Sunday, September 16, 2012

Adventures and adjustments

New adventures are good, but a little exhausting. We're all adjusting. :-)

That’s the closing line of Abby’s post summing up Augie’s first week of kindergarten and Vi’s first week without Augie as her constant companion. Each of them faced up to new challenges bravely, showing some emotion but pulling themselves together to get the job done. For the grownups who accompany them on these journeys, it tugs at the heart.

Augie faced serious butterflies before school Monday. He hadn’t slept much, couldn’t bring himself to eat, and was irritable and teary. Abby cuddled him, assuring him people do get nervous about big new things. He improved once he got dressed, but he wasn’t happy about posing for the obligatory first-day-of-school photo. When Abby said the pictures made him look dorky, she got a genuine laugh from both kids (and, I think, the world’s first non-dorky off-to-school photo).

At school, Augie held his mom’s hand for a long while and then said in a bright voice, “See you at the end of the day, Mom.” And when he bounded off the school bus eight hours later, he was grinning broadly and couldn’t wait to tell about his day.

At the end of the week, the teacher told Abby that Augie was doing great. “Today he read to me,” she said. He was reading book 8 of the Bone graphic novel series, so she got a good sense of both his ability and one of his great interests. His school, a St. Paul public school, is a Montessori-based magnet school, so we have high hopes for individualized experience.

At home after a full day of school, Augie is tired, and he indulges his need to be a kid without quite so many rules. But clearly he’s making the adjustment.

Meanwhile, ViMae is experiencing the biggest separation of her life. After delivering Augie to school Monday, she and her mom had a girls’ playdate. They made cookies and went to Vi’s favorite park, and while they had a nice time she said more than once that it would have been more fun with Augie there. (I love Abby's photo of Vi leaping at the park. This girl has spunk.)

Now that Augie is coming here before school, we make his needs the priority for that first hour. But after we get him off to school, every day is ViolaMae Day. We’ve taken her to breakfast and shopping at Michael’s, where she picked out a Disney Princess glitter-color kit (by the end of the day we both had glitter all over our faces). She and I went to the garden center and picked out mums for the yard and bulbs to be planted over the next few weeks. I just bought some sticker projects that I know she’ll love, and we have other Vi-centered activities planned. Once in a while she talks about Augie but like him, she’s trying to grow into her new role.

Still, we have witnessed their struggles. On Friday morning, Vi and I went along when Pa drove Augie to school, and we were all going in to see the layout. About 20 feet from the door, Augie suddenly froze. I thought maybe he was struggling with his heavy backpack, but when I looked closely at his face he seemed stunned. We kept asking questions, but as sometimes happens with his private thoughts, he ignored us. After 30 or 40 seconds, he simply moved on.  Peter and I think he was having a good time and then suddenly realized that while this was an outing for us, he wouldn’t be leaving when we did. He didn’t complain; he soldiered on. It fills my heart with pride, and pain. Change is hard.

For ViMae, the sadness hit at preschool. Her dad took her Wednesday afternoon, and when he tried to leave she burst into tears because Augie wasn’t there…even though they were never in the same classroom. When we took her Friday, she didn’t cry, but she returned again and again for prolonged hugs, until a teacher came over and sweetly asked Vi to come read a book together. It was just the invitation she needed, and she never looked back. Abby reports that later in the day Vi was running with some boys that have moved from Augie’s old room to Vi’s. They were playing Star Wars. She will know at least as much Star Wars trivia as they do, and she’ll be able to make up battle scenarios. It’s a match made in…Alderaan.

And it’s all part of the great new adventure.


(I borrowed all the photos from Abby's family blog.)


17 comments:

Grandmother said...

Oh, this just fills my heart as well as my eyes. Look at how much these little people are capable of, Look at how closely you observe and know them. Look at how much bravery it takes to grow up and move on and find the inner strength to do that. Good for them, good for you, I'm cheering for all of you!

Anonymous said...
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Stephen Hayes said...

Thanks for sharing your bliss, Grandma. Such a special time in the lives of kids AND grandparents.

Chartreuse said...
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Chartreuse said...

Could any two children be more loved and supported that these two? I'm sure one day they'll know how lucky they are. And how lucky are we to be able to offer our children so much.

Ms Sparrow said...

How very lucky you are to have been such a constant in the lives of your grandchildren. You've obviously fulfilled the role with outstanding success. You can be very proud.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Such big adjustments for them both and you too. I am certain that you will help them both along. Good to hear that Augie is at a Montessori School..I have heard good things and the teachers that are Montessori trained seem to be delightful and ever so patient with children:)

Teresa Evangeline said...

Nancy, This is Such a wonderful post. There's Love in every word and it is so beautifully written.

Jeanie said...

It looks like they are adjusting very well with just a few little bumps in the road. I hope things are going as well for you as you adjust to the changes.

Retired English Teacher said...

Darling, darling photos. That first week of school was an adventure for all.

Connie said...

It's so hard to see them go off to school and leave us! I don't remember my kids seeming so little when they atarted school, They were the same age, but I feel so much more protective now. I know you are proud of them because I know that feeling too :)

The Broad said...

They are all so beautiful and so brave! I just love your observations of their various thoughts and moods. Lovely post which brought back lots of memories...

DJan said...

What a hard lesson we learn from Day One at school! I loved this post, filled with the wisdom that shows these two wonderful and well-loved children will grow into responsible and happy adults. Thank you so much for writing this! :-)

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Indigo Roth said...

Hey Nancy! Sounds like you were a brave bunny, too! THe kids sounds terrific, and far more confident than I was at their age! You all dun good, ma'am! Indigo x

jshawflamm said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this & seeing the darling photos. Here's to everyone on a successful transition!

Lisa @ Grandmas Briefs said...

Such valiant efforts on the part of all. The non-dorky school photo is adorable, and I just love that photo of spunky ViMae leaping off the rock. Great catch. Soon it will all be old hat for everyone. Best wishes on getting to that point.

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