First day of 1st grade

I know that I promised a melodramatic mom post for Tuesday, but this week has just been insane, so I’m a little late!

Abby’s first week of 1st grade has been fabulous!

Tuesday morning, I pulled myself out of bed at 5:45 a.m. and 15 minutes later groaned to myself as I went to wake up Abby. Last year’s mornings were typically met with “but I’m tye-erd” – and you know the voice I’m talking about, at least if you’re a mom! I expected some of the same. I walked in and cheerfully said, “Good morning!”

All ready to go!

Abby jolted out of bed, said “good morning,” clambered down the ladder of her bunk bed and ran, yes ran, to the bathroom. She was dressed, teeth brushed and ready to go by 6:15 a.m. I brushed her hair and we went down stairs so I could cook breakfast.

We (Abby, my 7-month-old niece whom I babysit and I) walked out the door at 6:45 a.m. to head to the bus stop. Kindergarten is not mandatory in Pennsylvania. Because of that, the school district will not pay for kindergarten students to take the school bus. For those who don’t know, last year I used to take by daughter by train and bus to school every day. I traveled about an hour there, an hour back home, an hour to pick her up and another hour home again. Yes, I spent four hours on public transportation just to take my daughter to school every day. What’s worse, SEPTA charges full price for any child five-years-old or older. So not only did I need a bus pass for myself, I needed one for Abby as well. It cost me $166/month for Abby’s free public education!

But I digress; the kindergarten not being mandatory thing is a post for another day.

Waiting . . .

This is Abby’s first year taking the school bus and I wanted to make sure we arrived early. The bus was scheduled to pick up at 7:07 a.m. and we arrived at 6:50 a.m. I knew the intersection, but not the exact corner. I saw a boy with a backpack on and asked if he was going to FACTs and sure enough! Well we waited . . . and waited . . . and waited.

and still waiting.

Another boy came to the bus stop by this time. His mom was waiting in the car to make sure the bus showed up. Obviously, she had done this before. At 20 after 7, the boys hopped in her car. She said she’d offer to take Abby and me, but she didn’t have a car seat. A quick call to Kessel at home solved that problem. He ran (ok, he didn’t run) to the bus stop, took the baby and Abby and I hopped in the car as well. Many, many thanks go to the mom!

So, Abby made it to school just fine.

And then there was the afternoon drop-off. The boys from the bus stop suggested I show up around 4:00 p.m. I thought that made sense. The bus company refused to give a drop-off time. (Oh, and apparently, they changed the pick-up time to 7:21 a.m.) I was standing at the bus stop, in the rain, at 3:45 p.m.

Home at last!

I waited . . . and I waited . . . and I waited. The awesome mom who drove us to school in the morning called me around 4:40 p.m. . . . you know, after I had already crossed the streets a dozen times hoping the bus I saw was Abby’s. Her son had called. Apparently, the bus was late picking them up and now the bus driver had no idea where he was. Fabulous! Well, at least I knew my baby was okay!

My umbrella was basically doing nothing at this point. I was drenched head to toe. Finally, Abby’s bus pulls up at 5:20 p.m. She happily screams, “MOMMY!!!” and runs to give me a hug. As we walked home, I asked how her day was and how she liked 1stgrade. Her response was, “I AB-SO-LUTELY LOVED IT!”

Walking home in the rain

So, bus issues aside, it was an awesome first day! Here’s a video of Abby talking about her first day of 1st grade:

Abby's second day of 1st grade, but her first day riding the school bus TO school!


16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tammy W. on September 10, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Wow, Dayle, you are an amazing mom! The transportation issues you’ve faced are ridiculous! I’m so glad she made it home safe & sound–& loving school! 😉 A love of learning is certainly nurtured in your home, & it’s bound to be contagious! (I realize that doesn’t always translate into a love for the school system or a particular classroom, though.)


    • Awww, thanks you Tammy!

      Some of the charter schools we applied to didn’t provide transportation at all, so I would have had to continue taking her to school by public transportation every day until she was old enough to go by herself (and being the overprotective mom that I am, probably would have been way longer than Abby would like). At least the school district would provide a school bus pass though 😛 . . . I was so excited that she was accepted to a school that provided transportation from 1st grade onward. I kept reminding myself that I only had to do it for a year!

      So far we’ve been really luck with school. I’m sure I will come across a teacher at some point that I’m not fond of . . . or that Abby’s not fond of and we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I’m also sure there will come a day when Abby doesn’t love school anymore . . . So I’m just going to enjoy every second of this while I can!


  2. Thanks Dayle for this. I love being able to share her day.


  3. OMG! Your daughter is so cute! 🙂
    I never really thought about kindergarten being mandatory or not…I’ve just always thought kids either started at preschool or in kindergarten. At any rate, I think the school buses SHOULD offer bus rides for those who choose to go……
    Not sure what Texas rules are but I know the bus takes kindergartners on up to school and even some preschools have their own buses….
    I hope your bus situation is working more on time now and I hope you don’t get sick from being out in the rain! 😦

    OH….I saw your ferret peak his head up in the background of the video….hehe, he looks silly 🙂


    • ::Smile:: thank you!

      I just looked up the kindergarten thing — this is definitely going to become a blog post at some point!

      Kindergarten is only mandatory in 14 state (Texas is not one of them).

      The schools that provide bus transportation for preschool and kindergarten – are they public or private? Private and parochial schools are different since parents pay a tuition. If they do provide transportation for public school kids, kudos to Texas!

      No sickness here! The bus is definitely becoming more consistent. I refuse to label a “normal” time yet . . . I’m going to give it another week or so 🙂

      Haha! I didn’t even notice that Charlie was peeking out! I’ve been working on a Charlie video for YouTube. He is definitely silly!


      • Wow, you taught me something new!
        Admittedly, since I don’t have any kids, I am just going by what I think here…..but I’m pretty sure the public schools DO pick up kindergartners…I’ll try to ask some friends with young kids.
        Charlie makes me laugh when I saw him peek out and all I could say about your daughter was AWWW! 🙂


  4. Abby is so cute! i loved the video. 🙂 It was nice to hear your voice, you know, so I can put a voice with the face. 🙂 Maybe the bus situation will get better as the year goes on. 🙂


    • Aw, thank you 🙂

      I totally hate my voice 😛 I had to transcribe a phone interview I conducted the other day. I cringed through the whole thing!

      The bus has actually already gotten way better. The morning pick ups are pretty much equalled out to around 7:15am and the pick ups are around 4:30pm. My biggest issue is what if the bus shows up early one day and I’m not there yet — that terrifies me. I’m actually considering getting my daughter a cell phone for emergencies. The good news is that there’s a corner store where her bus drops off, so she knows that if that ever happens, she’s to go wait in the store.


  5. Seriously, can she BE any cuter?

    And I’ll be waiting on that post about kindergarten not being required in PA. WHAT?!?! LOL


  6. Posted by Anne Katherine on September 18, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Here in Virginia kindergarten is mandatory, as far as I know, and they do start riding the school bus then. It is ridiculous that they don’t provide an option for transportation, though , if the kids decided to go. I mean, the bus is running a route, anyway, perhaps picking bigger kids up at the very same stop….ridiculous…esp. since your alternative was so costly.
    So glad she had such a great start… that sounds like a very long first day, though. And stressful. Sheesh….I do hope the communication with the bus people improves.


    • Virginia is one of the illustrious 14! I *think* the transportation issues are a Philly thing and not a PA thing. I didn’t take a school bus until I was in 3rd grade, but I think I remember riding the bus with some kindergarten kids. (I was living in the suburbs at the time.)

      With Philly, it might be because most kids go to their neighborhood schools and can usually walk. I don’t know really. But you’re right. There are two 8th graders that get picked up where my daughter gets picked up. They were on the bus last year too. I’m sure one extra lil body would have fit just fine!

      The bus times have definitely become more consistent. I’ve still been getting to the bus stop 30 minutes early just because I’m paranoid. But Abby got her first cell phone yesterday (for emergencies only), so that makes me feel much better! Heaven forbid the bus shows up early, she can wait in the corner store and call me.


  7. That is SOO frustrating about the bus mishaps, but I *absolutely loved* (using Abby’s words) how school went so well! It almost makes me want to go back to school again! =) I never did get a chance to ride the school bus (aside from field trips) because both my primary and secondary schools were within walking distance (only 2-10 minutes away from my house =P).


    • Thank you!! The bus has gotten MUCH better!

      I moved a lot as a kid. I didn’t ride a bus until 3rd grade because prior to that all of my schools (there were 3 of them) were within walking distance. 3rd through 9th grade, I took the school bus. 10th through 12th, I rode public transportation. When I was older, I was always jealous of the kids who lived right across the street from school 😛

      We’ve been considering moving downtown, which would be close to Abby’s school. But I totally intend to make sure we’re at least 1.2 miles from the school . . . because then the bus will still pick her up 😛


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