There was a moment yesterday when Cameron was crying on the school yard because he got separated from his friends and didn't know how to make his way back to the classroom. A friendly yard supervisor found him, I gather, took him where he needed to go, and all was well.
"Grade 1 wasn't good - it was GREAT!" he said at the end of his first day, unaware of the Frosted Flakes reference. (Cameron's a big fan of this particular superlative sentence construction, applying it liberally to everything from favourite foods to playdates.)
By day's end the lunch-hour tears were forgotten. Old daycare chums were rediscovered at his new after-school program. He was proud of himself, relaying with wide eyes the rules of recess ("'Grade 1-ers' on the climbers in the morning, 'Grade 2-ers' in the afternoon!"). It was too early for any concerns about printing sheets or dictée or learning to read. And he was charmed by his new lot.
Today it's me that feels daunted by Grade school and all that it entails. I'm exhausted by the weekend's push toward back-to-school - on this site and at home - and wondering how it can be just Wednesday of a short week. There's a sheaf of forms to be filled out. There are indoor shoes to acquire. There's another uneaten ham-and-cheese sandwich in the lunch bag. And when there was a frustrating mix-up about whether Cameron was being picked up by his caregiver or going to "adventure club," it became imbued with all that working-parent anxiety about whether we're meeting everyone's needs. About whether it's possible to manage everything. And whether anyone notices our efforts.
I guess it's all of us who have adjustments to make. Who wonder if our friends are going to be in our class. Who struggle to get the hang of where we're supposed to go next. And who need, just every once in a while, to have someone say, "Nice work, kid."
Don't miss these developments on the education beat:Africentric school makes history