Thursday, September 25, 2014

First Day of School

I'm a month behind but it's time to share Riker's first days of school as a kindergartner at Chippewa Elementary.

 First day of school. Riker and his cousin Gavin wait for the bus together.

The boys pause momentarily for a photo before climbing up that big step!


Riker got on the bus easily enough that first morning but it was all downhill from there. He came home saying he didn't want to go back to school and he didn't want to ride the bus again. We urged him to keep going but for a week and a half he cried and displayed unprecedented anxiety about being away from me and going to the big school.

As you can imagine, this was agony for us having had extensive deliberations about which school to send him to and if it would be too much for him having just endured the huge transition of moving overseas. We nearly pulled him out after three days of sheer torture and emotional turmoil for all of us.

The school psychologist and school counselor were terrific and spent lots of time talking with me on the phone about our transition and all Riker has gone through with moving overseas, changing schools and not having our own home yet. They seemed to grasp the enormity of the upheaval in his life, perhaps even better than we can as we're busy coping, processing and planning ourselves.

Fortunately, his cousin Gavin has been so wonderful in taking his hand and walking him to class and even checking in on him during the day. How sweet is that?

Then, after about two weeks, something changed. He started to come home saying one or two positive things about his day. We started hearing names of other children he'd enjoyed playing with that day. And the "I don't want to go to school" remarks slowly dwindled. By the second weekend, Riker was asking if he could go to school on Saturday.

We're not entirely sure what changed his perceptions or if it was just a matter of gradual familiarity leading to comfort and confidence. Whatever it was, I'm immensely grateful that we've come out on the other side of a very challenging few weeks!


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