Sunday, January 23, 2011

First Day Jitters

PhotobucketWe arrived back to South Africa a week after school had already started, so the kids didn't have much time to recuperate from jet lag before being thrown back into the real world. To make matters worse Anna was starting Grade 1 at a new school and while it is a part of the same school Aiden attends, it's located down the street in a separate building. I know both kids were anxious about starting so I tried to pump them up and get them as ready as possible, but it was hard to convince them that it was going to be okay! Aiden was lucky to be seeing many of the friends he met last year, but there would be no familiar faces for Miss Anna and she was truly terrified. The morning of their first day, she got dressed and ready to go and seemed to be doing okay but when we got there she clung to me like a koala bear. She started bawling immediately and would not let go of me. My heart ached for her but I knew that I had to make her stay. She begged and begged to go home and to start the next day instead. Most of the children stood there and stared at her, a little unsure what to do, but two little girls in Grade 2 said "we will be your friends"! While their sentiment was sweet it was not enough to convince Anna to let go of me. I walked her to class and she continued the hysteria. I was finally able to get her to let go and I gave her a big smile and promised her that everything would be great and that I would be back to get her soon and then I walked out. It was painful and I wasn't sure the best way to handle it but I decided it was like a pulling off a band-aid and swift and sudden is always better than slow and drawn out. When I went to pick her up she looked happy and introduced me to her new friend Angelina. I was so relieved that she had a great day and prayed that day 2 would be a bit easier.

The next morning she woke up and got dressed immediately but as it got closer to leaving she began to complain that her stomach hurt. Anna is not a faker so I believed her, but I knew it was just her nerves making her sick. While I wanted to keep her home with me and baby her I knew that was not the best answer so I made her go.  She would have been okay but when she got to school, her new friend wasn't there yet and that was enough to make her start crying and begging to go home. This darling little girl Candice walked right up to her and said, "it's going to be okay, the day will be over before you know it"! How cute is that! She was immediately surrounded by a huge group of girls that did their best to convince her everything was okay. I had to run away and not look back. Oh the agony of being a parent. It's heart breaking to see your child so upset but swooping in to save the day is not always the best thing to do. As we drove away I kept thinking how amazing my kids are. Here they are in this foreign country, starting a new grade and Anna at a new school!! You can't blame them for being nervous! I know this expeirence will have everlasting effects on them and is shaping the people they will become.

Day 3 was a bit a better. There were minimal tears and pleading and once Anna saw her friends she walked off with them. I was able to walk back to the car instead of run and that is always a good thing! Aiden loves his teacher and is doing very well. He has only 11 children in his class! I am almost tempted to stay and let him finish 3rd grade here, as what are the chances of him ever having so few kids in his class in AZ? I am still not sure how their education here compares with the states. Anna is a bit behind where she would be if we were at home, but she may catch up now that she is finally old enough to attend a primary school. It is going to be a very interesting few months...

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