Orientation- A Mom’s “First Day of School”
Excitement and nervousness filled the room as we enter our assigned classroom. After a quick introduction from the teacher, I was instructed to find my son’s labeled desk and for us (the adults) to plop ourselves onto the miniature children’s seats with tennis balls stuck to the bottom of them. Already uncomfortable, squirming in my seat, I attempted to fill out the large packet of paperwork. Name, Phone Number, Email, Emergency Contact Number, Repeat. I start to look around at the other parents sitting around the room. It was strangely quiet for the amount of people in the room. Nobody was making conversation or even introducing themselves! All you could hear was a soft, low murmur of voices.
As the kids left on their school tour with the teacher, our assistant teacher began to discuss the day to day of the classroom. While she was going over rest and nap time, and me sort of zoning out because I sure as crap know my son will do nothing of the sort during that time, I started scoping the room out. I couldn’t help but think, this room will most likely hold one of my son’s new best friends. So, parents, you know what that means, this room most likely holds the parent of that new best friend. So my son is probably going to pick a new friend for me. Isn’t that how it happens once they get in school? Out of all the kids in his class, he will find at least one child that he will want to have over to play. Well no parents is going to blindly send their sweet child over to someone’s house before meeting the parent. Introductions start, and we get to know each other, as we decide our feelings of trust and levels of comfort. Because, again, our child is the one that chose. Now, I consider myself pretty open to all different kinds of personalities, so I’m not sitting over here worrying who will be “our friend”, but I just feel curious about the pool “we” are picking from. These are just a few of the personalities I observed in Kindergarten Orientation.
The Expert– This mom has clearly done this before. She seems like she has two older ones in the school. She tended to answer questions before the assistant teacher could even respond. I started to wonder if maybe she is a teacher herself. She seemed extremely knowledgeable. When we were prompted to label our supplies at a certain station, she already had all of her items labeled. She offered me a tip to put all the pencils, highlighters, erasers etc into the pencil case that realized I forgot to bring. As I was rummaging through my bag of supplies, she shot me a look of “Bless your Heart” and continued to offer up tips to the other parents. Yep, you pegged me right lady. My meter tends to point toward “Hot Mess”.
The Room Mom- Yeah, she knew coming in that she wanted to gun for that position. I overheard her mentioning it to the teacher before we even opened our welcome packets. And moms like that make me happy that my son will have a room mom who is that enthusiastic! She seemed super motivated to get right in there and volunteer. I think I even signed up as the Reading and Math helper on Mondays and Wednesday in fear that she would see my paper and judge the lack of boxes checked.
The Jugglers– These parents had an older child, a toddler, and a baby, who was over this silly orientation the moment we started. I was pretty impressed with their teamwork as they took turns taking the baby out of the room while the other was ferociously taking notes, as the oldest child helped with the toddler. Nobody looked at all frazzled either. I would have been a sweaty mess, feeling judged myself. But they were like a machine! Family goals right there! Kudos to them!
The Purist– When the subject of birthday treats came up, we had a parent, right out of the gate, insist that nobody bring in junk because that is not allowed in her household. “I don’t care what any of you do in your own house, I just ask you to not bring in junk, because of our rules, my child won’t be able to have it and then he will be the outcast.” I could feel myself clenching up as I saw her going there and being so adamant about it. Look, I sort of agree that I would prefer my child not having cupcakes and donuts 20 times a year on top of holiday party food and reward treats they get in class. But maybe not this so early. Maybe in an email suggesting other ideas to the parents later or something. This did not go over well with a lot of parents. A women by me scoffed under her breath, “ugh, granola mom”. I saw many parents shaking their head and rolling their eyes. It was so uncomfortable. I made sure I went over to her after and introduced myself. I have some “granola” in me too. We could be friends, possibly, if we work on our delivery.
The Deer in Headlights– There was a couple there who I’m not even sure blinked the entire time we were there. No expression on their face and did not speak to anyone, not even each other. They didn’t have any other children with them, so most likely this was a first time school experience. First child “shock” of entering big kid school. I definitely felt like this the first Kindergarten meeting with my daughter. I was mentally spent that first week.
The Chatterbox– Oh wait, that one is me! When I feel uncomfortable, like how I said earlier when nobody was talking to each other, I tend to go on overdrive to make up for the lack of talking. It’s an annoying nervous habit. Like I’m trying to make the other person feel more comfortable or something. I chatted it up with the mom next to me. Before I knew it, the conversation escalated to discussing her divorce, custody agreements and even about dating after divorce. Not sure what on earth I even have to offer up on that subject. Just chatting away though! But, it was somewhere around when I heard myself saying, “you’ll meet someone when you least expect it” and “it sounds like you are on a journey to work on yourself right now”, that I knew I needed to just shut up! Seriously, who are you right now? And why are you talking so loud?
The Familiar Face– Sweet! Instant friend! My friend, who is a teacher, walked in midway and I was so happy to see her. Just like a kid, I was excited to see that my friend was in my class! She spotted me and waved with a warm smile. The relief that you know at least one person in there.
It’s crazy to think that these kids will potentially be together all the way through high school. We will be with their parents at school events, sporting events, dances and fundraisers. Kindergarten is just the start of it! I am looking forward to what the school year will bring with new friendships!
Orientation ended with the kids coming in from their tour and all the kids looked so much more comfortable and excited about their new school. That made the parents relax a bit too and noise levels started to rise, and I was able to zip it a little more. There were a few more introductions from other parents as we were heading out the door. We made it through Orientation. All of us!