He woke up the first day of preschool at his usual 6:30 am and said, “Is it time to go to school yet?” Sorry buddy you’ve got two more hours. We made sure all his forms were filled out, his all about me bag was ready to go, and his school supplies packed – he’d been pulling them out and showing them to people for weeks.
“I’ve got all my stuff,” he’d tell them.
His Dad told him the “rules” which consisted of listening to his teacher and not talking to his friends when he was supposed to be doing something else.
As we walked to school he said, “Don’t worry Mom I know the rules.” His hands moving up and down emphatically.
Preschool is on the way to the elementary school. Josh and Anna both went to the same preschool, 2 years each, and they were over the moon excited for him. They chatted away about what he could expect and he beamed at them.
Ms. Jani and Grandma Dalva were waiting by the door. He hugged Ms. Jani and found a hook for his backpack. He was still excited, but a little nervous too. I kissed him goodbye and said, “I changed my mind, I don’t think you’re big enough for preschool, come home with me.”
“No. ” he said rolling his eyes, “I’m big enough, and I’ll be home soon.” He patted me and I left. My heart hurting just a little bit that for a brief minute all my kids were in school. Then I went home and immensely enjoyed the next two hours. Grinning from ear to ear he jumped into my arms when I picked him up.
I begged him to tell me all about it, “You walked in and then what happened?” but all I got out of him was that he got to jump on the trampoline and that someone got in trouble.
Then day 2 of preschool came. As we were getting ready he looks me in the eyes and says, “I’m not going to go back to preschool, you will be too sad.” and snuggled into my arms refusing to move.
I explained that I would miss him but that it would be OK. I wanted him to learn, have fun, and make new friends. After all if he stayed home he wouldn’t be able to go to the field trip to the fire station. That convinced him to get moving, but as we went to go in, he clung to my leg. They had to pry his arms off of my neck and hold him screaming while I snuck out.
It was not the high point in my career as a mother. The arguments in my head began. I don’t want to make him go to preschool if he doesn’t like it, he’s only 3 – but I don’t want to let him get out of things, just because he’s nervous/scared/ or because they’re new. ….Doing new things, stretches you, and changes you for the better, no matter your age – at least most of the time. Sometimes I suppose doing new things can scar you for life.
He was all smiles again when I picked him up, not even waiting for the walk home to show me what was in his backpack. He showed me everything he’d done right there on Ms. Jani’s front lawn.
“This is for you,” he smiled at me as he handed me the sticker that he’d gotten for being good…Whew, at least there was no residual hatred manifesting…yet.
The next week, he told me again that he didn’t want to go – but he couldn’t give me a reason. Then I asked, “Do you want Josh to take you all by yourself?”
He has the best big brother ever. No tears, just joy.
And as a bonus I get ten extra minutes.
PS He dressed himself.