Saturday, September 8, 2007

Girl's first full day of preschool..a rollercoaster for ...ME!

I haven't been able to write about what should have been Wednesday, until now. Wednesday was Girl's first day of preschool! A milestone. And the emotions are so complicated, I had to take a breather and assimilate.

Tuesday night we packed her backpack together. It was stuffed full of two changes of clothes, a crib sheet for the sleeping cot, a special blanket - retro paper dolls (too cool!), her cozy lion, a bag of pull-ups for nap time, sunblock, hat and topped with her new Hello Kitty lunchbox. The backpack is fire engine red with her name in blue letters. Love that Pottery Barn for Kids!
Wednesday morning after breakfast, she jumped up and down and shouted I'M SO EXCITED!!! She was. She picked out her outfit, got dressed and was at the door before Boy, who was a little anxious about his new classroom. He is now in the Pre-K program.

We arrived at school with plenty of time to walk Boy to his class, sign him in, give him hugs, and ask him to give Girl a hug when he sees her in the play yard. After Boy received hugs and kisses from both Girl and I, we then we moved on to Girl's class right next door. She eagerly snatched her loaded backpack from me and lumbered across the room to find her hook, with a name tag above. Here it is! Here it is! It says GIRL! She was exuberant, to say the least. The teachers greeted her and she, knowing the routine from Boy's year, went into the bathroom to wash her hands. She then came back into the room and sat down at the little table for breakfast with the other children who were there. She asked for kisses and hugs... A hug! A kiss! Another hug! Another kiss! ...we did this about 4 times. Then I went to sign her in and talk to the lead teacher for a minute. When I looked over, Girl looked a bit nervous, but seemed OK. I then waved good-bye and started to walk out and she BURST INTO TEARS. Mommy! Mommy! She cried like a baby animal. It was pure, Mommy Torture. Awful. Gut wrenching. But, I continued to walk out. I got to the parking lot (50 yards!) and called the school. You might want to give it a little more time, they said kindly. OK, I gulped. I made it home in 12 minutes and called again. She's stopped crying and is outside playing. OK, I'll call back during nap time, just to check. I hung up, took a deep breath and called E. Then I cried.

And so... this was the first time in almost 4 years that I've been in my house, alone, for more than 2 or 3 hours. Alone. Quiet. Able to think. Sort of. It was a profoundly exquisite feeling, yet my emotions were very raw. It was surreal and seductive, the beckoning of possibility ahead of what I can do with this time, if I have a chance. So, let's see where all this leads.

And Girl? She was fine. She had a great day. When I picked her up she was playing outside, covered in paint and dirt. Happy grime. A happy girl. Boy raced across the yard and flung himself at me. My stomach, which had stayed clenched for much of the day, unclenched. And I know that this is right. For all of us.


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2 comments:

May Chan said...

When I got to this word.."It was pure, Mommy Torture." I BURST INTO TEARS... I am thinking of sending my boy to school soon-within 3months to 6 months-, and start to worry "how to handle this emotional seperation". Just thinking of it makes me cry all the time.. I don't know how to prepare my mind yet. :(

JCK said...

I KNOW...it is such a difficult decision to make! BOY was ready to go to preschool at a younger age than GIRL. He started at 2 yrs 2 months and went 2 full days a week. Then when he was almost 3 he went to 3 days a week.

GIRL is more reserved and needs a strong level of comfort to begin things. I am SO glad I waited until she was almost 3 to start her. She is going 3 full days a week, which seems easier as there are less days in between. She has transitioned so well. No more crying so far after that first day.

You'll know when the time is right. You may find like I did that it is much harder on YOU than your little guy. Sometimes I feel like they are teaching me more about life than I'm teaching them! Hang in there and thanks for leaving a comment.

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