After a tough Kindergarten year for my son Lucas, filled with disciplinary notes (starting with the second day of school), a suspension, truckloads of frustration and tears (on both our parts), an ADHD diagnosis (finally!), and subsequent testing for the gifted program and realizing he’s freakishly smart in addition to being irritatingly distractible and hyper.. oh – and some learning, I guess – we get a fresh start! Yay!

I envisioned walking Lucas into his first grade classroom, helping him settle into his seat, and watching him eagerly dive into learning all the lessons that first grade has to offer.
But nothing with Lucas ever unfolds how I envision; and I know that’s why he’s my son. I’m supposed to learn from him. But that’s a whole other post.
First of all, he’s afraid of his new teacher. Last year whenever he was disrupting his kindergarten classroom – which was frequently – he was sent to time-out in this particular teacher’s classroom. “She’s a little too rough with her students,” he told me. (Jesus, I thought, does she push them around or something?)
Well, I did some investigating, and the fact of the matter is that this teacher has a stellar reputation and is universally known as the ‘tough but fair’ type, which is totally my favorite type of teacher. Those are the ones you remember, right? And upon the tedious extraction of more detail from Lucas (think pulling teeth from an un-sedated bear with no tools) I learned that he does indeed see her as a strict disciplinarian, and given his history of discipline problems, he was worried that she wouldn’t like him.
Nevertheless, I didn’t want Lucas to be anxious for his first day of school, so I took him to his new classroom the day before the start of school under the guise of bringing his supplies, in the hopes of running into his new teacher and chatting with her a bit so he would feel more at ease about the situation. I think it helped a little , but he was still nervous the next day.
A funny thing happens when Lucas gets nervous – he becomes uncharacteristically quiet and focused. Totally the opposite of his regular personality. Anyone else have a kid with ADHD? Does that happen with your kid too?
In the car on the way to school I tried to ease his anxiety by explaining how teachers who are perceived as ‘tough,’ are really the best teachers because they are the ones who care the most, and how she would probably put a lot of emphasis on reading, because when you know how to read, you can learn anything – all you need to do is pick up a book! (Or a laptop or tablet or whatever.) And I said something about how it’s good to read because if you want to go on the cool rides at Disney World you need to be able to read the safety signs. I have no idea why I said that. I am a moron.
And of course Lucas, being his persistently brainy (a.k.a. defiant) self, said quietly, “Yeah, but those signs have pictures on them, so you don’t really have to be able to read to understand what they’re saying.”
“Lucas,” I said, “Are you trying to tell me that you don’t need to learn to read because the signs at Disney World have pictures on them?
“Umm…. Yeah…?”
So I gave him a nagging, yelly lecture about how he’s being a smart-mouth and if he acts like that at school he’s going to get into trouble, and he needs to remember that even though he’s smart he still has a lot to learn, and there’s a difference between intelligence and wisdom, and he has one but not the other, yada yada yada… Isn’t that a great way to send your kid off to his first day of school? (I cringe as I write this.)
As Marisol (age 2) and I walked him to his classroom I hastily tried to turn the mood around to make up for my bitchiness (which was caused by my own anxiety on Lucas’ behalf), so that I could successfully live out my vision of settling him in and kissing him goodbye as a good mother ought. I squatted down by his desk so that I could be at face-level when I gave him my best ‘I love you so much I would die for you’ face.
But there was this kid standing there lifting his leg over the table and waving his shoe in my face screeching: “SEE MY NEW SHOES? SEE MY NEW SHOES? SEE MY NEW SHOES?” And after giving him several polite nods and an ‘mm-hmm’ for good measure, when he asked me for the thirtieth time if I had seen his new shoes I finally snapped, “YES! I SEE! EVERYONE HAS NEW SHOES!!” And then realizing that I sounded like a total lunatic, I added sweetly, “Isn’t it exciting to get new shoes to start a new school year?” Because nothing says ‘not crazy’ like snapping at some kid in a devil-voice and then spinning on a dime to smooth it over with a phony saccharine voice. I took a deep, cleansing breath and prayed that the kid’s father, who was standing directly behind me, wasn’t paying any more attention to me than he was to his obnoxious kid. Get off your freakin’ phone dude, your kid is ruining my moment.
In spite of new-shoe-boy, Lucas and I managed to squeeze out a quasi-meaningful good-bye (“Oh you’re leaving, mom? Muah.”) and after leaving the room, I turned for a last glance at Lucas as he sat at his desk chatting contentedly with the girl across from him, who he knew from his kindergarten class. He didn’t look up for me at all.
After all that anxiety about starting school again, he never even looked back. I picked up Marisol and asked her to give me a big hug, and realizing I was sad, she said, “I don’t want bubby to live at school either, mommy.” And of course, that made me want to cry, but I had to choke back the tears, lest everyone at my son’s school know what a basket-case I am. I think we can all agree it’s already pretty evident that I have some difficulty reining in the crazy.
Even though Lucas drove me nuts being home all summer, I immediately missed him terribly. So Marisol and I ran errands together as a distraction. But at the supermarket, I waved Lucas out of the car, only to remember he wasn’t there. When we returned home, I tried to ask Lucas to help bring in the groceries, but he wasn’t there. When we got inside the house, I went to tell Lucas to go upstairs and let the dog out of his crate, and remembered that’s my job now.
I car-pool with my neighbor and she’s in charge of pick-up, but I was too excited to see Lucas again that first day, so I texted my neighbor to tell her that I would pick him up myself this first day. I should have known better. First-day traffic was so horrendous that the car loop line was spilling out into traffic. Once I was safely in the parking lot, I sat in line waiting patiently, but aware that chaos was erupting around me.
To my left, a giant, shining white truck inched towards me, threatening a slow-speed T-bone. She wanted me to move so she could pull out of her parking spot, but I couldn’t move because there was someone both in front of and behind me. She inched forward a little more, her earth-killing behemoth of a truck trying to bully my Pilot into the impossible feat of driving sideways. I bugged my eyes out at her. “Are you insane???” my expression said. The person behind me saw what was happening and moved back, so I was able to move and let Captain Crazy pass, thank God. I think that chic was serious.
The bright side of that situation: I now have newfound reassurance of my mental stability. At least when speaking in relative terms… and didn’t Einstein say all things are relative?
And then, after I was able to pull up, swear on my life I am notmaking this shit up, some crazy mom wielding a cell-phone and a mini-van came careening around the corner and rear-ended me. Yes, I was rear-ended in the car-loop pick-up line on the first day of school.
Do people really get rear-ended in the car loop? Does this really happen??? Thank goodness no one was hurt, including my car. The lady who hit me probably has a dent from our trailer hitch though, and it would serve her right. I’m not sure though, since I couldn’t get out right away to inspect for damage because of the mayhem in the parking lot. With traffic spilling out into the intersection I figured I would only get killed if I tried to get out and do the whole ‘I need your insurance information’ spiel.   
Well, I was finally able to pick up Lucas. When I asked him how his day went, he said ‘GRRRRREAT!’ – like Tony the Tiger, because that’s how we talk around here. Cue giant sigh of relief…
Just, now, Lucas arrived home from his fourth day – another good day. So far every day has been a good day. But he’s forgotten two lunchboxes at school, because that’s the kind of stuff brainy kids with ADHD do, like, on a regular basis, and now I’ll have to send him with a sack-lunch tomorrow.
But I don’t care. I don’t know what changed from last year to this year to make things better. I don’t know if it’s the teacher (by the way, he’s not afraid of her anymore), or him being older and more mature, or something else that I haven’t even considered. I don’t care; I’m not looking this gift horse in the mouth. I will just pray that it doesn’t drop dead.

It’s been a good start… and it was totally worth getting rear-ended.

Do you have a crazy or heart-warming story about your kid’s first day of school?

Lucas’ first homework assignment. Please see No. 8 for evidence of how we say ‘great.’


  1. I swear sometimes I think we are long lost sisters… Your Lucas is exactly like my Boy Wonder only Boy Wonder is a new 3rd grader this year. Seems the whole gifted and ADHD thing goes hand in hand.Thank you for reminding me I am not as crazy as I feel (or sound) sometimes. 😉 Hope that gift horse keeps ’em coming for you.

  2. I love this post more than I can say. It reminds me of my sons first day of school all those years ago, and me as I venture out into the world with all the lunatics..

    Have a great day!!!!

  3. We’re so much alike – OMG! This is hysterical and so me. I loved so many lines, but this in particular: “But nothing with Lucas ever unfolds how I envision; and I know that’s why he’s my son. I’m supposed to learn from him.” That’s me and my Ava – exactly! Congrats on a good start for Lucas – happy! And BTW, my car’s side mirror was knocked off by another mom (her car, silly) in the car loop last year. I guess crazy shit is our thing?!

    • WHAT!!! The ONLY way I was able to hold it together was knowing that my trailer hitch had jabbed her front bumper. If she had ripped off my window… I would have REALLY embarrassed myself. We would have had to change school districts!

  4. I love this post, because it reminds me so much of me at that age. Yes kids forget things (especially kids with ADHD) but I can promise as he gets older Lucas will find things that entertain him and interest him enough that he will pay attention and some days he’ll be completly loony. Sorry just my personal experience lol Im glad I found this blog I look forward to more.

    • Thanks for the encouragement. There are days when I REALLY need it! Lucas already has a couple obsessions (fighter jets and weather) that can keep him entranced for HOURS… it’s just the ‘boring’ school assignments we gotta figure out how to approach. 🙂

  5. “Because nothing says ‘not crazy’ like snapping at some kid in a devil-voice and then spinning on a dime to smooth it over with a phony saccharine voice. I took a deep, cleansing breath and prayed that the kid’s father, who was standing directly behind me, wasn’t paying any more attention to me than he was to his obnoxious kid. Get off your freakin’ phone dude, your kid is ruining my moment.”

    This made me laugh out loud! Twice. ; )

    Don’t feel too bad about Lucas’s kindergarten year, or at least don’t feel alone. At the end of my daughter’s year in Pre-K, her teacher, who had taught for over 20 years and from whom I’d received multiple phone calls and had various conferences, told me that my daughter had made her a better teacher. I’m pretty sure that was the most back-handed compliment I’ve ever received.

    Heartwarming first day story? We’ve had some great ones but this year, after moving to a new state, my daughter was so nervous/unhappy/anxious about starting a new school for sixth grade. Her first statement to us when we picked her up, “My new school is awesome!” I can’t remember ever feeling that much relief!

    • Aww, that’s so sweet about your daughter! Good for her!

      Yeah, back-handed compliments… I’m all-too-familiar with those! Between Lucas’s ADHD and the gifted designation…we’re going to have a very ‘interesting’ journey together! 🙂

  6. I loved this post! It brought back so many memories for me… of 1st grade, of my kids, of my own crazy anxiety-riddled behavior, of having to give myself a time-out from class parties b/c i became psycho mom!
    so glad your boy had a great day!