While the boys were meeting their teachers and getting acquainted with schools and rules, the girls had a very different sort of day.
First we went to the YMCA, where I did my geriatric routine, AKA rode the stationary bike for an hour. I listened to all the conference talks and watched all the videos for my next Young Women lesson, and then the hour was finally over and my hip rejoiced.
Then the girls watched Bambi while I showered and got ready and cleaned up breakfast and checked my email.
Then Kate burned her finger on the stove while the mac-n-cheese was boiling because I sat down to work on my blog. Fail.
Then the girls cried through lunch. Kate's cry: "MY FINGER HURTS!" Lexi's cry: "I HATE THIS LUNCH AND IT REPRESENTS ALL THE INJUSTICE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD SO I AM GOING TO SCREAM!"
Then Kate took a nap and Lexi colored.
Then I made chocolate chip cookies because it was the first day of school, and that is our tradition. Because I was multitasking cookie making with kitchen cleaning and dishwasher unloading, I forgot I was halving the recipe, so I added three eggs instead of 1.5. Despite my attempts to fix the problem, the cookies turned out more like cake. Blech.
Kate woke up crying about her finger after 45 minutes of sleep. We sat on the couch together for the next 45 minutes.
Then it was time to get Zach. I went really early to beat the traffic. Sadly, my strategy failed and I got stuck in a ridiculous place and it took 15 minutes to reach my son, who didn't know where to look for me. Score one for the parents who failed to arrange a meeting place. When I finally reached Zach, the elementary release bell was just 10 minutes away, and we were about three miles from the school.
We parked a block away from the school, since every mother and her dog intended to pick up her kids in person on the first day of school and the streets were packed. Then Zach, Lexi, Kate, and I booked it across the campus and landed in front of the kindergarten door just as it opened. Phew. Gavin was thrilled; he'd had a great day. Tyler arrived a couple of minutes later. I turned to introduce him to Miss Stevens, since Tyler will be picking up Gavin most days. When I turned back to the kids, Zach, Gavin, and Lexi had vanished into the crowd.
Tyler and I, with Kate on my hip (my stroller was in Garry's trunk), looked and looked for them. People were everywhere. Eventually we decided to head back to the van in hopes that Zach had directed the kids there. No such luck. I was getting sick. Where were they?
I drove the van to a spot across the street from the school. I jumped out of the driver's seat when I saw Zach and Lexi running down the path from the playground. No Gavin. I darted across the street and was nearly hit by a car (my bad) and the crossing guard yelled at me. I yelled back that my child was missing, and she backed off. Zach didn't know where Gavin was; he'd been without him for several minutes. A lady who overheard our frantic conversation said there was a boy across the street who was crying. So we ran over there, and it was Gavin.
He was sitting with a lady whose kid was in Gavin's class, and a lady I didn't know was there, too. He was crying his angry cry, with a pouty face and arms crossed firmly across his chest. The lady I didn't know had a lecture in her pocket that popped out as I crossed the street. How could I neglect my child on the first day of school? What business did he have being alone on the street? Did I know he could have been hit by a car? Thanks for the mother-of-the-year speech. I already have it memorized.
I was just glad to see Gavin's face. The lady I did know said, "Just so you know, Gavin said he doesn't like it when everyone hurts him. He ran away so his brother wouldn't punch him again." Nice. Strangers don't know the way Gavin exaggerates, and that he is not an abused child.
Apparently Gavin ran away the minute I turned my back on the kindergarten playground. Zach attempted to redirect/restrain him, but Gavin broke free and took off. Zach chased him but eventually lost him in the crowd. He was just as panicked as I was when we met in the parking lot.
Gavin continued his angry tirade on the drive home and for about 10 minutes after we got home. Eventually he calmed down, told his side of the story, and agreed to have some cookies and milk. And then he played happily outside all afternoon.
I signed papers and listened to first-day recaps from the older boys. It seems that all three had a great day at school. It also seems that I need a better pick-up-from-school strategy. Here's hoping Day Two is a little more mellow, both during and after the school day.