"Stand by the tree and look natural," I said to Axel as we prepared to meet his teacher and drop off school supplies this week.
This is the picture I got.
While preparing for another fall, another song-and-dance with a new teacher, a new set of co-conspirators (classmates) and an older/wiser? kid I'm feeling the need for sedatives.
Last year/kindergarten wasn't an all together "painful" experience, however, sending a kid into the world on their own is similar to wearing your dirtiest underwear on your face. YOU WILL BE JUDGED!
Teachers and school staff see everything – no doubt. They see naughty kids, curious kids, inappropriate kids, genius kids, messy kids, loud kids, clever kids, incredible kids and awkward kids EVERY SINGLE DAY. What's difficult for me (and perhaps you as well) is that my kid is a mixed bag of emotions. While most days he states "this is the best day of my life," the teacher may not always think that the rousing laughter he received on the carpet for a fake burp was quite as stellar as Axel perceived it – THEN – a phone call.
School for a parent is about two things: getting your kid back alive (not dreading the next school day) AND avoiding contact with the teacher. NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS from the school FOR SURE.
This last Wednesday we met Mrs. S – Axel's keeper for the next 10 months. If I were to make an early prediction I would say she is an excellent fit. She sent home a survey so I could share some of my feelings and goals for Axel this year. That's always tough. What do I reveal that might make her understand him more? Is there a danger in revealing too much – stuff he may just decide to spare her on?
While I certainly don't need her judging Axel before meeting his unique self I would hate for her to judge me! Should I have lofty goals like MENSA society acceptance or nomination for citizen of the year? Hmmm. My conclusions came in two goals: a LOVE of reading & confidence among his peers. Played it safe.
While I attempted to make light of the introductions on Wednesday and even after she recognized him upon entrance, "Axel, I've heard great things about you," which we all know to mean that she has indeed heard SOMETHING about him – on the outside I must have looked like Axel standing next to that tree. It's hard to act natural on command and as I take the baby steps towards next Tuesday – the official start of school – I plan to fake it all the way.
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