A major component of the shift I was just talking about is that DS2 is now in kindergarden. All day, because the school no longer offers half-day kindergarden, and because he was ready for it, and because there was no way I was sending him to a different school than his brother and sister.
The idea of my baby (how he would protest if he heard me call him that!) away at school all day has tormented me. Yes, he has been at school before and never had trouble -- but those were 3-hour school days. Yes, he has been away from me for more than 3 hours, but then he always had his brother and sister with him.
That first day of school was quite literally the longest time he had ever spent away from his family, since the day he was born.
His most particular, and to me potentially problematic, quirk is his unwillingness to deal with large numbers of people, where "large" means any number greater than 6. His typical response depends on the constraints of the situation. If he can withdraw, either to a quiet corner or from the room completely, that's always his first option. If he's forced to stay, he almost always crawls into my lap. If that's not an option, he creates his own private play zone with his always-in-the-pocket Legos. His first instinct is to disengage, so I wondered how it would go for him in a classroom full of 28 kids when disengagement is not possible.
So far, it has been fine. I didn't talk to him at all about his shyness, but I did mention it briefly to his teacher. On the very first morning, when all the kids were quite wide-eyed with that deer-in-the-headlights expression of terror, I gave him this one reassurance:See, this is your table, your team. You don't have to know everyone all at once, you can get to know your team first. He relaxed immediately, if not completely -- it's much easier to deal with a team of 5 or 6 than an entire class. I know also that if I were there, his reaction to it all would be very different. He's quite a competent little boy when he knows he has to be, when it is expected of him.
I like this age, this milestone. DS2 talks to me about his day, remembering different things at different times. I heard about things like his "excellent lunch" and "running around like lunatics" at PE. This is the time when I finally get to uncover more of his personality, just in the way he presents things to me, and what things he chooses to report. I have to relinquish the idea of knowing where he has been and what he has been doing all day; I'll never have that knowledge again, and I don't need it. He tells me what I need to know, and we discover his abilities together. It's funny that I've had him at home with me for more than five years, but I finally feel like I'm getting to know him now.
Now, there's more to know.