So the littles are in their second week of school—one in preschool and one in kindergarten–and we have had some surprises. Our little pre-schooler is just doing two days a week so that one has been a pretty easy adjustment for everyone. He loves it and wonders why he can't go every day. Our kindergartner is the one who has surprised me. I expected some trepidation but we have had only excitement. The biggest surprise though has been the amazing amount of fatigue. I don't know why I didn't think to expect that one, but I didn't.

Here are my top five lessons learned from the Kindergartner:

1. Kindergarten is full-time job, and it's hard work.

The concept of sending the little to Kindergarten was intimidating, but I focused mainly on the big realities that scared me. The fact that she would be out of our little protective bubble. The fact that she would be influenced by kids whom I do not know. The simple scariness of not knowing what she is doing every moment of the day.

What I did not think of, however, is how exhausting it would be for her to be engaged for that long, every day of the work week. When we picked her up after school last week, on pretty much every day she asked if it were almost bedtime. A couple of times she fell asleep in the car or came pretty close. She loves going to school so far, but it's a whole new, demanding world for her.

2. My girl’s temperament is a lot like mine, and school's not really built to support it.

I did not take into consideration that my girl is an introvert – the same kind as I am. We love people and we love visiting, but we need some quiet time. Going to school for seven hours a day means that she lost her ability to choose quiet time when she needs it.

Being the introspective little girl that she is, she seems to realize that she’d better soak up some alone time when she can. The minute we get home, my girl bolts for her room, closes her door, and takes a good 20 or 30 minutes to decompress. After that she and Elijah usually play pretty well with one another. It's nice to see them miss each other, even if they don't know that's why they are playing together.

3. She is really thoughtful.

Before kids get out into the world a little bit on their own, it is hard to really know everything about them. Limited experience gives you limited perspective. But every night when I tuck her in, she says a prayer for whomever has had trouble at school that day. She prayed for the same little boy two nights in a row, and on that second night her prayer was, “Please, please, PLEASE help him listen.” She was pretty worried for him. It touched my heart.

I am just so surprised by this spontaneous thoughtfulness toward her new classmates. I mean, had you asked, I would have told you she was the sweetest girl ever, but to see her act out what I knew was in her heart just swelled my own heart with love.

4. She was ready. Just like she said.

You can psyche yourself out as the first day draws closer. You can start telling yourself that they really aren’t ready. For me, the truth of the matter was, I really wasn’t ready. She was totally ready. Suddenly my little girl who had very few rules to follow is a table monitor and line leader. She is telling me about her PE class. She is proudly saying, “I was so brave today, Mommy. I went down the slide!” She is naming new friends and talking about recess (her favorite part of her day, most days). She is basically reveling in every moment. And by the end of our first week, I was right there with her—celebrating a little more and fearing a little less.

5. Everyone has her limit.

Toward the end of the first week, we went to the grocery store after school. Before we went in, I excitedly told her we had soccer sign-up sheets for her and her brother. “Do you want to play soccer?” I asked. She had been to her cousins‘ soccer games, whom she adores, so I was certain of her answer. Imagine my surprise when I hear a big sigh from the back seat and her exasperated reply of, “Mommy, I hardly ever see my Grandmas, and I don't hardly ever get to play with my Pet Shops. I do NOT want to play soccer!”

Well, okay then. I guess that one shouldn’t have surprised me. (See realization #2 above!) It looks like she’s learning to treasure the way God made her—introverted, caring, and brave. And that’s a pretty good lesson for the first two weeks of school.





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