It's official: my little girl isn't a baby any more. On Wednesday she started kindergarten. Here she is on her first day.
No, I didn't cry that first morning. In fact, I didn't even feel bad about it until after I'd left school, picked up my nephews from Grandma's, and got back home. The boys played happily. Suddenly something felt wrong, like something was missing. I dismissed it as a light case of the "mommy jitters". After all, I had lots of concerns picking away at the back of my brain. Would she like school? (She did) Would she make friends? (She did ) Would she like and eat her lunch? (Yep) Would she be OK on the bus ride home? (Not completely, but she's fine with it now) etc etc. I found myself counting the hours until school was out. By the time she finally got home I was more than ready to hug her. But I thought we both did pretty well, considering. No sweat. School was easy.
Enter the next morning. We almost missed the bus. The baby cried all the way home (only 5 minutes, but still). The boys fought and quarreled and picked on Evan. The baby fussed, and there was no Kaylee to play with him. My anxiety increased. The kids picked up on it, the boys got whiny, and the baby screamed. More anxiety from Mommy. More screaming. Naptime finally calmed things down a little. It was a rough day, but I chalked it up to 2 early mornings, teething, and adjusting. I missed her dreadfully, but we survivied.
Friday arrived. Kaylee waved cheerfully from the school bus window while I fought back tears. The day was worse than the previous one. More fighting. More Mommy stress. While I was putting the baby down for a nap, the other 3 dumped every toy box, bin, and storage container in the playroom onto the floor and stirred it around. CD's, toys, puzzle pieces, cassette tapes, train track, you name it. Mommy almost came unglued. Just after we got that cleaned up, Evan got into the art box. Scissors, markers, erasers, playdough, etc. Then Miles picked up the scissors and cut holes in Evan's shirt. By this time Mommy was considerably upset. And my state of mind was definitely rubbing off on the boys. They started whining that there was nothing to do. Evan rubbed chalk all over everything. Clark did manage to cut his tooth, but still fussed and whined. It was a complete disaster. Until Kaylee walked in the door.
So this is what happens when your oldest child, your helper, your little "momma" goes off to school. I knew I depended a lot on Kaylee, but I obviously had no idea how much. I MISS HER! Not just her helpfulness, but her, in general. Her smile, her laugh, her love of life. It feels all wrong, having her gone for 9 hours a day. I've always been a "listen to your instincts" kind of parent, so if it felt wrong, I didnt' do it. Babies sleeping in their own cribs? No, they slept with me. Leaving them at daycare? Couldn't do it. But how do I deal with this? Is this even a normal reaction? Am I overly attached to my daughter? Good grief, if I'm this much of a mess when she goes to kindergarten, what will I do when she goes off to college?
Kaylee, on the other hand, loves school. So I try to keep my feelings to myself. I don't want to taint her experience, and she is enjoying it. I suppose, like my dad always says "This too shall pass" and I'll adjust. Eventually. For now I"m just hoping to survive the next week.