Parenting

We had Kindergarten Orientation…and a Trip to the Emergency Room

Well, we had quite the eventful Friday.  Lil’ Man was a bit cross with me yesterday morning because he had to miss preschool in order to attend his kindergarten orientation.  I was repeatedly told, “I like my school and I just want to go there because I love it so much.” Despite his many protests, he (begrudgingly) hopped into the car and we headed off to his prospective school.

kinder orientation
Class of 2030!  Ugh, when did I get so old?!

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by many smiling faces and directed to a sign-in table.  As we entered the cafeteria, I asked him, “Well, what do you think?  This is where you will eat lunch with your new friends next year.  Are you excited now?”  Lil’ Man was still rather despondent at this point and all I got was a rather pointed “no.”

He sat in my lap, with a mopey look on his face, as we waited for the principal to introduce himself.  At this point I was starting to become apprehensive.  Was my child, the kid who told me to never again schedule a doctor’s appointment on a school day, not going to like kindergarten?  After introductions of the administrative and kindergarten staff, the children were rounded up and whisked away by the teachers to go see what kindergarten is all about.  I sat there with my fingers crossed hoping that everything would go okay for Lil’ Man.

kinder orientation2
This was not the “look” I was expecting.

I actually wish I could have gone with him.  I got to sit through an hour long presentation regarding the school’s policies and procedures.  I felt like I was back in a staff meeting. While I miss teaching, I couldn’t be happier that I no longer have to sit through meetings, thinking about all of the more productive things I could be doing (i.e., lesson planning, grading papers, etc.,).  Besides, my mind tends to wander when I am being “talked at”.

character creed
Yay for Character Development!

Luckily, Lil’ Man really enjoyed his time in the kindergarten classroom.  His attitude about kindergarten had completely changed when he returned.  He was excited about the prospect of having a new school, new teachers and even making new friends.  I must admit that while I am looking forward to him starting kindergarten, I am feeling what I imagine all parents feel when their child begins his formal education:  a sense of loss.  No longer will I have the freedom to whisk him off to the zoo or a museum spur of the moment.  No longer will I be the one in charge of his formative education.  I must now entrust that task to another and instead take on a support role.

While I feel a bit of sadness with this coming change, an end to era so to speak, I too am excited for both Lil’ Man and myself.  For Lil’ Man, I’m looking forward to all of the fun he will have in kindergarten as well as the opportunities he will have to be challenged in his learning. For me, I’m hoping to use my formal education in the classroom once again, but this time in the role of parent volunteer.  I won’t have to worry about getting up at 4 a.m. to grade papers or staying up until midnight to make sure all of my lessons are in order.  I can just enjoy supporting my son’s learning as well as that of his fellow classmates.

So with all those thoughts and emotions running through my head yesterday, Lil’ Man just had to add some extra “excitement” to the day.  We’ve gone two years without a trip to the emergency room.  Yes, we were frequent fliers during our time in Pittsburgh. Between Lil’ Man’s “no fear” approach to life and his tendency to walk into things (he once walked into the pediatrician’s desk right in front of him), we have had more than our fair share of head bumps.

I guess he decided he needed an awesome looking scar before he starts kindergarten. Maybe he felt he needs to look tough to make up for his small stature (he is only 37 inches tall).

I had sent him to go wash his hands for dinner and as I was prepping his plate, I heard it.  He didn’t even have to start crying.  I knew he had fallen off of his step stool.  I immediately scooped him up to comfort him and I hadn’t even noticed the enormous amounts of blood coming from his mouth.  As soon as I realized how badly he was injured, I grabbed an ice pack and a bunch of paper towels with one hand while holding him in the other (that is the plus side of having a small 4 year old).

He had hit the corner of his mouth.  I’m not a doctor, but even I knew he was going to need stitches.  The 25 minute drive up to the children’s hospital felt like an eternity.  On any other mundane evening, everyone here is driving well above the speed limit and swerving in and out of traffic.  Of course, when your frantically trying to get to the ER with your kid wailing in the backseat, everyone decides that they will drive under the speed limit and, as an added bonus, you will hit every light red.  I’m not one for cursing, but I muttered several “words” just under my breath during that drive.  By the time we reached the hospital I was still a frantic, panicky mess.  Lil’ Man, on the other hand, had fallen asleep from all the trauma.

Fortunately, we had a wonderful experience with this ER.  Lil’ Man was triaged within 10 minutes of our arrival and back in the ER by 20 minutes.  We did have to hang out in the hall for awhile since Lil’ Man’s injury was not nearly as severe as what some of the other patients were experiencing.  The nurse brought him a goody bag to keep him entertained and it was perfect.  The bag contained a small notebook with crayons.  Lil’ Man immediately went about his favorite activity:  drawing Pokemon.

The staff was wonderful.  They were able to numb his lip prior to stitching him up and he even received a medication to “relax” him.  I have to admit that I’m that parent that filmed my kid while he was as “high as a kite”.  We had some pretty interesting conversations up until the effects of the drug wore off.  Luckily, Lil’ Man only needed two stitches.  I am just grateful that his injury was minor and that he didn’t end up with something more serious like a concussion.

With spring break starting, I’m hoping we can put this crazy day behind us and relax a bit (when were not telling Lil’ Man to stop touching his stitches).  Hopefully we can stave off another visit to the ER for more than two years!  I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed!

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