School Days

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Today marks the beginning of a new phase of our lives—The School Days!

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Tracy is totally smiling here. She’s proud of B, too!

Ever since I registered B for Pre-K in the spring, I have been both looking forward to and dreading this day. Out of all of the milestones we have celebrated so far, this one is most firmly in the most “growing up” category.  This is the start of a part of B’s life that will be separate from the one she shares with us. It’s the first time that someone other than immediate family will watch over her; and, she’ll be making new friends and doing new things that we won’t get to witness firsthand. And, while I was excited for her to indulge her love of learning and build her social skills, I was anxious about her reaction to the new people, new situations and changes in routine that this day would bring (i.e. B’s least favorite things). When we talked about school in the abstract, B seemed excited, but I don’t think she fully grasped the notion that she would be facing this situation without us standing right next to her.

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So, it was with all of these mixed emotions that we picked out a first day of school outfit, packed up her backpack and headed out the door on our first ever, first day of school.

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Last night, she said that Arthur was coming to with her, but he was cast aside for Mickey this morning.

And, it all went much better than I anticipated.

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B was excited to see that her school was adjacent to one of her favorite playgrounds. She went into the building, pretty much willingly, and stood in the back of the room for awhile, surveying the scene. She made the teachers laugh when she said “No!” in answer to every single question that she was asked. Finally, she made her way over to the classroom’s play kitchen and happily played for awhile on her own.

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We watched the other kids settle in, and I was relieved when I saw how expertly the teacher was able to calm down the criers. Eventually, Chester and I were the last two parents in the room, and predictably, B broke down when we headed for the door. Tears welled in my eyes as I heard the door click shut behind us, while B yelled “No! No! No!” just beyond it. Thank God for the privacy of our car and waterproof mascara.

I kept myself distracted with work for the next couple of hours, mentally preparing to return to find B still in meltdown mode, or perhaps asleep in the corner, after crying herself into exhaustion.

But, when we returned a couple of hours later, B was smiling. Her teacher said she calmed down pretty soon after we left. She enjoyed the playground, shared her Goldfish with the teacher, made her first school art project and played with another little girl. When I picked her up, she got a little teary and said “Mommy, you came back!” But overall, she seemed happy.

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We are just at the beginning, and I know there is still an adjustment period ahead. But, for now, I am relieved, and just so darn. proud.

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