Wednesday was a big day in our household: the twins officially became elementary school students and went to their first day of kindergarten.
Ty is off to Sherwood Elementary, which is literally around the corner from our house and is a mainstream school; while Stone is going to Chase Lake Community School, which is about a mile from our home and hosts special developmental kindergarten (or DK as they call it).
Renee took the boys to their schools and classes. I considered going as well but Renee and I agreed that if I was there the potential for separation anxiety might be stronger for Stone. So I stayed put, simply helping with their morning routine and breakfast. Ty had mixed feelings leading up to kindergarten. Most days he was excited about it there were a few occasions when he expressed apprehension and concern about the new school and environment. We assured him the experience would be very similar to what he’s been used to the past two years in preschool.
And once today arrived and he had to actually go to school, he was fine. Renee reported there was one minor crying episode but it was quickly contained thanks to the help of other parents and the teacher. Renee confessed that she cried more (once she was out of Ty’s range).
Stone, of course, had no such concerns about kindergarten, as far as we could tell. Orientation night was a little rough for Stone as I had to drop him off in one of the classrooms for childcare while all parents assembled for an address by the principal and other school officials. Before the program started, we found out that Stone was very upset and crying uncontrollably – he was looking for me and didn’t know where I was. Fortunately, our au pair Hany was with us so she helped bring him to our car to hang out and relax, so that Renee and I could participate in the rest of the meeting.
So this is one reason why we weren’t quite sure how Stone would react to his first day at kindergarten. But he surprised us by being a total trooper and having no incidents before or during school (although Renee again cried as she dropped him off).
So how do I feel about this milestone? Excited. Nervous. Hopeful. Bittersweet.
I’m excited for both boys of course, but I’m especially excited for Ty. He has been craving friends, playmates and peers to play and interact with on a consistent basis, and I know that he will finally have this through kindergarten. He also has such a tremendous thirst for knowledge and learning that I know he’s going to enjoy school tremendously. It’s going to be amazing to watch his development grow in the years to come.
I’m a little nervous for Stone, even though I know he’ll be fine in his special class. Like nearly all parents of special needs students, I desperately want Stone to progress so that when the time comes to mainstream him into another school, the transition will be as smooth as possible. So the nervousness isn’t so much about kindergarten, but what possibly lies ahead for him.
But that also leads to the hopeful feelings I have. We are continuing to see progress with Stone in many areas and that continues to give us hope that his development will continue. He is in some wonderful therapy programs and we really like his kindergarten teacher, so I’m very hopeful all of this will work together to help Stone man continue to learn and develop. I’ll be writing a separate blog post that is focused specially on Stone, his progress and the various programs (and supplements) we’re using to help him.
And the bittersweet feelings? Well I think those are normal too. This is officially the end of the preschool era and it seems as if the twins have raced through each stage so quickly: babies, toddlers, little boys and now simply school boys.
We now have the pictures and videos to remember this special day but I know that the true special memories have only just begun.
David Kaufer is a fun-loving Super Dad of 5-year-old twin sons, an insane Oregon Ducks fanatic (follow him on Twitter @DavidKaufer), advocate for green/sustainability and autism issues, and connoisseur of Northwest microbrews. He and his wife Renee moved to Edmonds in 2005 to raise their family (and enjoy the gorgeous views).