The last few weeks leading up to the start of school this fall were nerve wrecking for Thing 2. She was starting Kindergarten at a bigger school and she alternated between extremely excited and extremely nervous. About everything! What were the big kids like? Would she have a lot of homework? Should she take her lunch or eat hot lunch? Is the food good or gross? There were more questions, but those are the ones that I remember. She peppered her older sister, Thing 1 – a second grader, with questions. Here were her answers: 4th and 5th graders are mean; TONS!; sometimes take lunch and sometimes buy lunch – check the menu the night before; and some good and some gross. I don’t think this helped. As you can see, Thing 1 doesn’t believe in sugar-coating things, not to mention that I don’t think that she was completely accurate.
About two or three days before the first day of school, Thing 2 had reached a breaking point. The poor thing sat on the side of her bed and cried because she was scared. Scared of making a mistake like going to the wrong classroom. Or, slipping and falling in the lunch room in front of everyone. Or, not being able to read as well as everyone else in her class.
“What if someone makes fun of me?” she said.
“Why would they make fun of you?” I asked.
” I don’t know. Just because.”
I hated to see her cry. I wanted to tell her that she never had to go to school and could stay home with me. Forever. However, that wouldn’t help her at all. So, what I did tell her is that, although sometimes kids can say mean things, there was absolutely no reason for her to believe that she was going to be made fun of. “After all,” I said “you are perfectly you.” She paused and blew her nose.
“What happens if I don’t go to school?”
“Then that new backpack and lunch box go to waste.”
“And all of your friends from preschool will start school and you will miss out on all of the fun.”
“And you have been waiting to go to school with Sissy again for so long and she will still be going without you.”
Finally, I put her on my lap and said “Sweetheart, it’s okay to be scared. I get scared all of the time.”
“Absolutely, I get afraid of embarrassing myself or not being good at something or not being able to live up to my own or other’s expectations.”
“Are you afraid of falling down in front of other people?”
“Then what do you do?”
“Well, see…being scared is okay. It’s working through your fear that makes you brave.”
“So, you work through it?”
“I try to.”
…………….silence…………..more silence………….still, more silence………
“I want to be brave, too Mommy.”
“So, you’ll try going to kindergarten?”
FYI, it’s been two and a half months and she hasn’t fallen down in front of anyone yet.
*This post is a mash-up of Day 6: Failure & Day 7: Success, written in response to the blog prompt on 28 Days of Celebrating Thanks over at Champagne to Crayons. If you would like to read blog posts from the other bloggers you can click here.