Well, we have been doing our new kindergarten thing for one week as of today. During the worst of my hand-wringing prior to sending Max off into the wild, my mother-in-law told me that she remembered it being very hard to let Ian go at first when he started kindergarten, but that she had been amazed by how quickly it became a natural and even enjoyable part of the day. And I think -- I think -- I am beginning to agree. The first couple of days, I missed Max horribly. I have been so used to being with Max and Maggie pretty much all of the time, to knowing what their indecipherable comments about their day meant because I was there to see what they saw. I felt tremendous sadness thinking about this big, important stretch of time in Max's day where what he did and how he felt about it were largely a mystery to me, and I counted down the seconds until it was time to go pick him up. But whatever he is doing at kindergarten (and I have only his opaque descriptions of his day to go on right now: "Well, we sit and there are books, but we don't read them, there are earphones sometimes, you know, Mom?"), he loves it. He is excited to go to school every day and he always has a giant smile when we go to pick him up. His entire body and spirit seem to have relaxed in some way, too. He is ready to assert his independence, and kindergarten gives him a way and a place to do that.
Maggie has actually struggled with the transition a little bit more than Max, a predictable turn of events that I completely failed to predict, somehow. Max has been the focus of a great deal of attention and a flurry of activity, and Maggie was kind of baffled (and by baffled, I mean enraged) as to why she was being left out of so many things and denied so many opportunities. Ian and I have made an effort to make the time that she is home with us by herself special for her, and she enjoys the sudden dominion over the TV, all the toys, and the choice places to sit in the house. After about an hour, though, she always starts missing Max and asking if it is time to go pick him up yet, and it has been a challenge once or twice to convince her that charging into the classroom to reclaim her brother is not a mission that she can or should undertake until the end of his school day. So we are juggling, like always, the various needs and wants and problems and hair bows and favorite shirts and Rube Goldberg machines, and trying to make sure that we are all taken care of. And I think, or at least I hope, that we are mostly succeeding. It always feels like a ball or two is about to pop out of the rotation and crash (if I may stretch the juggling metaphor to its breaking point), but so far nothing vital has broken.