 AM] Tertia Albertyn: me too!! he was fine this morning. but leaving him is never the problem
[2014-01-15 11:26:34 AM] Marko Albertyn: Just hope he was ok and if he didn't hit anyone, then I would say his first day was ok.
[2014-01-15 11:26:54 AM] Tertia Albertyn: agree 100%
[2014-01-15 11:27:07 AM] Marko Albertyn: Ok, let me know later.
Leaving him is never the problem. He will happily go anywhere, with just about anyone. He is a confident child. But of course, what we were worried about was how he would interact with the teacher and the other kids.
I was super early to pick him up and waited anxiously outside the classroom at 12:15. First day = HUGE success! Apparently he was perfect, no problem. He kept hugging the teacher and patting her tummy (??!).
First day, very good.
The second day I felt a little better, but still a bit anxious. When I picked him up the teacher said there had been an 'incident'. Oh dear. "But" she said, "he handled it extremely well" Phew! He was playing with some blocks and walked away to do something. Another little girl thought he had finished and played with the blocks. He came back, saw her with 'his' blocks and went all stiff and clenched his hands and made a 'grrrrrrrr' noise but he didn't hit out or do anything to her, he went to tell the teacher and she sorted it out. PHEW!! I was so relieved that we had our first incident and that it was handled well by all. Because I knew it wasn't a case of 'if', but rather 'when' something would happen. And something did happen and it was fine!
AND!! He did a painting!!! When I went to pick him up he was very proud to show me his painting (of a squiggly line, but it doesn't matter!). That was one of the things I was worried about - I was worrried he would refuse to draw or paint (or participate!). I was so proud and happy I thought my heart was going to burst. I kept telling him over and over how proud I was of him for being such a good, big boy at school. I told him he made my heart very happy to which he replied "Oh thank you mom!". Cute. Eventually Marko told me to stop telling him how proud and happy I was as I was going to start freaking him out. I was just so proud! And happy! And RELIEVED!
The third day was good as well. In the morning Max asked me "No more small school?" and I said "no more small school. You are at big school now". Good, he says.
The teacher next door (the other English class for Grade RR - there are two English classes and two Afrikaans classes) said that Max was doing really well. The previous Grade RR teacher popped in to check on him and said that he was a happy boy in class. Even the nursery-phase cleaner stopped to tell me Max was a happy boy. (And while I had told the two teachers above about my concerns with Max, I promise I hadn't told the cleaner!)
I am so very very very happy and relieved that the first few days went well. I know it is early days and we could still have many more incidents, but these first few days were critical. Max's teacher is really sweet and I am so pleased that Max has connected with her, and her with him.
I am so grateful to the school and the teachers and the therapists (and even the cleaners!) who have all been so good to Max and I the first few days. It seems like I needed it more than he did :)
So far so good! I am a very, very proud and relieved mama.