With Annika starting kindergarten there have been a lot of adjustments and learning curves around here, for both her and for me. It's amazing all the little things you need to figure out, as the parent. For instance, how do drop-offs and pick-ups work? Annika's teacher requires the parents (or whomever is picking up the child) to come to the classroom door to pick up the kid, so that makes it a bit easier for me (I don't have to make any decisions about that). But what about drop-offs? The kids aren't allowed into the school until the bell rings at 8:47, so do I stay and wait until Annika goes in, or just drop her off and trust that she gets inside safely? On days that we walk to school it's not too much of an issue, but when I need to drive her (and I will have to drive her 3 days a week, just to get to our other morning commitments in time), it becomes a little more complicated. Parents aren't allowed in the school parking lot, and are only allowed to park on the street in front of the school for a few minutes (just to stop and drop). So if I want to wait with her until the bell rings, I need to park down a side street, and then walk her (and Emmett) into the school yard. Not too bad now (we did it this morning), but I can see it being a bit of a pain when we get to snowsuits, etc. And at some point you need to let go, right?
On the first day of school, I walked her right to where her class was lining up by the door and went inside with her (not into her classroom, just to the doorway). The second day I walked her to the line but didn't go inside. Yesterday and today I said goodbye at the school yard fence (pretty much where I would drop her off from the car, if I just stopped on the street in front of the school) and said good bye to her there, and let her walk the 20 or so steps to her line by herself (but stayed and watched until she went in). I asked her today how she felt about it (there are still quite a few parents "hovering" near the line, but there are also many kids there that don't have a parent watching and waiting) and she said she was okay with it, so I think she would manage okay if I just dropped her off at the street. But would I be okay with it? Yes, it would be more convenient, but it just doesn't feel quite right to leave my baby unattended.... (there's a crossing guard at the street, but I'm not sure about playground monitors - I haven't seen any around Annika's door). So, when is the right time to let go? Am I rushing things, or not?
I'd love to hear some of your experiences with this (specifically sending your first child to kindergarten - I know it will get easier with the second child. And preferably reasonably current stories - I know things were different "back in the day", but this is the time we're living in now). Please leave me a comment here, or on Facebook. Thanks!