Everly started preschool on Monday.It didn’t quite go how I thought it would.
This Fall I read a ton of posts on Facebook about mothers’ feelings towards their child’s first day of preschool or primary school; they were all sad. I found myself at home with a toddler and newborn and thought Preschool would be such a hot ticket commodity, and why would you ever be sad to go from two kids to one! I commented on these posts that I was going to dance a happy jig on the day that Everly started preschool. Famous last words!
As the Fall wore on, it became increasingly obvious that Everly needed a more stimulating environment than I could offer her at home. She is so bright, and quick and full of energy and curiosity. Although these are indeed gifts, any parent with a child like this knows that without harnessing, these gifts spell Trouble! It seemed like every five minutes that I was putting her in the “take a break” chair for some misdemeanor. The child definitely has a gift for extorting her surroundings to cause mischief (she gets that one from her dad). Half of the things she did made me laugh, like climbing onto the counter and telling me that it is 6:30 and she needs an orange and a knife to cut it. The other half not so much, like pulling her brother off of a couch onto his head.
Preschool was like the holy grail; I needed to get her into preschool. I knew that in Preschool she would get the routine and environment that would keep her little mind busy and her little self out of trouble. So we applied and had to jump through a few hoops due to her age. Once we sent in developmental assessment paperwork proving that she could handle it, we were in! She was allowed to start November 14. B and I both did a happy jig in the kitchen. Woo-hoo, off to Preschool Everly would go.
As excited as I was for this big event, I was also nervous. I was worried about how she would get along with the little friends that she would meet. Everly isn’t known for sharing or being the most gentle of souls. I was almost convinced that she was bordering on Sociopath until a recent trip to Vancouver; a little guy on the playground fell and was crying and she walked up to him and gave him a big hug. I was shocked. This was the first time she had displayed a real genuine act of empathy all on her own. I am not sure there has been anything else that I have been more proud of her doing. I wanted to jump up from my seat and shout, that is my child, she showed empathy! EMPATHY! And did I mention she is two and a half, ha ha ha.
So Monday November 14 arrives. I made plans to leave Matty with my Nana so that I could focus all of my energy on Everly if need be, and I was pretty sure the need would be. We arrived 15 minutes before start time to get her aquainted with the educators and the space. She started playing right away; in fact, her eyes lit up like saucers and she bolted for the toys. I talked with one of the educators, let her know Everly’s toileting habits and shared that she has never been in a group setting like this on her own. I said that I wasn’t sure how she would do, so I kept my morning open to be there to support her if she needed me to.
The friends arrived, saucer eyes got even wider. Breakfast snack arrived, saucer eyes popped out of her head. She seemed comfortable so I told her that I was going to go use the washroom and would be back; the classic parent fib. She didn’t need to know that my bathroom break would be three hours, she doesn’t understand three hours. I put it in terms she would understand and be familiar with. She said okay mom. So I repeated myself. She said, it’s okay for you to leave mom. Ah, my child, why are you so smart.
So I left. I walked down the hall and I started to cry. Those embarrassing alligator tears that stop for nothing. My baby didn’t need me. What a jerk! What a stinking, stinking jerk! I could not help but feel a little bit pissed off too. Where were the tears and the mommy don’t go’s? I was prepared for a real outburst of separation anxiety and Miss Drama Queen. And instead I got Miss Well-Adjusted and Ready for School. I was baffled. I should not have been baffled though, Everly has a talent for polarized reactions and I always seem to guess the wrong one!
I walked down towards the preschool room and sat on the stairs so I could listen for screaming. I was now confident that since the outburst hadn’t happened right away it was bound to happen soon. One of the educators came out of the classroom. I asked her how things were going. She told me that about 10 minutes after I left Everly went to her coat and put it on. They asked her where she was going, she said she was leaving to go get her mom. And when they told her that wasn’t going to happen she started to cry. The educator assured me that she was quickly comforted and redirected and now was happy as a clam with her new friends. Then she took a long look at me and asked, and how are you? Ohhh, you sneaky, sneaky preschool educator. How was I? I said well I am proud of her for doing well, but I am sad that she can do this on her own, does that make sense. She assured me that I was 100% completely normal.
As I was leaving the preschool grounds I texted my dad to let him know that the transition had gone well and that Everly was having fun. He texted back that this was great news (I think that everyone thought that she was going to throw the fit of fits). I wrote back, if it’s so good, why do I feel so sad. I wrote that I felt like she doesn’t need me. He said that he was too (when I went). He then wrote that I should have got her dad to bring her. I started laughing immediately. (Brandon has a history of having to be the guy who sees to it that the not so fun jobs get done. He was the one who brought the dog to get neutered, he brought Matthew to get circumcised and he was with Matthew for the medical intervention he needed at birth. So naturally my dad signed him up for another difficult job. Oh dad. I wrote back, thank you for knowing what to say to make me laugh. He wrote, anytime. And then I had a giant a-ha moment and laughed even more. Who did I turn to when I was upset and needed someone? My dad. And who made me feel better? My dad. I realized then and there that when she does need me, she will come to me, and I will be there waiting to help her.
I then spent the next two hours blasting music in my home office while I edited a photo session from the weekend. You gotta love found time.
When I picked her up from Preschool the educator told me that she did amazing for her first day. She told me that the staff was impressed with her abilities for her age, most noticeably her ability to express herself with her words. The educator said, Everly is really good at making sure her needs are met. Bahahahahahah. Yeah, I think that’s preschool educator slang for “your child is bossy!” There were no toilet accidents either- woo-hoo! I was so proud of her it was hard to not start crying all over again. I was consumed with The Proudness.