Paolo's first morning at his new school wasn't as seamless as I'd hoped. To be fair, my expectations may have been a little high. I had visions of Mary Poppins in a billowy white apron tittering with joy at Paolo's entrance into the classroom, holding a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies in one hand, his best friend with the other, and leading the children in a chorus of greeting. A little much? The reality was Paolo was placed in a different room than the one we'd toured, his teacher hadn't arrived yet, and everything was pretty chaotic. It was the first day for a lot of kids from Paolo's old school, and it felt a bit like a refugee camp. The new kids stood around wide-eyed, clutching their belongings, while the teachers tried to figure out where to put them and what their names are.
Once Paolo's teacher arrived, the kids filed in and gathered on a big alphabet rug for a story. Paolo predictably perched on the P, and then picked a peck of pickled peppers. I sat next to him, rubbing his back, and fine-tuning my ocular laser beams at his teacher. I chose the pointed, hyper-critical stare-of-doom setting, which appeared to make her nervous. After the first book, she asked Paolo if he'd like to sit on her lap while she read, but he declined because he was content on his P and, come on, he don't know you like that. I tried to start a whispered conversation with Paolo to check on his feelings, but he was pretty focused on the story. So I contented myself with an internal dialogue about what a great parent I am for taking the time to settle him in and make sure he's comfortable. Just then, Paolo turned to me and said:
"Okay, so you're fine? You're good? You're going to do great, bud. Your friends are right next door, and you'll see them on the playground in a little while. It's going to be fun. If you need anything, you just..."
"Is that the door, Mama?"
"The door to the playground?"
"No, the door you're gonna open to go. Go. Away."
So, yeah, Paolo handled his first day like a champ, but I don't feel like I got in enough intimidation time. I think tomorrow morning I'll write FEAR on my right eyelid and ME on the left, and blink slowly during story time until Paolo kicks me out.