Tonight we packed his backpack for Kindergarten.
"Mom, we have work to do. We have a project, Mom. Mom, when are we going to pack for my Kindergarten? Mom!"
This was serious business.
I wasn't too sure exactly what needs to go into a Kindergarten backpack, considering I'll be leaving another bag of spare clothing in his cubby at school and I'll be dropping classroom supplies off at Open House this week. So what then goes into a Kindergarten backpack? What does a 5 year old need to get through a busy school day?
My son had all kinds of ideas. So many adorable ideas that I needed to document them here. Here, as part of the process, the transition leading to Kindergarten. We hit another piece of this milestone tonight, packing his backpack, just me and him on the floor in his bedroom, really contemplating what he would need for his big day.
He showed me what he had already put into his backpack:
- Crayons, a pen and some pencils in a small pocket, along with a light rocket from his large pirate ship, "In case it's dark there, Mom."
- Three separate sets of key chains so he knows it's HIS backpack. Including a coin holder that has pennies and dimes in it, along with a tiny figurine puppy dog, "Because I'll want to take care of him while I'm at Kindergarten, Mom."
- Three baseball hats. Three. Count them. A bright fluorescent orange hunting color one that he's worn on hikes in the woods with his Dad in the fall deer hunting season so he is easily recognizable, "In case we go on hikes in the woods." A John Deere tractor green one, "Because we might go for walks sometimes." He had a Superman one, but decided that one should stay home so it "doesn't get dirty."
- A ruler, some small scraps of paper "to write notes to everyone," and some more pencils. A pencil sharpener.
- A folder with one sheet of white paper in it. A small Ninja Turtles notebook with lined paper. This, I imagine he will write me letters in someday, telling me how great school is. This is how big all of this makes him seem right now to this Mama.
- Some other notepad and trinkets "To show my new friends." New friends... yes... this is what it's about.
I tossed in a sweatshirt in the back of his bag. He then searched around his closet for some shirts to add to the pile. We should always be prepared, right?
We made the backpack part of this transition a fun one by letting him pick out some cool keychains for his bag, so he'd be able to recognize which one was his. He chose a hunter green colored LL Bean boot at the store when we visited. It reminds him of his Papa's lobstering boots, so he wants to have fishing boots on his backpack so he knows it's his.
I love this.
It was a small, simple thing we did, but it helped him feel great about going to school.
And then before his backpack was zipped up, he asked me if he should find some things to keep the bad guys away. I asked why. He said, "Well, just in case they come to school, too. I should have some tools to keep them away." I told him he wouldn't need those at his school, he'd be safe there. "They'll keep me safe?" he asked, putting down his Ninja Turtle tools. "Yes, baby, you'll be safe. Your teachers will keep you safe. No bad guys."
My super hero, always thinking about how to save the day.
I'm a counselor, so of course I read into things a bit too much... but this, this small conversation between packing his backpack and laying next to him in bed while we read another chapter in his Charlotte's Web book... on the evening before his last day of preschool tomorrow, two nights before his first day of Kindergarten... well, it means something to me. I'm listening. He's talking. We're working through our fears, insecurities, worries, nerves, and questions about Kindergarten World, together.
It's random questions like if we should bring a boomerang to school just in case the bad guys come and we need to be a real Superman or Captain America guy out there that make me realize we're going to be OK, we're going to be more than OK really, we'll be AWESOME in Kindergarten. Even me. The one who's not going to Kindergarten but who will be on the sidelines looking in, hoping he's doing great and cheering him on.
It's going to be great. He'll be safe and he'll keep asking questions. He'll keep growing... and that's a great thing. Nothing to be sad over. I'll keep telling myself that, and we'll be GREAT.
Backpack packed. Check!
Next up: taking first day of school pictures, attending the parent breakfast, and letting my little man walk into his new classroom with his new teacher and his totally adorable (and large) backpack, solo, on his own journey ahead.
We can do this.