For the last week or so I have spent as much time as possible with W. Every small pocket of time was filled with an adventure or simply hanging out. I knew once we met September 2nd everything would change. It did.
Yesterday I walked W down a hill to the entrance of his school. We were met by the school administrator who pointed us towards his classroom. W was a floating balloon of excitement and I held on to his hand as if he was my prize. His cheerful and giddy nature made a couple of parents smile. It was impossible to not see his face full of glee and not get swept away in his thrill. Finally: kindergarten.
He was given a name tag and we selected an item from his lunch bag that would work for his afternoon snack. I hovered like a giant out-of-place oaf, shadowing him from one part of the room to the other. He was ready for me to go. I was not ready to leave.
I realized when I was home, and almost a full hour later, I had neglected to send him to school with a water bottle. His preschool was big on having the kids use cups, but I didn’t know about the new school. I had a bottle I meant to send with him just in case, but it never made it out of the drying rack of the kitchen. Deep breath. Deep breath. It would be FINE.
I picked W up 7 hours after I dropped him off. He was rosy-cheeked and annoyed I was the first parent at pick up. I was hoping for him to dive right into a detailed description of his day, but instead I got a list of all the ways I failed him.
1. I made him a sandwich with peanut butter on it
I found out at pick up the school was peanut free. It was the 1st time I had heard about it, but with friends who have kids with severe allergies I do feel like an idiot for not checking 1st.
2. I didn’t put a coloring book in his backpack.
W’s class is kindergarten and first grade combined and the 1st graders all pulled out coloring books to color in the morning and W had gone to his backpack thinking I would have magically known this. Nope.
3. He didn’t have on sunscreen.
When I toured the school last year they explained they would not have access to any outdoor play areas. It never even occurred to me to put sunscreen on him to send him to school. The good news is the school now has an outdoor play area. The bad news is my kid was out in the sun twice without any sunscreen.
4. He didn’t have a water bottle.
They didn’t have cups of water to give him either. So for 7 hours (including 2 visits outside to the playground in 90+ degree weather) he had nothing to drink.
I was pretty upset about the water. W plays hard and sweats a lot. I asked him if he spoke up and he says he didn’t. He never raised his hand and asked for water or asked if there was a water fountain (there is, by the way).
When we went to school this morning I spoke to the head of school about the water. I also asked W if he knew where the water fountain was and he didn’t, so we dropped off his backpack and found the fountain. He got a drink. I told him if he is thirsty he must raise his hand and let his teachers know. Part of being a “big kid” is being aware of your body and what you need and asking for help.
Of course I also sent him to school with a giant water bottle as well.
I know it is a life lesson W needs to learn – to speak up. I am only frustrated at the school because they didn’t call me, but it doesn’t seem like they knew he didn’t have water. I think W was embarrassed he didn’t have something the other kids did and he kept it to himself.
Sending my kid out into the world is terrifying, but after W’s “water-gate” I see just how tough and brave W is. It wasn’t smart, but it was something.