Time and the First Day of 1st Grade


It is constant, ticking away each second, forming each minute, adding into each hour, then day. On and on until weeks, months, and years pass.

Time also is a master magician, casting illusions over our lives—speeding up some moments and dragging out others.

Birthdays took forever as a child, the length between each one taking years, not just 365 days.

Waiting rooms are an alternate dimension where time gets lost on the way to the next minute.

My first pregnancy took at least three years, not the nine months and four days the calendar claims.

Yet, my son was just a baby last month. My daughter last week, though they are two-and-a-half years apart.

The Tackler & Lil Diva at one month old

So Lil Diva wasn’t the happiest about her 1 month brick measurement…

He just started kindergarten yesterday.

August 27th, 2012 - First day of kindergarten

How could this have been a year ago?

So how could today be the first day of 1st grade?

August 26th, 2013

One year. An inch in height, half a foot in hair, and two teeth lost and gained.

How could this angel…

She left the bow in her hair for a record 2.6 seconds....

She left the bow in her hair for a record 2.6 seconds….

….be drama queen turning four in less than three weeks?


Last year, I dreaded my son starting school. I was worried about him, his behavior, and the school stamping out the creative parts of him I love.

Guilt swamped me for the tiny bit of joy surrounding me. The thought of having more Me Time after years of giving it away.

Kindergarten was… interesting. There were problems. Most of what he learned was conformity and bad behavior, though his reading (which he’d just started to do prior) did improve drastically.

The math learning almost nonexistent.

He complained of being bored.

He’d arrive at home each day and run to his paper and markers, the need to draw and download everything trapped in his head during the day overwhelming.

He did not want to go back to school. Ever.

I talked with the principal about these issues over summer.

We wanted to put him into private school, one geared toward kids like him. One not forced to dance to No Child Left Behind, and letting the teachers have freedom. The problem is cost… and some lingering behavior issues.

It left public school as our only option.

But this year… I have hope.

I really like his first grade teacher.

She has the potential to engage him, to challenge him, if the school districts rules and requirements don’t handicap her.

Time will tell if she succeeds.

As a student, I know how the school is only the location. It is the teacher that truly has the power to transform school into something amazing.

And she… could be amazing.

My son had grown in the last year. In size. In hair length. In maturity—though he still has a long way to go.

Biking to school on the first day.

The Tackler takes off for his first day of 1st grade, with Daddy running beside him.

A part of me needed him gone last year, the constant battles between us, with his sister, a constant drain on my sanity.

He had a few camps this summer, but the last finished in mid-July. Since then, he has been at home with me every day, many with his sister as well.

July 2013

The Children’s Museum was a favorite excursion of ours this summer.

This summer I enjoyed spending time with him. I loved listening to my children play together, getting along for greater lengths of time than ever before.

I watched his brain spin with ideas, switch to pencils for drawing, and how Dave Pilkey (author of the Captain Underpants series) inspired him to create his own comics.

The joy (and curse) of Captain Underpants

Dave Pilkey is the master at speaking to a six-year-old boy’s sense of humor, much to my joy… and dismay.

Time is moving too fast again.

And original comic by my six-year old

Inspired by perhaps the world’s worst role models, Harold and George from Captain Underpants, my son has written about six comic books this summer. They borrow story-telling devices heavily from Captain Underpants (resulting in discussions about the fine line of plagiarism), but the characters are his own creations. He has spent hours writing them. This is part of his first book.

I want to freeze my children as they are.

Summer relaxing

I baby-sat for my dear friend last week, and found myself enjoying almost every minute. The kids are old enough they play together well, entertain each other, and the battle-breaking-up is almost nonexistent.

Two years ago? Not so much.

Don’t let the smiles fool you. Two years ago, their happy moments together typically expired within five minutes, resulting in cries and screams and time-outs.

But I love our chaos.

I love the snuggles.

I can see the drama of Lil Diva increasing with her age and I want my smiling innocent angel back, the one who loves all and can befriend a child in seconds.

Boys, girls, she is an equal opportunity befriender.

An impromptu play date emerged when Lil Diva befriended a little boy on his first day at her preschool and they were inseparable.
One month later, there is drama and she claims she doesn’t want him at her birthday because “he doesn’t want to play with me.”

I want to protect her from the mean girls. I want to make sure she doesn’t become one herself.

I want my son to have time to create, without busywork draining his time (which shouldn’t be a problem, at least this year).

I want them as they are right now. Forever.

A fun rock hunting excursion

A rare July rain lead to wading in a local creek (that had previously been dry) and I introduced the kids to rock collecting–a huge hit.

The least Time could do is channel my childhood or a doctor’s waiting room and slow the frak down.


Last year and now.

How has a year passed?

Was there ever an age you wanted to freeze for your kids? Or yourself?

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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3 Responses to Time and the First Day of 1st Grade

  1. I am constantly telling / asking my 5 year old not to get any older (or heavier!). She just smiles and says, ‘but daddy I can’t stop growing’. We had actually had a good week last week with her first day of school. But yea, I would love to freeze her at 5 or 4. And so I wonder, where have these same years gone for me? Great post Ms. Chaos!

  2. kvshaw says:

    Kelly, I really enjoyed reading this post about your kids. They’re growing up fast, and I hope that your son enjoyed school more this year. It’s so hard to make decisions and figure out what they need, isn’t it? And every year could be different. Thanks for this post!

  3. startraci says:

    I’m going through the same thing right now. My little one had hr first day of first grade yesterday. And we are hoping that 4th will b better for my older one than 3rd was. The STAAR tests really hurt his self-confidence.
    Good wishes for them all.

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