My girlfriend helped Giovanni get ready for school yesterday.
Even Rex walked him to the door to say goodbye.
He had his backpack and his pillow.
He chilled on the way to school looking at Carys' sticker book.
We got to school. He was excited.
I walked him to the door.
He has the same teacher that Anderson had four years ago. Her name is Janette and we love her.
When he got to the door he asked to have his backpack put on. It was so heavy that he couldn't take a step forward and started falling backwards. Janette then took it off his back and walked him inside.
He went in with no trouble.
My girlfriend and I sat outside the room (just as all the parents were asked to do during the shortened two hour class) and Giovanni did okay for about thirty minutes. Then we heard him begin to ask for us.
After a little bit longer they came out and asked one of us to come in. Not to hold his hand and do everything with him but to stay in a hidden corner that he could come around and see us from time to time when he needed to.
My girlfriend went first. He did okay. Then he wanted to see me.
I went in and sat in the corner. He did fine for a little bit. He played in the ball pit. Then he just lost it. He started crying uncontrollably. Janette decided to call it a day with about thirty minutes left in class and after it was evident that nothing, except leaving, would make him happy. She then told me what we would try today to help him with the transition. She is a really good teacher.
Not the best first day but a good first step.
We talked later about why this was so difficult for Giovanni. Our other kids have never had a first day like that before but our other kids had never dealt with what Giovanni was dealing with.
For the first two and a half years of his life, Giovanni has been either with me or my girlfriend. We've taken an occasional one or two day trip but he always had his brothers or sisters around when we left so he was good.
When Anderson was born we had a friend (more like a mom really) that we paid to help us take care of our house. She was, literally, Anderson's Brasilian grandmother. From the first day of his life she was with Anderson. She came to our house four days a week, and she speaks no English so Anderson's days were filled with English and Portuguese. There were times when no one was home with Anderson except Vera (our mom/grandmother). Anderson calls her grandma. We all love her and she is family. Unfortunately, after the fall of the dollar and the rise of inflation, etc. we were no longer able to afford to have this kind of help. Sadly we had to let her go. So Giovanni hasn't been blessed with a daily Brasilian grandmother or had the luxury of hearing daily, hourly Portuguese. He has only heard, mainly, English his entire life. He's constantly around Brasilians, but a few hours at a time is no comparison to eight hours a day.
We also talked about how, in his mind, he must have thought he was going where his brothers and sisters were going. When he got to the door of the school he looked at my girlfriend and said, "Mano? (a Brasilian word for brother which he calls Anderson) Carys? Garrett?" He goes with me a lot to take his brothers and sisters to school. He knows they get out of the car together and they go to school. Giovanni's school is right next door to his brothers and sister's school. We actually parked on their street. So he got out of the car and wanted to go in their school. We had to explain that he was in a different school but we think he was fully expecting to see them when he walked in the door.
It makes sense then that his crying time probably had more to do with mental tiredness than anything else.
For all the stuff that was messing with his brain yesterday we think he did just fine. We are praying that he will want to go back today and that every day will be better.
He had a tough first day but, like any little kid, he quickly forgot about it and was happy when we got back to the car and was able to check out Carys' sticker book again.
And by the time we got home he was completely konked.
Tough but good first day.
But just to give you an idea of the state of mind we were in immediately after we left class yesterday my wife shot a video. He had stopped crying, almost immediately, when we left the class but the tough first day was still evident by his answers to all her questions.