We started training for the event a couple of weeks ago so we'd know just how long it would take us to get there. Lila's been doing really well riding the "afterburner", but she's looking forward to the day she can ride her own bike. (I shudder to think how early we'd have to get up for that ride!) Our ride is 1 mile long and it took us about 18 minutes on the first day.
Nerves & getting used to the new bike accounted for a longer commute time on the first day. By the end of the week, we'd cut our time down by about 5 minutes. Not bad.
Lila was all ready to start school, and was actually quite pissed off once it finally sunk in that she wasn't starting Kindergarten. Jake, on the other hand, would have preferred to go back to Infinite Bounds. He'd been acting strangely in the weeks leading up to the big day. Quiet, irritable, sassy, mean...things that Jake usually isn't. I knew he was a little sad to be leaving his friends at IB, but it wasn't until he nearly lost his breakfast that I realized how nervous he actually was about the whole thing.
But he put on his best fake smile, and walked into the Kindergarten Pod. "The Pod". Who decided to call it "The Pod"? Sending my boy into The Pod sounds just a little scary...like I'm sending him into a shuttle craft that's waiting to whisk my kid away to the mother ship where aliens will poke and prod him, suck his brains out, reprogram him and return him to me as some kind of inter-galactic weapon. The Pod. Couldn't they just call it The Hall or The Wing? Seriously? The Pod?
They put a big red K over the door. I guess that's supposed to make us parents feel better about abandoning our kiddos at the doors to The Pod. Parents aren't allowed in The Pod. They say dropping your kids off at the doors promotes independence and a sense of empowerment, but I know they just don't want us to see all the extraterrestrial goings-on beyond those doors.
I did manage to sneak in and take a peek. There was pretty, not-so-little Ms. Lyttle...and Jake, still looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
Then it was off to the cafeteria for Good Morning Anderson! GMA takes place every Monday & Friday.
The kids file in and find a place to sit on the floor. They go over the school motto: Believe, Achieve, Succeed! They state their attendance goal: On time, every day, every day, on time! They pledge allegiance to the US Flag - yes, we can still do that here in Lone Star State, and yes, the 'one nation under God' part is still in there. Then they pledge allegiance to the Texas flag: "I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible". Those sneaky Texans - you might be able to get prayer out of the schools, but you ain't gonna get God outta Texas public schools! And speaking of prayer, since it's only acceptable to pray before rodeos & football games these days, GMA observes a moment of silence instead.
They also sing songs, recognize birthdays, celebrate the Firecrackers of the Week (more about that some other time.) It really is quite a production, and pretty overwhelming at first. When I spotted Jake, he looked pretty comfortable and relaxed. Once it's over, everyone is dismissed to their classes and the day begins.
The day begins at 7:45, the day ends at 3:00. A long day for a little kid if you ask me. But Jake did just fine. School is dismissed in stages. The first kids released are those going on to after-care programs. Then the "car riders" are release. Then the "walkers/bike riders" emerge from The Pod. Jake was the doorman on the first day, and seemed pleased with that status. The kids all line up and sit down on the grass just outside the pod doors. When they see their parent/guardian, they raise their hand to let the teachers know, they they're released. Fortunately, the process doesn't take too long. It was 107 degrees at release time on the first day of school. That's hot even for us Texans. As soon as we were released, we headed to the pool with a bunch of friends for a little after-school swim party. It was so hot, even the pool water wasn't all that refreshing. But it was fun hanging out with friends and rinsing off the stress of the first day.
The rest of the week went very smoothly. We rode our bikes every day except Wednesday (it was raining). Jake's learning the names of his classmates and making friends. And if you ask him what the best part of the week was, he'd probably tell you playing on the playground and finding two silly bands on the floor in the hall. Infinite Bounds is a tough act to follow, but I think he's settling in pretty well.