Avery has done amazingly well, once again showing me that she is far more resilient and capable than Mama Bear sometimes wants to believe. Sure, we have the crying fits or the overly excitable screeches in the evenings, but that is all normal for any almost-5-year-old going through such a big change. By and large, Avery has risen to the challenge and absolutely blown us away with her success. She loves her teacher, loves the reward system, retains so much of what she's learned each day, and has made friends with most of the girls in her class. At the end of every night, she shared her highs and lows with us and they really accurately summed up what we heard from her all week:
High: "Being at school! All of it!"
Low: "Being away from Kate"
High: "Coming home and seeing Mommy across the street at the walker area." (Mommy: "That was my high, too, baby! I love seeing you at the end of the day." Avery: "Mommy, is that why your voice always sounds so funny when you hug me?" ...Funny enough, I was just wondering how many days would have to pass before I stopped crying at the sight of that beautiful girl.)
Low: "Daddy being away at band practice"
High: "Coming home and playing with Kate"
Low: "Going to school. Because, I mean, it's okay. It's just not the best."
High: "Coming home and being with Mommy "
Low: "We didn't get to do anything in PE today. We just sat and waited."
High: "Coming home and being with Mommy" (I think she figured out that this gets a favorable response)
Low: "Dismissal. It just takes so long to get there."
In addition, there were some anecdotal notes from the rest of the week:
*Avery, telling me about lunch on the first day of school: "We don't even have to wait for everyone and we don't have to pray! We just get to eat when we sit down!"
*The first day of school, her class filled a bag with items to help them remember what is important in Kindergarten. In the bag: a Kleenex to remind them to help friends who are sad, a sticker to remind them to stick together, a cotton ball to remind them to use soft words, and my favorite, an eraser to remind them that we all make mistakes but that together they can erase them away.
*When we passed Stanley (her school) on Saturday: "Look! Even the teachers aren't there today!"
*On Tuesday, she began asking, "But when do I NOT go to school?"
*I pulled her hair back into it's usual style one morning and noticed that when I picked her up, she had taken the pony tail part out and was only wearing her bow. When I asked her about it, she skirted the issue ("Um, the pony tail holder just popped." "Well, it just sort of came out.") I assured her she wasn't in trouble and I was just curious, and finally it came out that no one in her class wears their hair like that. They all wear just bows or headbands, so she had to fix her hair once I was through with her. Isn't it something that I am already the uncool mom that Avery has to clean up after before she can hang with her pals... ;)
*And then Kate, who lost her best friend and had not yet started her weekly routines: On Monday after drop off, we made it about half way down the hall when Kate realized what had just happened. She threw herself onto the floor in tears because we were leaving Avery behind. Luckily, being the queen bee and a bit of retail therapy with Nana's exclusive attention helped *some*, although she also had to cry and be comforted when we got in the car and forgot her new water bottle (that matches Avery's). It seemed at first to Kate that Avery was on an incredible adventure with big, important things like water bottles, and she was left behind. The week got better and she's adjusting well to holding down the fort while Sister is away.
*And me. I think my sister expressed for me what I've been trying to pinpoint all week. This new phase of life makes me miss Avery with an ache all day long. It's actually very good for us, because I am able to appreciate the time we have together and make the most of it, but it is a new feeling for me. And, as Amanda put it, I think it is largely because, "I wanted to be with her today showing her that it's okay to do new things and guiding her through the transition. It was strange to walk away and make her face all that newness by herself when I'm mama, the one who makes it better."
Stanley Elementary, brace yourself for a year with the McClintons! Avery is going to rock it!