unfounded fears?

During her extra-long-super-extended summer Kaitlyn admitted to a couple of fears about starting a new school… in a new country.

First, she said she was afraid she wouldn’t make friends. This is a child who will talk to anyone. And does. She is only shy around adults. And even then it’s temporary. I do think that making friends is harder than she’d probably hoped it would be. Saturday, the PTO held an annual ice cream party on the playground. Kaitlyn was so worked up about going. So excited about showing off her new school to Mom and Dad. And once we got there, she clung to us. Said kids were being mean. Said she didn’t have any friends. I don’t know any of her classmates. For all I know, she really was the only kid from her class who was there. Still, I imagine that making new friends isn’t going to be as difficult as she feared. Or as she tried making it out to be Saturday. Give it time. I mean, she still can’t tell me the names of the children who sit next to her in class. It will take time.

Second, she was terrified of the lunches. Everyone had told her that the lunches would be gross. Horrible. Especially in comparison to what she’d become used to. Think about it: she used to eat four course meals served to her at the table. It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten a public school lunch but I’m pretty sure I can imagine what it’s like: a long line to get a meal that’s in a little tin like you get on an airplane and about as good.

Her first day, I packed Kaitlyn’s lunch. Mac and cheese. Tomatoes. Yogurt drink. Sugar cookies and a cute little note. At the bus stop, an older boy said “Are you crazy? It’s chicken nugget day!” (Far cry from what her fellow students could have said to her last year. “Are you crazy? It’s roasted veal stew day!”) When she got home that day, I was not thrilled to see she hadn’t touched her mac and cheese. She’d been too nervous to eat breakfast. How did she not crumble into a hungry mass of tears by the afternoon? After a while, I spotted some weird stains on her shirt. Didn’t look like paint. Dark red, but not blood. That? Oh, that’s barbeque sauce. From the chicken nuggets. Kaitlyn had decided to buy her lunch that day. And supplement it with the tomatoes and yogurt she’d brought. She bought her lunch the next day (pizza. She didn’t notice it was whole wheat) and today (ravioli with meat sauce). I asked her if the food is good and she said it certainly is and that it must be because her school has hired French chefs to cook American food. I don’t know if she really likes the food, or if she just likes using her little plastic debit card to pay for it.

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