August - Starting Preschool, A Big Milestone.
Dropping Tobe off at school felt like a culmination of the past 4 years of my role in making an amazing miracle. I was so proud that my little boy, the helpless little six pound baby we brought home was now a healthy, strong 3 year old spending his mornings independently.
At the same time, I was scared, anxious, and worried. I was particularly worried that no one would be helping him with going to the bathroom. I am not sure why this is the one concern, of all the potential concerns, that I fixated on. Tobe had turned three only 3 weeks before school started. Although he was completely potty trained, we still supervised his bathroom activity. But at school, he would be all alone. This just got to me and made me sad because what if he needed help? What if he didn't pull his pants down on time, or fell off the step stool, etc.
I started worrying well ahead of time to channel my worrying into rehearsing the bathroom routine. We practiced for weeks to the point where when he was in a good mood, he was completely independent in the bathroom. As a new three year old, he still had time when he just didn't care about cooperating with me, so for the first week of school, I was so worried about getting calls from his teacher, but I didn't!
He did get in trouble for refusing to wait his turn for some popsicles. It was reported that he started pacing and chanting 'I want the orange one', making a scene, but his teacher corrected him and he behaved. She seemed to be impressed by his ability to be corrected and learn from his mistakes. One other time I got a bad report that he ran into and locked himself in the bathroom with a toy. When the teacher let herself in with a spare key, he was found sitting on the bathroom shelving.
Dropping Tobe off at school that first day was emotional but without any tears from me or him. We had talked so much about school leading up to it and were so excited. But when the bell rang and they had to get in line, I could see the panic in his face. He tried to hold hands with an older kid for comfort but his hand was pushed away. I had to fight back a tear when I saw that. He ran out of the line and back to me, I gave him a hug and nudged him back. He kept trying to run out of line so his teacher held his hand and she walked him into class, in front of the line.
Although I didn't cry, it was very emotional. I kept reliving every moment of that first drop off. Did I kiss him? Was I reassuring enough? It went much better than I expected but I still stressed over the details. I forgot to mention, that morning at home was kind of a hazy mess as I got him ready for school, and me for work. It was a start of a new era, my mornings now had to include school prep.
It’s amazing how much more our toddlers can achieve when faced with the challenge. I am so proud of how well he has performed at school. He is the youngest in his Montessori classroom but his teacher says he learns very fast. Tobe loves school. He loves his teacher and always talks about her. His favorite thing to tell me about school is what he had for snack time. Overall, it has been a fun transition.
Tips to have a good first day of preschool
1. Don’t act sad, be excited. This confidence transfers to your kid and helps him or her get comfortable with this transition.
2. Talk and read about school for weeks or months ahead of time. It helps the kid know what to expect.
3. Ask lots of questions from the school and teachers to help you prepare for your child’s needs.
4. Visit the classroom and school bathroom ahead of time to practice bathroom routine in this new space.
5. Meet with the teacher ahead of time, for obvious reasons.
6. Label everything: clothes, back pack, etc.
7. Pack extra clothes for the classroom because accidents happen to toddlers.
The rest of August was filled with fun family summertime memories. We spent a few weekends in Grand Haven, our favorite weekend hangout spot that's close to our home. In the summertime, I am thankful that I live in beautiful Michigan. Then winter comes and it is a whole different story.
My brother, Tobe, and I also spent time in Ludington before he went back to school for the semester. It was great bonding time. I am always amazed by the beauty of Lake Michigan and Michigan beaches.