It’s been a summer of transition for my almost 2-and-a-half year old, M: She has a new baby brother; her Mom just went back to work; she started being potty trained and wearing big girl underwear; and (drumroll please)… she is about to have her first day of preschool. I know, it’s just preschool – it’s art, music, running around on the playground, having lunch and coming home. What’s not to like? But it’s a whole new world of people and experiences. Which is why we are sending her, but I can’t help but wonder how she is going to react. Will she run in and be excited by all the new toys and friends? Will she cry desperately and not let me go? Will I cry desperately and not want to let go? A week before she began, I didn’t even know if this school was going to let me stay for some transition period, or if I was dropping her off cold turkey.
My husband and I went to our first parents meeting a few days before “the first day.” We found out that our school has a very understanding separation period, where one parents stays the whole morning at the school in one place, but is not allowed to enter the classroom. The child can stay with you, or go to the classroom and play.
But she can’t have both.
We are encouraged to be boring so that the fun of toys, friends, and Play-doh get the upper hand in this emotional struggle between old vs. new, comforting vs. scary, and dependence vs. independence. It’s a serious time commitment for the one parent doing it, but there’s a method to the madness that I think will prove worth it in the end. The teachers and staff are very understanding and want to make sure my child has a connection with the school before we go into a standard drop-off-the-kid-and-go routine.
We’re 2 days in and M has spent only 15 minutes in her classroom, maybe 5 minutes in the play yard, and (fortunately) has only had one accident… if you know what I mean. When M is one of the last 2 kids that won’t go into her classroom, one mom told me, “they all have to deal with it at some point. Yours is getting all her ‘I don’t want to leave Mommy’ business out of the way now.’” I hope she’s right.
Me? I’ve been pretty good, haven’t shed a tear yet (and I’m a crier!). But then again, she’s been by my side the whole time. I’m hoping tomorrow she spreads her wings and takes advantage of the fun and support waiting inside her classroom. Maybe that’s when this mother duck will need be breaking out the tissues.
Oh, by the way: The best part about this transition period is hanging with the other new parents in the parents room, because let’s be honest, M isn’t the only one at school for some good socializing!
Keep up with Lindsay’s music picks at @lonewolflindsay
Accessorize: Like Lindsay’s toddler, little Miss M…
OLD NAVY Striped Graphic Long Sleeve Tee
SANRIO Hello Kitty 12″ Backpack
PEDIPED Tara Mary Janes