We rolled up to school early on the first day. I’d discovered long ago that the kids deal best with new situations when we’re the first to arrive. I fully understand where they’re coming from – I dread walking into a crowd, particularly when you don’t know anyone. Ironically, I think my fear of facing a roomful of people stems from starting a new school when I was around the same age as T. Although I’m better at managing my fear as I’ve gotten older, it’s still something I’ve never quite shaken.
H had been quite nervous the night before and had had trouble sleeping. She took a fair bit of coaxing just to get her into the school grounds, despite us being the only ones there.
T, on the other hand, had been looking forward to starting school for the entire holiday break. He ran through the gates, yelling “Look at the grass – it’s real!” and took off. Within about a minute he’d met a little guy from his class, pinched a watering can from the Assistant Principal and was happily sloshing water around the school garden.
H was happy to sit with me in reception with the office staff and go through the laundry list of paperwork we’d had trouble supplying until we’d gotten a fixed address until the bell rang. We deposited her with her teacher and spent the day wondering how she was faring. We assumed that T, who had disappeared with the watering can and his mate, was doing just fine and hoped that he’d parked himself in the right classroom for the day.
When we went to collect them that afternoon, T bounded out of the building with a huge smile on his face. “There’s so much space!” was his only revelation about the days’ activities as he sped past us to start a game of tag.
H was a little more reserved, but had made a friend and was excited about the camp next week. She never ceases to amaze me – she was so terribly worried about her first day but excited to go away for two nights with a group of complete strangers?
No matter how hard we try to analyse a situation, or worry about how to make a tricky or stressful situation easier for the munchkins, sometimes it’s just the simple things that pave the way. Play equipment, real grass, some space, the thought of a trip away – and one friend. That’s all it took.