Smelly Socks: Musings on the first day of Kindergarten

By Anita Spisak
Oct. 18, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.

Adam and his mom.

Adam and his mom.

City Life

A few weeks ago, Adam started afternoon kindergarten. He had been in pre-school, but this was a whole new world. This was new kids, new teachers and a new start.

The whole family had different reactions. Here are just a few reactions (some real and some maybe not so real) from the folks in my house.

Mama: My baby's first day of kindergarten. Will he be emotional? Will he be nervous? Will he have a good time and make friends? All these thoughts were mulling in my head on his first day. I had prepared myself for a week and gotten everything together: a backpack (nothing gimmicky, just a cool black and grey one that lights up when it moves), new shoes, new shirt, school supplies and a snack. We were outside 20 minutes early, me with camera in hand, because we (I) wanted to make sure he didn't miss the bus. Well, it turns out the bus arrived 10 minutes late. My stomach was knotty, and I kept glancing at my watch, but Adam was too busy running around the driveway kicking a soccer ball to his dad and Charlie to even notice the time. Apparently, he couldn't wait to get on the bus. Once he bounded up the stairs of the bus, he turned around briefly so I could snap a picture on the steps and then got on a seat and didn't even look back. I started crying right after the bus pulled away. At least I held it together until he couldn't see me anymore. You always wonder: Will your child be OK on the big bus? Why aren't there seat belts? Can the bus driver really watch all of those kids? My mind started to wander to not-so-good places, but I bucked it up and told myself that he'll be all right. It's a rite of passage to take the bus and be a kindergartener. And of course, 2.5 hours later, there I was 20 minutes early waiting out front for the bus to bring him home.

Papa: (As imagined by Mama.) My little boy is starting his first day of real school, and I'm so proud of him. What a beautiful day to be outside waiting for the bus and playing catch and soccer with my boys in the middle of the day. It's days like this that I'm grateful I can work from home. I'm sure he'll do well and have lots of friends like I did. I'm glad I'll be here when he comes home so that he can tell me all about his first day. I couldn't be more happy and excited for him.

Charlie: Yay! Now I get all of the attention. (Well, at least for 2.5 hours.)

Linus: (Our 7-year-old black Lab): Hmm, which one of the two little people that live in this house just left? I was too busy snapping at bugs and sunning myself in the backyard to notice that one of them had even left.

Lucy: (Our 18-month-old yellow Lab): Anybody wanna play? Anybody? Hmm, or maybe I'd like some of that coffee cake that's sitting on the kitchen table .

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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