Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Case of the Wemberlies

I have so many things I want to talk about swirling around in my head, but today, the swirliest of them all is that my kids started a new school!!!

Really! Just! Started! As in twenty minutes prior to the composition of this blog post.

It's something I never had to do as a child. I didn't know the before-the-first-day anxiety spent worrying about how to find the lunchroom and whether anyone would talk to me.

Will the teacher be nice? Should I take chorus or band or strings? What if my hair looks wrong? What if the food in my lunch isn't what other people are eating (too healthy, not healthy enough)? What if I wear flip flops and we start the school year off with gym class?

All throughout the too-long Labor Day weekend the kids were enacting their own version of Wemberly Worries, a favorite childhood book by Kevin Henkes that gently pokes fun of the childhood genius for worry.

The funny (or not so funny) thing about all this free-floating anxiety, is it's contagious. Like the flu, but worse because there's no proven inoculation.

As I was leaving the school after drop-off this morning to the sounds of the Pledge of Allegiance being recited over the intercom it a) made me realize how far we are from Portland and b) touched off my own bout of the Wemberly Worries.

What if the kids stand up when they aren't supposed to, or what if they don't stand and someone has to remind them?

What if they spill something on their clothes and their day is ruined? What if the dress code doesn't allow earrings? Was I bad mom to tell her they looked adorable? What if squeezing in at the last moment before the bell rang gets them off to a bad start? What if I go to the wrong flag pole to pick them up? What if they hate the new school and decide to take me up on my flippant offer to homeschool?

Truly, there's no vaccine against the worries.

But there is coffee. And there is writing. And there is the knowledge that this week, all across the country other kids and parents are joining in with their own, not so variant theme, on the Wemberly Worries. In the book version, everything turns out fine. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that, in this case, life will imitate fiction.

28 comments:

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

We had our first day yesterday. I had my own set of worries, too. My daughter found out at stop and drop that she would be desk buddies with the one and only girl I've ever seen her not get along with ever. (Last year she told my daughter that girls with very dark hair aren't allowed in her club. And it was downhill from there.) What bad luck! But, of course, it was fine. She found other old friends in the class and all went well.
I hope your kids have a great first day! It seems getting new kids is always fun at that age and hopefully there will be gads of kids excited to welcome them. :)

Beylit said...

I only had to do the new school thing once when I was a kid and was fairly certain it would be awful. I was totally wrong. I made a new friend within minutes of arriving and found out while it was a little awkward most kids didn't care where I came from or that I was new, or thought it was pretty cool.

I hope your kids had a great first day.

Pk Hrezo said...

I never had to move and start a new school either, but you know what, I always wish I had. Your kids will be stronger, more adventuresome beings for it, able to take whatever life throws them and know they'll be ok. And wow we moms never stop worrying, do we?? About everything. And I have a hunch that never changes. Just means we're good moms.
Awesome pic of your scholarly duo!!

Joanne Noragon said...

Betcha tonight you'll learn it was pretty awesome.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Your kids look so happy and lovely in the picture! It's normal to worry about them, especially when they start a new school; that's a big deal for kids. But once they get used to their classes and start participating in after-school activities, they'll make new friends and be fine.

ilima said...

There is no vaccine against the worries. So true. Good thing we having writing and caffeine to ease the pain. I'm sure they're going to be fine! And mama too. Also, I love Kevin Henkes. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Just remember that 95% of what we worry about never comes to pass. We just have to figure out which ones fall into that 5%. LOL!

Morgan said...

Oh gosh, the worries never stop. I'm terrified sending my kids off... but I just try to shut it out and focus on things I can control, LOL. Loved the post, Johanna. Very entertaining and true! Loved the line: There is writing. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Curious, isn't it? I don't remember having any of those kinds of fears when I was a kid, but I have a coworker who threw up before school every day.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Wonderful post. I love that book. I used to read it to my first grade students. We still have a few more days, but worries are running rampant here, too.

Marjorie DeLuca said...

It's a traumatic time! I remember it well. But it's also a time of great excitement for the kids. I saw that year after year as a teacher.

M Pax said...

I hope their day goes off flawless and that their worries are proven unfounded.

Cherie Colyer said...

I haven't heard of this book (my kids are older) but I want to read Wemberly Worried just to know what happens. Great post. :)

Crystal Collier said...

Here's a brain silencer. You can thank me later. ;)

Hey, if all else fails, eat cheese and be happy. We can only change what we can change, and the rest goes down in that epic book of "life as it really is."

I hope school is awesomesauce!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I bet everything will turn out all right. The kids will come home with lots of fun stories to share. And then you can all stop worrying.

Nicki Elson said...

Oh, I hope by now you've gotten those worries kicked to the curb while listen all about your kids' great days at school. Or even if it wasn't such a great day, at least that first dreaded day is ovvvver. and either way, your kids are adorable.

Johanna Garth said...

Rachel, I feel you. Those small things somehow get crazily magnified.

Thanks Beylit! We had mixed reviews.

PK, That's exactly what I keep telling my daughter.

Joanne, hopefully each day will get easier.

NW, that's so sweet. I'm sure you're right.

Kevin Henkes just gets it!

Good advice Diane.

Morgan, that's me focusing on the good and shutting out the bad(ish).

Donna, I think it's just how some kids are wired.

Jenn, I think worries this time of year are like seasonal allergies.

Marjorie, so true and way to get me to focus on the positive piece which is education!

Mary, Thanks :)

Cherie, it's so good. All of Henkes books are.

Crystal, that's the line of lecture I keep giving them. This may or may not be hard, but you'll get through it.

Alex, there were ups and downs which is to be expected with a new school.

Nikki, thanks! Right now they're all over the map and I took pity on them with some bonus screen time!

Shell Flower said...

Awww. It's tough on everyone to start at a new school. In 4th and 7th grade I switched schools. At least I had my twin, but we were never in the same classes. There will definitely be an adjustment period, but things always work out. One friend is all it takes at the beginning.

Diana Wilder said...

You know, I suspect (you will know by the time you read this) that your kids went into the school, a little apprehensive - and had a ball. I moved...let me see...a lot of times. I had eleven new schools between Kindergarten and 10th grade. It worked out OK and I met nice people. (And my Mom, bless her!, worried about me...)

Diana at About Myself By Myself

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I hope it all went well! I was always nervous to go back and I never moved.And the anxiety I feel as a parent is more sickening than anything I personally felt.

Ella said...

I too hope all went well! We mothers do get this ongoing virus. It is my son who suffered the most moving, but you know what. He doesn't rattle easy and seems to be more at ease with people. There is a plus side to change-we learn to adjust, find a way, and get to meet new people and have a fresh start! Hang in there Mom! Enjoy your coffee and writing~

Michael Di Gesu said...

kids are so resilient,... try not to worry so much, Johanna...

As i've always said, you are a GREAT mother!

A Beer For The Shower said...

As someone who doesn't have kids, I can't even imagine what this is like. I already worry so much just about what I'm doing. I can't imagine how stressful it is worrying about kids too.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I realised recently that I worry more than my kids. We were buying school shoes and #1 son said "Yeah, they're shoes, they're fine", and I was panicking that they weren't the same style his friends were wearing. (I was definitely scarred by school-age trauma!)

I moved schools when I was eleven, but luckily another girl started a week later, so we became friends. I hope your kids liked their new school.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I hope yesterday ending happily. I'm guessing it did.

Be well and relatively worry free, Johanna.

xoRobyn

Caitlin said...

I hope that their (and your) first day went well!

jaybird said...

Thank God for coffee and writing! Don't know where I'd be without either of those things. I am a worrier by nature, but the start of school always brings up a whole new set for me. Especially this year, when my oldest is no longer at her safe little elementary school with only 120 kids in it, but a brand-new scary Regional Junior High School with over a 1,000! ARGH. I'm more frightened than she is. Kids, for the most part, seem to be much more resilient than we are. All will be well. You'll see! In the meanwhile, have a nice big cup of coffee and try to relax. (Which is much easier said than done)

Julie Flanders said...

I hope everything went well on the first day and the kids are settling in at the new school. I am a terrible worrier so I can sympathize, it's probably just as well I never had kids. Hope the week ahead is a good one for all of you. :)