August 2006, First Day of Pre-K3: The boy has his first ever day of school, full-day Pre-K for 3 year olds at the charter school near our home in DC. I drop him off and then spend several hours in a weepy pity party because my BABY is in SCHOOL and I'd expected to have another baby, or at least be pregnant, but I hadn't expected that I'd get smacked with secondary infertility. Pity party is interruped mid-day by a call from the school. My son fell off his cot at naptime, gashed open his lip and chin, and can be heard wailing in the background.
August 2007, First Day of Pre-K4, no, make that Kindergarten: He begins his day in the Pre-K4 classroom led by the teacher that I hadn't wanted for him, the teacher who had made some serious errors the year before when my friends' kids were in her class. He expresses mild disgust that the first scheduled activity is a coloring project. "Where are the journals?", he asks, expecting a more rigorously academic curriculum. Mid-day, he's removed from the Pre-K4 classroom and taken to a kindergarten classroom. Two days later, he's officially enrolled in the kindergarten class. (I frequently have to explain the circumstances now, to make it clear why he's now a 6 year old second grader. When he started Pre-K, DC had the rule that the child had to be the appropriate age by December 31. He missed the cutoff by less than two weeks, making him one of the oldest children in his Pre-K class. He started reading well during the year and was showing other signs of being academically gifted. His first Pre-K teacher recommended that he go directly to kindergarten, and since the age difference was so small and the chance of him being bored and acting up in Pre-K was so great, we agreed to skip him ahead.)
August 2008, First Day of First Grade: I sent him off on the bus for his first day at his new Florida school. That afternoon, I stood at the bus stop and waited for him. The bus arrived... but he wasn't on it. I raced back to the condo to grab my car keys, and as I walked in the door, my husband was answering a phone call from the school. They wanted to know why no one had picked him up. It seems that at some point in the day, he decided he didn't want to ride the bus home, he wanted to have us pick him up in the car. However, we did not get his psychic message, resulting in his being stranded at school on the first day.
August 2009, First Day of Second Grade: Yesterday was his first day of second grade, his first day at his new school, the stand-alone gifted school I spent most of the winter and spring obsessing over. I sent him off on the bus and then spent the rest of the day mildly anxious. What if he got lost on the campus? What if he didn't get along with the kids in his class? What if he cried, vomited, or had his eye pecked out by a hungry heron? This school means a lot to me, and could be his academic home for the next ten years -- it seemed crucial that his first day be a good one and create a good first impression on him.
He was smiling when he got off the bus. He gave the day a thumbs up, and when asked what was good about his day, replied "everything." He had lunch in the Student Union with a new friend (one who wore a Pokemon t-shirt, even) and got to go to the library, where he checked out the one book in the Captain Underpants series he'd never been able to find at the county library.
It was a good day. No question about it, it was the best first day of school he's every had.