Monday was The Boy's first day on the school bus. Oh, I know school started months ago, but we hadn't planned on needing the bus at first. Initially, I was going to continue to drive him to school but then those plans changed. Then, for a while, his friend's mother had graciously offered to pick him up and drop him off. The circumstances that made that possible then changed and the bus was the only option left. It was a hard sell.
The Boy has always seemed all-confident to me, in every endeavor. Like most boys, he thinks he can do anything and often he is right. He has compared his mother's continuous cautioning -"don't do that, you'll get hurt" - with the usual outcome - "see, I didn't get hurt" - and this has only strengthened his conviction that Mom is a worry-wort and he's invincible. So I was unprepared for his nervousness about the school bus. He simply told me "I am not going to get on the bus".
To tell the truth, I was nervous too. It's my job, I'm a mom. I was careful to try to hide it although, it may have shown through in the fact that he did get that cell phone for his birthday (for emergency calls to Mom in case he got lost) and the fact that I may have told him 20 or so times to make sure he didn't get out of the bus until the driver assured him that this was his stop, and that we went over all the subsequent numbers he should call (all programmed into the phone) if for any reason I didn't answer.
In my defense, I had a hard time of it when The Girl took the bus. We had several incidents where the bus didn't stop to pick her up, a new driver didn't drop her off, she purposely stayed on the bus past her stop and they had to bring her back and once when she went off with the neighbors without telling me and we had everyone including her teacher out looking for her. I ended up following the bus to school in my car for three weeks before I finally felt secure.
But it wasn't fears of getting lost, or of not knowing what to do, where to sit, where to get on or off or any of the fears that crossed my mind that were bothering The Boy. He just didn't think he would know anyone on the bus and as he explained to me "Mom, I'm shy".
So when he saw the little boy next door waiting for the bus, that was it. Once this small and brave kindergartener who was a bus veteran agreed to take over the care of my second-grader, all fear vanished and I was told to leave the area.
The next day he refused to let my husband walk him to the bus stop, but I insisted that he remain at the end of the driveway to actually view him go aboard. I thought I was fairly calm, I didn't ask him to identify the vehicle. After all, I figured it's hard to miss the yellow monstrosity and so I decided against asking "are you sure it was the school bus?".
The Boy did call me on the cell from the bus on that first day. He was about 5 minutes into his trip and announced "I will take the bus again tomorrow". To my relief, he does still like to have someone in the background, slightly out of view but present because I need a witness that he actually got on the bus or I will be calling the school to check. This is day three now, and I have only done that once.