’tis a playing-day

Nugget's first day of school today. I stayed an hour trying to leave without crying (him--not me), eventually gave up and left to the sound of him screaming bloody murder. They called me 20 minutes later and I feared the worst but they were only calling to say he was fine.

They seem to really stress independence at his new school, either it's a Montessori thing or the teachers are lazy. I like it, but I'm worried about Nugget getting up to speed. For all my talk about stressing independent thinking, I guess I enable him a bit with things like cleaning up after himself. On the other hand, he appears to be the youngest kid at the school by quite a bit. The oldest is 5 and 3/4, as she solemnly told me, and seems very old indeed.

I am incredibly impressed by the kids, they were all so kind and polite. One asked Nugget if he could give him a hug, and when Nugget just turned his face away the kid gave him a kiss instead. So cute. The kids were asking whether Nugget talks yet and why he is so shy, but I guess he opened up a bit after I left. Funny how that works. He was never going to relax and enjoy it as long as I was there.

Last night I was as nervous as if it was my first day at a new school. Which I guess it is in a way. When I expressed surprise about that to Trent, he said of course, and he felt the same way when Nugget first started at his old school in Chicago. But for Trent there was guilt about taking Nugget to school, and I don't share that at all. I am quite comfortable that Nugget is better off going to a nice school with nice kids where they will teach him to be a good Communist and all that, instead of staying home in isolation with me and my amateur attempts at early childhood education, interspersed with ignoring him to sneak in some emails or cook dinner or whatever.

Mostly what I felt as I drove away was worry, because he was still so scared and upset when I left. It occurred to me that I never really experienced this at his old school because I didn't really ever do dropoff until he'd already been there a long time and I could feel confident that he would settle in and enjoy his day at school even if he cried when I left. It's the privilege of the working parent to be shielded from that sort of thing. But fortunately the new school called to tell me that he was making friends, so I need have no qualms on his account. Besides which I have the reassuring thought that he settled in just fine at his old school, and he will find his place again. For myself, it feels weird to be without him, a little empty and sad and scary. But also very freeing.

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