Dear Jitter Glitter,
You are one of the neatest things I have come across lately. So neat--that I just have to share you with everyone!
Last week, we had our parent-teacher conference with Dear Son's kindergarten teacher. It was an exciting event; DS would get to see his teacher and classroom, and I would get to send off my baby to kindergarten (sniff, sniff) in the same room Dear Daughter had for kindergarten four years ago! As we trotted down the primary wing hallway, DS spotted a large cut-out picture of a squirrel a the entrance of his classroom.
"Is that Scaredy Squirrel?" asked DS.
"Why, yes, I think it is!" I answered, rather excitedly.
You see, we had just finished reading two Scaredy Squirrel books. DS participated in our local library's summer reading club, and he got to choose a free book. His selection was narrowed down to two books: one about severe storms, and the other, Scaredy Squirrel. He finally picked the weather book, but I offered to find and borrow the Scaredy Squirrel book so we can read it at home anyway. The librarian found us two of them! It turns out that this is a series written by Melanie Watt, a Canandian writer, who humorously tells about the many anxieties of Scaredy Squirrel and how he overcomes his fears and OCD tendencies in each of his 'problem areas'. The bottom line of these books is: baby steps. And boy, can I relate to that!
As soon as I saw that Scaredy Squirrel was going to the kindergarten theme, I was already feeling quite comforted that DS would start off the year with something familiar. As I've mentioned how DS usually takes awhile to get used to a new environment or new situation--familiarity is always a Good Friend.
We toured the classroom and then sat down for a quick chat. The teacher gave me DS' folder and went through the contents. One of the items she pointed out was a poem attached to a clear pouch of confetti with Scaredy Squirrel's picture on it. She called it 'Jitter Glitter'. Here is the poem:
The night before school is exciting and fun.
There are always so many things to be done.
Your clothes are ready, your backpack is too.
Your classroom is full of fun things you will do.
Lots of questions go through your mind,
All types of thoughts of every kind.
But sometimes we all get the jitters down deep.
And that makes it hard to fall fast asleep.
So I've made this Jitter Glitter for you,
Full of promises for the whole year through.
On Sunday night when you lay down you rhead,
Sprinkle the glitter under your pillow in bed.
The glitter will help you sleep through the night.
And wake up in the morning fresh and bright
I'll place the glitter under my pillow, too
Because I am so super excited to see you!
She explained to DS that he can read the poem and put the pouch of glitter under his pillow on Sunday night to help him with his First Day of School jitters. Wide eyed, he nodded at her, and took her words very seriously.
I couldn't help but think to myself how incredibly wonderful and thoughtful this little poem and beautifully-made confetti pouch are. If you have or have had a five-year-old, you would know how seriously they take to such symbolic items. And this goes so well with the Scaredy Squirrel theme--to tell children that it is normal to feel anxious about something all the while providing a means to help them feel less jittery about it. And that it's okay to take baby steps.
That very night, DS put his Jitter Glitter under his pillow. We discussed that on the real night-before-school, we will open the pouch and actually sprinkle the confetti under his pillow and maybe share some Jitter Glitter with the rest of us. We read the poem and he went to sleep--probably thinking about how that Jitter Glitter is going to work, which definitely put some wonder and anticipation into his special sleep that night.
"It worked!" DS proclaimed the next day. He was happy because he believed.
Every night since then, the would carefully examine his Jitter Glitter, and we would read the poem together, and he would fall asleep intently, and rather quickly, I'd say.
DS starts school on Monday. I tend to overestimate his comfort level--he was still apprehensive at his mini-kindergarten session--but he has come a long way in his separation anxiety journey. DD will be riding the school bus with him and be able to show him where to go upon arrival at school, and that will be sure to put me more at ease. We'll definitely put that Jitter Glitter to good use Sunday night. And, yes, Mommy is going to need some of it, too!
And if you have youngsters who might be a little jittery about the first day of school, or any other seemingly 'larger-than-life' events coming up, make your own Jitter Glitter and a poem to go with it!
So, Jitter Glitter, how marvelous you are and what a great honor it was to meet you! Now I think the world of DS' kindergarten teacher to have used this awesome idea to help children ease their First-Day-of School anxieties. Along with Scaredy Squirrel, you open up this school year for DS in the most gentle, encouraging, and comforting way. (Baby steps, I'll remind myself as I watch my own baby begin kindergarten.) You are a blessing that will help ease DS' anxiety in more ways than anything I could have said or done. And I know that both DS and I will be smiling come Monday, because, in you, we believe.
Have a Good Night's Sleep before the start of school!
P.S. We also look forward to reading all the books in the Scaredy Squirrel series!