Featuring Elise Brown-Petite, age 30; James Petite, age 32; Harrison Petite, age 4; and Helen Petite, age 19 months.
This is the first update/Next update
September arrived in Simdale Valley with a sudden sting that quickly turned the leaves and jolted anyone who was still merrily living the myth of never-ending balmy summer, right back to reality.
Elise Brown had dragged her classroom stuff out of summer storage and packed it all up in the family room. She looked at it, figuring out how many hours she needed to get it all sorted out in her new room at school.
Summer had been so nice, home with Helen, her 19 month old, and Harrison, her four-year-old, all day.
She had found a fish tank at a garage sale, and helped Harrison set it up. He was doing really well with feeding them not too much, as long as she kept the food and he had to come ask to feed them.
He loved all kinds of living creatures: fish, bugs, his dog, Jen.
Harrison was good with his sister, too. Whenever Helen saw Harrison, she’d squeal and say, “‘Son, ‘Son” to get him to come play with her.
He loved playing peek-a-boo with her; Elise thought it made him feel really grown-up to be able to entertain his sister.
With only a few days left before the start of the new school year, Elise was working on lesson plans while Helen and Harrison were happily playing, and James, her husband, was watching the overview of the new PSU football team, whose Spring exposition game had been a huge let-down to the fans.
It wasn’t long before James started talking to the announcers, or the TV, or just the universe, asking, “Why?!?”
The fans couldn’t figure out why the coach brought in the best offensive coordinator for the spread, and insisted on playing the driest football imaginable. It looked like this season wasn’t going to be any different.
About the time Elise thought she was going to be able to tune out James’ rants, Harrison came in and started jumping on the sofa.
Elise was already feeling a little frustrated with the new lesson plan templates that Ms. Newman was requiring, and finally, she asked James to take the kids and Jen to the park so she could finish up.
“Suit up, posse,” he said as he scooped up Helen, “We are out-o-here.”
“Dad,” Harrison said, “I gotta go get my bug jar.”
As soon as they got to the park, James put Helen on the rider and Harrison asked go hunt for bugs.
It seemed like it was harder to find bugs than it was in the summer…maybe they were already going to ground.
After a while, Simone Endeavor came over and sat down next to James. She had brought both her daughter, Sienna, and her niece, Charlotte McElveen, to play.
Sienna and Charlotte seemed to be having a lot of fun playing in the fairy garden, which was the furthest point away Simone had given them permission to play at.
Suddenly, Sienna ran over to James.
When she got near, she stopped, and stood and looked at Jen, transfixed.
“Do you want to pet her?” Harrison asked. “She’s nice.”
“Sienna’s been asking for a dog,” Simone told James. “We just aren’t sure if we are ready for the responsibility.”
After a while, the evening light became warmer, while the air became cooler. Charlotte came over to pet Jen, too. She had never seen a dog before.
Then the three four-year-olds went over to see how Helen was doing. Sienna thought Helen was so funny, “galloping” on a llama.
Playing with Jen and Helen made Sienna feel more comfortable with Harrison, and she asked him if he wanted to play with her and Charlotte.
But just how it always happens for kids, about the time the trio started really having fun, it was time to go home.
At dinner, James asked Harrison how he felt about tomorrow being his first day of school. Harrison was really excited, especially since his mom was going to be his teacher this year. But his mom reminded him, that while they were at school, she would have to treat him like his teacher, not like his mom, at home.
James gave the kids their baths, so Elise could make sure she had everything ready for in the morning.
But Elise still had a hard time falling asleep, knowing tomorrow was the big day, first day of a new school year.
First day of school dawned, and it was grey and drizzly.
Harrison was up, bright and early, seeing what the weather looked like for his first day of school. Then he went outside to find some bugs.
Elise was all ready to go, but she couldn’t find Harrison. And there was practically a traffic jam on the front lawn, between the bus waiting to turn the corner and everyone lined up to drop their kids off at the curb. “First day of school,” she thought, “for the first week everyone drops their kids; and then on top of that it’s raining. It’s going to take forever to get everyone through the drop-off line.”
Moira Jones had agreed to keep Helen for the first few days of school, because her regular sitter was still away on vacation.
Moira had kept Helen a few times through the summer, when James and Elise had gone out.
Moira was really good with Helen, and she would get right down on the floor with her to play.
Elise felt good about leaving her with Moira, knowing Helen was comfortable with her.
Over at the school, Elise’s class picked up quickly on routines. It helped that both Charlotte McElveen and Harrison were good listeners, good at following directions, and set a good example for the other children.
Elise put Sienna and Benjiman in a reading group together, since they were both still learning their letter sounds.
Sienna was a little shy about trying to say her letter sounds in front of Benjiman.
Charlotte and Harrison were already reading sight words, so they were also in a group together for reading.
Upstairs, Ms. Newman looked over her new fourth grade class as they came in. “That line is going to have to be straighter,” she said to herself.
“Class, take your seats. You’ll see your name on the front of your desk.”
“I was hoping we’d have a new teacher, this year,” Yuki whispered to Madeleine. “One that is nice.”
Simdale Valley School, September 604:
Elise Brown-Petite, Kindergarten teacher
Maureen Newman, Principal/4th Grade teacher
Back Row, Kindergarten: Benjiman Smith, Harrison Petite-Brown, Charlotte McElveen, and Sienna Endeavor
Front Row, 4th Grade: Isaiah Gavigan, Madeleine Bright, Marsha Bruenig, and Yuki Ono