Barefoot in High Heels

Archive for the ‘School Days’ Category

We started preschool this month.   I say “we” because I feel like I’m back in school all over again, which for me is a good thing, since I was one of those weird kids who cried when I was sick because I had to miss school.  Strange, I know.

Now Little Miss M here is my oldest (she turns 3 next month), and she’s extremely bright, talkative and inquisitive.  That is, until she’s in a crowd.  Painfully shy and timid, she will cling to my leg and completely ignore all well-intentioned strangers (or even family members) who try to get her to speak.  Usually they’re too loud, too brash, too in-your-face for Miss M, and I just want to tell these people to step back.  Calm down.  Give her some space.  She takes a LONG time to warm up to new people and situations, and she’s very cautious.  Don’t take it personally.    So . . . that being said, I really wanted her to start preschool to get used to other kids in a group setting.  She does well one-on-one, but oftentimes in a group will be found playing by herself in a corner.

We’ve been talking about preschool for about 7 months now.  That might sound crazy — it sounds crazy to ME, even!  But I know her, and she needs a lot of time to talk about new situations and what’s going to happen when she gets there.  And if I had anything to do with it, she would be READY!

And it finally arrived.  The first day of school.  All alone!  Only 2 1/2 hours, but it was a big deal.  She talked about it all morning at breakfast, was excited to drop off Baby Sister at my mom’s and say “Bye, Grandma – I’m going to school!”  She was so proud of her new purple backpack (even the preschool size looks so big on her!).  And she found her picture on the wall outside the class.  Very cool. 

Until the teacher opened the door, welcomed the boys and girls, and ushered them into the classroom.

Alone.

Without mom.

Miss M’s feet were planted, and her hand immediately reached to mine.  The tears began, slowly.  She didn’t want me to leave, yet she had specifically given me instructions that I could go to the post office and Target while she was in school.  (She later changed her mind, because Target is her store!)  Thankfully, the teacher scooped her up and brought her inside with diversionary tactics.  I waited with other parents and peeked through the doors.  I was the only one with a crier.  In fact, the other kids I saw were happy to leave behind the comfort of mom and venture into a new fun world filled with kids and toys.   But not my girl. 

However, she wasn’t hysterical.  She was sitting on the teacher’s lap and crying quietly.  So I left.  Nothing I could do.  And in fact, I was pretty pleased that we got through the goodbye with only tears and not screams and tear-choked sobs.  No — more than pleased.  I was relieved!

Driving away from school, I was thrilled.  I have friends who cry when their children start school.  On the other hand, I have friends who can’t wait to get their rugrats out from under them!  But I was neither extreme.  I was SO looking forward to Miss M starting school, and SO thrilled that she was there! (And later, I found out the crying was short-lived.  Extra bonus!).  Not because I wanted more time to myself, or alone time with Baby Sister.  But because I know she’s venturing into a new place where she will learn, grow, explore, imagine, and dream.  There is so much for her to experience and she will (hopefully) relish it all.  I’m happy for her to start school because I’m so excited for her and all the fun she’ll have and the friends she’ll make. 

It may be a slow start — and I know we’re only talking preschool here, people.  But it’s the first step to her independence, to growing into her own person, to her future.  And her future?  Well, to paraphrase the one-hit wonder Timbuk3: it’s so bright, she’s gotta wear shades.

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