Monday, September 20, 2010

First day of preschool

I know, I know, I owe major postings here about life with two boys. Dash will already be 7 months old this wednesday. Seriously? 7 months? I swear he was just born last week. I will put a post up about Dash shortly, but for now, here's what happened for us today:

Tonight at dinner we talked about his first day of school. We asked him what he did today. His response? "Julian cried. Played with Whitney and Cora. Circle time." Those were some good take aways, I guess, after the emotional day we just had. Our day started pretty smoothly. He was up at 5:30am (pretty normal), we had some breakfast (his favorite: sausage) and I packed his lunch in his awesome Planet Box lunch box.

Stainless steel bento box lunch box. For lunch? Organic grapes, organic oven-roasted turkey sandwich on wheat bread, organic honey wheat pretzel sticks, some homemade banana chocolate bread, and 3 chocolate-covered marshmallows. What did he actually eat? The grapes, the pretzels, and the marshmallows. Go figure.

Before we got in the car to go to Laurie's, I took the obligatory picture of his first day of school. He's wearing his new firetruck shirt, new shoes, and holding his brand new lunch box. All the way there in the car he was talking about Nemo's "first day of school." "Just like Nemo," he said. He was so excited!
Our program is a pre-school cooperative with other families from the Holistic Moms Network of Northern Virginia. There are 7 families and we rotate houses by the month. This month Laurie is our fearless lead teacher and she has 2 other parents as assistant teachers. They started this program last year and we decided to give it a whirl this year since it's only one day a week and we'd still be able to do our regular playgroup, La Leche League meetings, and My Gym, leaving thursday as our only free day each week.

My plan during this glorious morning (weather-wise) was to go for a hike with another mom from the group, Kathy. Kathy is due next monday with #2 so we decided to take the dogs for a nice walk at Bull Run to help her get things moving. (No dice, she's still pregnant). Drop off didn't go as smooth as I had hoped it would, though. Julian basically dropped me at the cubbies to go and play so I took it as a good time to exit. I got to the car, started nursing Dash, and within a few minutes I could hear Julian crying, "you want mommy! you want mommy!" (He hasn't figured out "you" and "i" yet). I waited it out to see if I should go in, but the other moms coming in from dropping off their kiddos said I should wait outside. So I waited. Then Laurie's husband came outside and asked me to come in, so I went in to give Julian one last cuddle. He didn't want me to go and he was doing that hiccupping cry that is so desperately sad. The other kids were coming to pat his back and hug him, too. One of the assistants of the day, Paul, came over to try and show Julian his camera and bring him to play in the main room. Eventually Julian decided to go and play and I took my exit again. I was expecting to get a call that Julian threw up from crying so much but thankfully, no call ever came.

As a former preschool teacher today was especially hard because I've been on the side of the teacher many, many times but obviously I had never experienced it from the parent's side. I admit it, I was fighting back tears leaving my crying son. I've always known that Julian is sensitive and needs to know what's going on at all times. We are a very routine-oriented family and I know Julian finds tremendous comfort knowing that routine. A new day like today can be hard on these little guys and I've seen it many times before with other kids. I am so, so grateful that I was leaving him with fellow like-minded parents that I knew would treat Julian's emotions with the respect and patience that we do. That's a huge part of why we decided to try this coop in the first place. At the same time, though, Americans are so big on making sure our kids learn independence...making sure kids learn to take care of themselves as soon as possible, so part of me is trying very hard not to feel like an utter failure with a son who didn't want to leave his mommy.

Would it be better if he just took off running away from me and didn't look back? What does that say about our bond? Nothing, really, just that he's a more adventurous kid. Am I a failure because my son needs reassurance that everything is okay, needs to know that he's safe, and needed an extra-long cuddle to say goodbye? Probably not, he just needed to know mommy's still there. I mean, he's only TWO for crying out loud.

My hope is for my boys to grow up to be independent but they will always be mommy's little boys. I don't think today was as scarring to Julian as it was for mommy....he's already talking about going back to school next week. Luckily, I am assisting next week so me and Dash will be there for the morning, so I hope that will help with his transition.

Oh boy, what I mess I've been today. Just imagine when he goes off to's going to be nuts!

Here's a picture of Dash since I don't want him to feel left out. Took this a month ago at the beach while we were waiting in line at 8:30 at night to get Ben & Jerry's. Julian loved it. :)

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