Back to School is…cool or drool?0

Posted by Deirdre // 10-04-2012


Back to school was a struggle for us. We were still adjusting to city life after August away (like still unpacking weeks later!), getting up and getting going early in the morning. Breakfast on time — instead of at 9 o’clock – making lunches, negotiating getting dressed – instead of reading a book – blah, blah, you know the deal. And leaving…all this, which is pretty much what August looked like for us. *sniff*




So that sucked.

And as far as school goes, we were sad that our older one didn’t get any of his besties in his class for second grade. He did have one buddy, a cute girl from first grade who he digs. But three of his good friends from last year were put in class together, plus his best friend from preschool, plus the kids of almost every parent I know and like who has a second grader – were all in this ONE CLASS. I am not shitting you. Our friends from across the street who have a sweet girl who Zach isn’t friends with but would be a familiar face. The son of a mom I reconnected with last spring who also has a brother Theo’s age. A friend of my husband’s, his little girl, whose brother Zach had for a (beloved) reading buddy last year. A kid from K who Zach got along with. I think there are more but it would take up the entire post. Suffice it to say, I became a little obsessed with the fact that our entire circle seemed like they were in this one class that of course was not Zach’s. And with so many second grade classes, it’s possible that you don’t know a big chunk of the kids in your class. Hmph.

Theo knew very few kids going into Kindergarten, none well. Plus Zach’s K teacher moved to another school, so there was no chance for that familiar place or face either. There were several siblings of Zach’s classmates who he could’ve gotten in class with, but with a whopping TEN Kindergarten classes, and because the world was against us this year, he naturally got none of them. He even got the teacher who had mixed reviews according to our sources.

Over the summer we had been a little worried the boys would get sick of each other during such a long time away, having to spend most of their days together. Yet they were like two peas in a pod, thick as thieves, besties. So we were sad to tear them apart from each other for school, especially for Theo’s sake. He so adores Zach (as most younger brothers do, I guess) and was just basking in the glow of all the attention he was getting from the guy.

We did what we could to prep them both for school without making it too big a deal. We came back the day before Labor Day to give them (and us!) enough time to get used to the city again. We bought some books about going to Kindergarten. We had Theo practice his letters so he could confidently write his name on the 1st day. We had one of our family friends, a 5th grader who had the same teacher for K, write Theo a note about how great his year was going to be.

Then it was time. And we were walking to school with the other 1400 plus kids. Going into the wrong entrance and having to double back around with Theo in tow, to take Zach to the trailer out back that would house his classroom for the school year. Back around, in the main door and up the stairs to Theo’s classroom where he knew NO ONE and nothing. Where we couldn’t even turn around because it was so packed with people, to look around the room and show him something that would make him a little bit happy or comfortable. And of course he lost it when it was time for us to go. How could he not? It was gut wrenching. And it hit us like a ton of bricks. Oh yeah, our kids go to Public School in New York City. A huge, honking public school with a trailer in the back because of over-crowding. And this is one of the most sought-after schools in Brooklyn, rightly so. STILL. As The Strokes would say, Is this it?

It was a very rough week or two for all of us. Theo cried every morning no matter what. Zach didn’t understand why Theo was so upset and felt a little helpless. I was barred (by my husband) from dropping off. We drank a lot of wine. A LOT.

Zach reading “How Dinosaurs Go To School” to Theo, who happens to have a Ninja sword tucked in the back of his shirt

Then the clouds started to part a bit. Turns out we did know a few people with kids in Zach’s class. A couple we had met and clicked with during a weekend away in Vermont years ago, who are randomly friends of friends of ours, has a son in Z’s class and happens to be a potential best buddy. Their younger boy is Theo’s age and we had an extended double playdate, complete with grown-up dinner, that was fun for all involved. Theo adores his teacher. And he has, through his love of all things Star Wars and basically anything weapon-related, made some best buddies himself. Drop-off is a piece of cake when he’s got the rest of his S.W.A.T. team with him. Am I thrilled that everything involves sabers or swords or blasters? No. But I will endure the shooting in order to keep the peace and make our way through the city, one battle at a time.




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