Thursday, August 9, 2007

and so it begins

Thirteen years of public school education, to be followed by....who knows what and how many more. John and I have grand aspirations of course. Reminds me of a quote from Phoebe's brother on an episode of "Friends" about one of his daughters, "She's so smart. We know she's going to do something big, like become a doctor, or...a realtor."

Yesterday she had a brief orientation. We visited her classroom and met her teacher and checked out the kindergarten playground while enjoying root beer floats. It's tough to dislike anything when you are given root beer floats. We met another mom (from Serbia via Boston) yesterday and her daughter who is also starting kinder although not in Erin's class, and we chatted and the girls played for quite a while.

Erin was pretty confident about today. Last night she picked out her outfit and as a gift from us she received a new lunch bag and backpack, each embroidered with her name and a horsie, of course, and she thought they were wonderful. This morning we went out front for a few pictures before the twins and I took her to school.

We walked Erin to the morning lineup area on the playground and we waited with her until her teacher came out. This is the daily routine she'll get to know and eventually I foresee being able to drop her off at the school entrance. While in line Erin chatted with the little girl in front of her and we met her mom. Then when Erin's teacher showed up to gather the class Erin marched off with the others and didn't even glance back my way. I couldn't walk as quickly as some of the other parents because of the double wide stroller I was trying to maneuver in the crowd and when I finally made it to the classroom Erin had already found her seat and had her backpack and lunch bag put away. Most of the other parents were helping get their kids settled. I stood just outside the doorway because of the stroller and when the twins looked occupied enough I went in for a quick minute to tell Erin I'd be back to pick her up after school. "Ok, yeah, bye!" She was obviously all torn up inside.

Then in the school courtyard, which is right beside her classroom, parents were invited to have coffee and tea and coffee cake, hear a short welcome or welcome back (as the case may be) from the principal and have some time to meet each other. From there I glanced into Erin's classroom windows and she seemed fine and occupied.

I recognized a couple from one of the early school tours I'd taken, so we reintroduced ourselves. They're from Egypt. Then by coincidence I met a dad originally from Serbia via Boston, the husband of the woman Erin and I met yesterday. The twins meanwhile loved and devoured the coffee cake and moved on to the raisins I brought for them. At first they ate some and then they discovered that it was more fun to take turns trying to shove them in unnatural places on each other, like into ears and eyes. This was entertaining to many of the parents there. Despite that, I concluded it was time to leave.

This afternoon the twins and I picked her up and her teacher reported that she had a great day. In her backpack was a gigantic bundle of papers which were entirely different than the previous gigantic bundle we received when she was first accepted to this school. In these I discovered that we violated the dress code on her first day. No sleeveless dresses or shirts. Oops. Sheesh.

I needed to get an allergy shot nearby, so while we were there I got a chance to hear about her day in more depth, while taking video of course. Erin had almost as much trouble with the many foreign-sounding names as I did.

I had to try pretty hard to keep from laughing here. The twins are in the midst of one of their usual battles and the contrast between Erin trying to explain the progression of her future education and them hitting each other and screaming is hilarious. To me. After this I had to continue the interview at home.

"And guess what, mom!" Erin exclaimed, "I saw Maia (the girl she met yesterday) on the playground, and I said hi to her and she said hi to me and we played."

I like this school more and more each time I'm there. Erin's teacher seems great and I am enjoying the sense of community the school tries to build. We have a parent night for K and 1st grade next week, and a school-wide saturday games and picnic day next month, and these sorts of things will be going on all year long. And I'm thankful that they didn't boot Erin out on her first day for her skimpy outfit.

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