By Talya Miller

Chani Gold woke up very excited, today was the first day of kindergarten! Her six siblings have been in school for a week already and she was really bored. She hopped out of bed and went downstairs to find her mother or one of her many siblings to help her get breakfast.

“Mommy?”, Chani yelled going down the stairs, “Yocheved, Aliza?” then she saw the kitchen door open, so she hurried to see who answered her call, it was none other than “ABBA!” She shrieked jumping into his arms.

Her father smiled, “Good Morning Chanala!”

They walked into the kitchen where the rest of the family was sitting eating pancakes. Mrs. Gold smiled as she walked into her seat and said good morning to everyone.

“Chani, do you want one pancake or two?”, Mrs. Gold asked coming over with a plate of pancakes.

“Ummm…….,” Chani said her little face scrunched up in thought. “Two! No, I think three; Leora said ‘I’m skinny.’” Chani smiled at her sister Leora who was explaining what happened as her siblings laughed at her.

“Okay Chani, I’ll give you three and you can add the syrup yourself.” Mrs. Gold said putting three small pancakes on Chani’s plate. She took the syrup from Yocheved who had just finished with it.

Chani was delighted, and she took the bottle and started to drown her pancakes in syrup.

“Chani-Bani,” Aliza said calling Chani by her special nickname she had given her. “Are you excited for school?”

“Yes!” Chani said looking at her sister like she was an alien. This, of course, caused all the kids to laugh again.

“Boys! Get going. Your bus is here.” said Mrs. Gold pointing out the window where a yellow bus was patiently waiting.

The three boys stood up immediately, said good bye, grabbed their lunches from their mother and raced out the door.

“Bye Chaim Tzvi! Bye Menachem! Bye Yisroel!” Chani called standing on her chair dropping her two and a half pancakes which she had not already eaten.

“Chani,” her sister Yocheved called from the top of the steps, “time to get dressed!”

Chani shrieked with excitement, put her plate back onto the table. She ran upstairs where she met Yocheved who led her into her room where Aliza was already standing looking through Chani’s closet.

“Chani-Bani,” Aliza said picking up two outfits, “Do you want to wear this?,” She held a purple skirt with a light purple shirt and a dark purple sweater. “Or this?” she held out the other one a blue dress with purple flowers on the skirt of it.”

Again Chani’s face was scrunched as she thought about the huge decision Aliza was giving her.

“I think…. I think I want to wear the purple today and the pretty dress tomorrow.

Okay?” Chani looked at her two older sisters for approval.

“Good Idea!” Yocheved said picking Chani up and placing her onto the bed to help her take off her nightgown.

The three girls came down the steps ten minutes later, with Chani still gripping onto their hands but at least she was dressed.

“Chani, you look beautiful! Ready to go?” Mrs. Gold said with her keys in one hand and Chani’s backpack in the other.

Chani nodded but gripped her sisters hands tighter, she was ready but that didn’t mean she wasn’t nervous to spend her first day at kindergarten, which would be her first time being away from her mother for the day. She wondered if any of the girls would like her or if the teacher would like her. As nervous as she was, she allowed herself to be led to the car. As Aliza buckled her in, she remembered something.

“CHANA LEAH!” Chani said almost jumping out of her seat, “We can’t forget Chana Leah, Mommy! You said yesterday we were going to pick her up for school.”

“Chani, calm down. I won’t forget to pick up Chana Leah. Now, sit down and let Aliza buckle you.”

So Chani sat back down and allowed herself to be buckled by Aliza who did it in a hurry, because she didn’t want to be late either. As soon as she buckled the last strap, Aliza slammed the door shut and hopped into the car wanting to get to school already. But before they could drop off Aliza and Yocheved, they needed to pick up Chana Leah, of course! As soon as Chana Leah got in,  she showed Chani her rainbow backpack and the dolly she put inside. She finally let Yocheved buckle her so Mrs. Gold could drive once again. As they pulled up to the Torah Academy, Aliza let out a sigh of relief; it was a miracle the bell didn’t ring yet. She gave a kiss to Chani, a hug to her mother, and that was all it took to get her out of the car. Yocheved on the other hand was a little slower.

“Bye Chani! Have a good day! Say hello to your teachers for me! Bye Chana Leah, you have a good day too. Okay! Bye Mommy, I love you and I’ll see you at home after school! Okay, bye everyone!” And after about four hugs from Chani, two from her mother, one kiss from Chani one from her mother and a wave from Chana Leah, Yocheved finally took he backpack and raced to catch up with a friend who had just walked past.

“Okay girls, are you ready to go to school?” Mrs. Gold said turning around in her chair.

Both girls nodded gripping tightly to each other’s hands. Mrs. Gold smiled, turned around, and started the car. A few minutes later she pulled up in front of a big building with a sign over the door that read “Bas Rivka Preschool”. Mrs. Gold slowly maneuvered into a spot to park. She hopped out and opened the door to unbuckle Chani and Chana Leah.

“Are you ready Chani?” Mrs. Gold asked as she helped Chani get out of the car.

Chani nodded staring at the big school she was supposed stay in all day. She looked up at her mother who was helping Chana Leah put on her backpack. Chana Leah finally understood that each hand went in one strap, and she was helped down with her backpack properly on her back.  Mrs. Gold reached into the car one more time, this time taking out Chani’s backpack, with her lunch strapped onto it. She handed it to Chani and closed the door.

“Girls, ready to go in?”

Chani who had gotten her backpack on the first try, glanced at Chana Leah who nodded, “Yes Mommy,” Chani said, reaching out for Chana Leah’s hand.

Mrs. Gold herded the girls across the street. Then, she pushed open the school door, and walked in after the girls. She led them to the school office where she stopped for a minute to ask the secretary where the four year old classroom was, and headed down the hall. She started scanning the doors; she passed looking for a sign that read “Welcome four year olds!” She finally found it next to a door leading to the playground.  She looked at the girls, who had been silent this whole time.

“Are you ready to go in?” she said holding out two hands.

Chana Leah let go of Chani’s hand and reached for Mrs. Gold’s, who took that as a yes. Chani grabbed her mother’s hand and gave her a hug. Mrs. Gold opened the door to the classroom and walked in.

“Hello!” a women said from the front of the room. “My name is Morah Debbie. What are your names?”

“Chani.” Chani whispered

“Chana Leah.”  Chana Leah said, who thought this Morah Debbie person was okay.

Morah Debbie smiled and showed them their cubbies, name tags, and where they would sit. When she was done, Chani and Chana Leah went to put their bags in their place.

“Chani, I need to go now, is that okay?” Mrs. Gold asked cautiously.

“Okay mommy! Right, Chana Leah’s mommy is picking us up?” Chani said, giving her mother a hug.

“Right, but I’ll be home to meet you. Chana Leah, are you okay?”

Chana Leah nodded and started to pull Chani towards the dolls.

“BYE MOMMY!” Chani called.

Mrs. Gold smiled, waved good bye, and walked out to her car.  She was so busy for the rest of the day with errands, she forgot about Chani until 2:30; a half an hour before Chani was supposed to be home. She quickly dropped the shirt she was thinking of buying and raced to the car to get home before Chani did. As she turned onto her street twenty minutes later, she was relieved to see Chani hadn’t arrived yet. She parked the car and went into the house to unpack her packages and put the cookie dough she had made the day before in the oven. She was about to go into her room to start her book when she heard a car turn into the driveway. She went outside and greeted her enthusiastic daughter.

“Mommy, Mommy! Did you know we make projects at school? Morah Debbie helped us make noodle faces! Look here’s mine.”

Mrs. Gold praised her daughter and waved to Chana Leah’s mother, who waved back and drove off. She led Chani into the house where the cookie timer had just gone off.

“So Chani, did you like school?” Mrs. Gold asked putting a plate of cookies in front of her.

“YES!” Chani said and once again lunched into her school day.

“I’m so glad.” Mrs. Gold thought, “I’m so glad.”