When the alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. and I walked into Alice's room, I could immediately tell that it was going to be a bad morning. Alice opened her eyes, sneered at me, and pulled the covers over her head.
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy," I sang cheerfully.
"Be quiet mommy!"
"Sweetheart, you need to get up or else you're going to be late for school," I said in my nicest tone.
"I don't want to go to school!"
I tried to cuddle with her but she pushed me away.
"You need to get up if you want to get to school on time," I said in a less nice tone.
She burst into tears, and said, "Why do you have to talk in such a mean voice?" And then she let me hold her as she sobbed.
I (not to mention Alice) was paying big time for the night before. We went to dinner with my parents and Alice got to bed too late. I quickly realized that the key to happiness at kindergarten is a consistent 7:30 p.m. bedtime.
Alice was fragile and teary throughout her morning routine--and nothing was going right. Her pleated uniform skirt was wrinkled; her toast tasted yucky; and her wavy hair was uncooperative when she went to put it in a ponytail. I don't think her teeth ever got brushed.
At 7:30 a.m., I walked her down to the car since my husband, Ryan, was driving her to school, and I gave her a big hug. She broke down again and for the very first time since her last day of preschool at the end of June she said, "I want to go back to Sweet Peas!"
I asked, "Why? Don't you like kindergarten?"
And then she told me that one of the girls in her class can do the rings on the playground. "All she wants to do is play on the rings," she said. "She doesn't play with me anymore and I can't do the rings." I told her that I'd pick her up after school and we'd work on the rings--she looked relived. And then Alice hopped in the car with Ryan, and I began to worry that she would meltdown when he dropped her off.
Ryan called as soon as he got back in the car.
"How do it go? Was she OK?"
Ryan told me that he walked Alice up to the playground, where the entire school meets every morning. A group of the kindergarten girls were standing in a circle holding hands and playing "Ring Around The Rosie." Ryan worried that the girls might not let Paris into their circle. She's going to break down again, he was thinking. But then one of the girls let go of the hand next to her and she said, "Let's make room for Alice."