At the end of the day, I picked him up in the school cafeteria among a chaotic sea of students and parents (maybe some teachers, but I didn't see any). He looked like he had been holding back tears for the last 6 hours but he wouldn't talk to me about it. He wouldn't talk to me. At all. For hours. He was silent. He offered one piece of information about his day: he sat at a table with a boy named Michael who liked to go by Big Mike. Big Mike?!? What is this, kindergarten or prison? Yikes.
On the drive to the ice cream place, he was not himself. He kept trying to curl up (à la fetal position) in his car seat. Once we got ice cream, he took two bites, forced a smile and then resumed the fetal position on the bench.
Once we got home, he needed an hour to himself. I gave him some aspirin because his head was hurting, he lay on the couch and we didn't talk about school at all. Ten minutes of playing Wii and he was starting to resemble the old Booker. Maybe my dad can confirm this, but I think I had a similar de-stressing routine when I was in kindergarten. Although mine involved standing outside the front door and screaming at the top of my lungs for ten minutes before my mom would let me in the house. I remember trying so hard to be obedient and quiet and good and perfect at school that when I got home, I had to let it all out. In the form of screaming. I wonder what the neighbors thought.
Anyways, I suggested that we go swimming and once he was in the pool, Booker started to volunteer some information.
He started with, "Hey mom, there's a nurse's office and the nurse helps you."
And from there, he told me about his bloody nose(s?- because I think there was more than one, he picks his nose when he's nervous) and other bits and pieces of his day.
Besides Big Mike and the bloody noses, I don't think anything particularly traumatic happened. It's just a long day for a 5 year old. A long day full of new faces, new rules and new spaces. It's a lot to take in. His preschool class had 4 other kids and was held in his teacher's living room. Now he's got a huge new campus to navigate and 20 other kids to befriend.
I hope it gets better for him.