Wednesday, February 20, 2013

First Day Jitters

As a classroom teacher, I always welcomed my new batch of students with a favorite picture book, First Day Jitters.
It tells the story of a girl, Sarah Jane Hartwell, who lives with her father. He tries over and over and over to awaken her and get her ready for the first day of school. She belabors the inevitable, feigning a headache, shortness of breath, and fears of fitting in. Her father victoriously wins the battle, and they arrive at school. She is greeted by her principal, and shown throughout the school, where she is finally introduced to her new class. What the reader does not become privy to until the very last page, is that the girl, Sarah Jane Hartwell, is not a student on the first day of school, but a teacher.
This was always a welcome story for the students to hear - that their teacher also had apprehensions about the first day of school. Who would her teacher neighbors be? Would her students greet her with a smile, or a frown? Would her principal let her buy Cokes out of the vending machine? Would the lunchroom have something yummy to eat? Would she get a bathroom break? (The answer to the last one, always no. Always no on the first day of school. There are no bathroom breaks on the first day of school - and typically the second, third, fourth, or fifth either.)
Change is always scary.
As much as I wanted to get married, I had dreamed of getting married, I had practiced walking down the sidewalk in my mama's veil as a curly haired, freckle faced, little girl.
I loved me some Brian Bell, that's for sure!
But, getting married was scary.
I had never lived with a boy!

Then, after being married, we decided we wanted our family of two to become a family of three.
And as much as we wanted a baby, we had dreamed of a baby, we had uttered baby names while brushing our teeth, eyed layettes and john-johns while browsing our favorite downtown shops, envisioned rocking and patting and cuddling a wee little body to ours.
But, adding a baby to a fairy tale love story was scary.

Not nearly so drastic as getting married, or having a baby, we experienced a change this week.
But, if I'm being honest,
it's not just the big changes that are scary, sometimes even the smallest changes cause the most angst.

Baker began a new preschool on Tuesday.

There were First Day Jitters, for sure.
But, there were smiles, and giggles, and yes, there were even bathroom breaks, many in fact!

We got home yesterday evening, and Baker was positively giddy!
He sat in my lap and "talked" for a solid 20 minutes.
Everytime I tried to transition,
he said more.
I could imagine he was telling me about his new teachers, and how he got to take a ride in the Bye-Bye Buggy, and how he smiled real big for his picture on the door, and how he got to sit in this really cool high chair, and how he made all these new friends, and how, even his therapist, Mrs. Deborah, came to see him at his new school. He talked and he talked, and he laughed, and he grinned, and then he conked out!

Shortly after Baker fell asleep, my phone rang.
I didn't answer, as I was savoring holding my sleeping baby.
But, as soon as the chime signaling a voicemail sounded, I listened.
I listened to the message of his sweet teacher that I may forever save.

She told me of my boy, and how much she already loved him.
And how his smile brightened the whole room.
And how the other teachers came from around the school to meet her Baker Boy.
And how the other children in his class played peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake and sang "Wheels on the Bus" with him.
And then she told me she couldn't wait to see him again.

This morning, when I walked him in, his eyes lit up,
those little chunky legs started pumping,
and he started talking and grinning,
and while it still hurt me to leave him, it hurt a little less knowing he was so happy.

And while change is scary, change can be very, very good.


  1. glad to hear he's doing so well! How nice of the teacher to call! Hey, guess what? I just gave your blog an award!

  2. I needed this today! Thank you!