It was Owlet’s first day of kindergarten today, and she was first out of bed in the morning.
Well, kind of. Actually, Platypup was technically first up — at dawn he crept into the room where his visiting Granny was sleeping and rather startled her, but she snuggled him back to sleep.
Owlet usually comes into our bed for morning cuddles, but today she headed straight out to the living room, perhaps assuming that because Platypup’s bed was empty he must already be there. I was already awake, dozing a little but mostly plotting and fretting and hoping, so I followed a moment later and found her curling up under a blanket on the couch, a sweet dozy little bundle of a girl. I joined her for awhile, both of us soaking in the nourishment of the mother-daughter bond on a monumentous (slightly scary) day.
Thor appeared soon after, pancake batter in his wake. I kept Owlet company while she dressed. To battle her nerves she chose a couple special objects to bring with her — a small stone and a blue feather — which I filled for her with all the love and security and groundedness I could muster.
Once breakfast hit the table, kindergarten apprehension was mired in a pool of maple syrup and the cheerful clatter of five busy forks. It emerged soon afterward, however, in waves of worry that were met each time by a reassuring adult but never entirely quelled. We might not have made it out of the house without difficulty if not for Platypup. When it was almost time to leave, Platypup flopped on Granny’s bed with a slightly melodramatic air. He said he was sad Owlet was going without him. “I’m gonna cwy,” he announced over and over, flopping around and beginning to tear up.
Owlet came to him almost at once, murmuring the reassuring words of a born nurturer and stroking his back and head, looking intently into his eyes and giving him sweet hugs. (This is the point where my own eyes started to fill.) After a few false starts, more touching goodbyes, and a last-minute geranium blossom to join the stone and feather, she, Thor, and I were off!
Concern for her little brother carried Owlet as far as the car, but once we were underway she grew quiet and pensive again. We parked, played a little shadow tag on the short walk to lighten the mood, and entered the school.
Thor and I stayed for the first 45 minutes or so by teacher invitation — it is a small K through 6th grade class, and everyone seemed to understand without being told that Owlet would need a little time to warm up. After some initial introductions, the class headed to the library to pick out a couple of books for the week. Reading always invigorates our little bookworm, and though she didn’t like me saying Thor and I would be leaving after library time, the joy of new books mitigated her discomfort somewhat.
We returned to the classroom, books in hand, watched as the teacher cleverly paired older students with younger ones and explained the next activity (something about verbs), and then we said our quick goodbyes. I peeked at Owlet as we crossed the threshold. To my surprise, she was already looking at the teacher rather than us, which I took to be a very good sign.
We returned home to a Platypup thoroughly revived by the thought of adventures with Granny all day. Between errands and teaching, the hours passed, and before long Thor and I were basking in the glow of an entirely changed Owlet, who bubbled with stories under the kind eye of a teacher she clearly adored as she brandished her handiwork:
The top photo shows the Little Dipper and several constellations Owlet made up and gave letter names to. (Generous soul that she is, she brought home a couple marshmallows to share with Granny and Platypup.) The artwork at the bottom involved pencil, salt, and watercolor; there is apparently a starfish in pale purple in the middle.
One day does not a school year make, of course, but I’d say we are off to a beautiful start!