Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 259.

Day one of real preschool. Well, Ok, it was only an hour long (and real real preschool is 3 hours long). But, she did it mostly by herself. I stayed in the hall, and she had been saying for the last week she couldn't WAIT until she went by herself and I wasn't in there. I was thrilled with this new change of attitude, but admittedly skeptical that it would all pan out so easily.

First, can we just take a moment to acknowledge the choke-you-up moment that happens when your baby goes to school for the first time. This isn't sunday school. This is SCHOOL - preschool, yes, but real life school! Dylan, I can't believe you are old enough to do this (where did the last 4.5 years go?), while at the same time you are so old and so ready. You amaze me hourly with the maturity of your conversation, the brilliancy of your interpretations...of other people and the world around you. Every monday, wednesday and friday, for three hours, I will miss the bright light that you shine in Noah's and my life. Sometimes you drive us crazy, but mostly you just make our world a happier, funner, more interesting place. You are so full of pure life. Thankfully, you asked me tonight at the dinner table if I would go to college with you, so I guess you won't be leaving me too soon. :)

So, back to today, when we were heading into the preschool building. We hadn't really talked much about the separation yet, on purpose, and so I wasn't sure what we were in for. About 10 steps from the door, holding my hand she said: "I think I might be a little nervous." (Inside my head: Really? That's great, cause so am I, babe.) We talked about how I was nervous going to preschool by myself and how it ended up being so much fun and I got to do a lot of cool stuff and make some really great new friends. That seemed to suffice.

We did the washing hands and entering the classroom routine and I stayed for a few minutes, but apparently I was talking to the other parents too much? She promptly asked me to leave and "go in the hall" - as I had planned to do. So, I told the teachers Dylan's request and went out. I was planning to go to the preschool playground with Noah (right outside the building), but when I mentioned to Dylan that's where I'd be, she didn't like that idea. She said I had to PROMISE I would stay in the hallway. Small hint of panic in the tone of voice. Of course I promised.

About 5 minutes later she ran out of the room with a sandwich she had made for me in the play kitchen. I wanted to take it and eat it and tell her how good it was and ask for some more...afterall, that's how we do things at home, right? Well, the teacher was soon to follow, and I suggested that Dylan serve the sandwich to one of her friends in the class. I took a pretend bite, walked her back into the classroom and said a swift goodbye. I heard a small discussion going on about how the children need to stay in the classroom...afterall this is school (and afterall, please don't lose my child because she keeps running out after me!)

About 10 minutes later, Dylan appeared again. This time the teacher was with her, and Dylan was wearing a fur shawl around her neck. She was playing with it nervously, and Miss Laura said, "Dylan needed to say hi to her mommy." So, I held back the tears as my first born comically told me: "Mom, I'm done here."

Miss Laura was great and coaxed her back inside, keeping it light and playful with words of "Yeah, we're almost done" (yeah..only 40 minutes to go in the class...ALMOST done...) and "Mommy will wait right out there for us."

And she didn't come out again. No tears. No real meltdowns. But maybe that would be easier...seeing her emotions on her sleeve instead of wondering what she's thinking/worrying about/nervous about.

I am grateful for child-led problem solving.

We sat at dinner and she told me she didn't think she wanted to go back to preschool. We talked about why she was nervous, and I didn't get much out of her on that subject. But, she requested that we come up with a list of ways she could help herself not be so nervous (which I feel like means sad, scared, worried, timid, all of the above...) at school.

I got a pad of paper and a pencil and I wrote down every suggestion that she approved - whether it was mine, hers or even Noah's (although none of his got approved - they mostly revolved around playing with a soccer ball...).

She decided she should take this list with her to school, so she could remember what to do if she got nervous.

I have to document it here, because otherwise I might forget this special exercise forever.

If Dylan gets nervous at preschool she could...
- Jump up and look for a spot where kids aren't there so I can just play alone (hers)
- Bring a stuffed animal to go cuddle (mine)
- Pull the hair on my eyebrow for a little bit (hers - first she said "pull on my eyelashes" and I promptly reminded her that eyelashes will come out if you pull too hard...and maybe unnecessarily freaked her out about that...but geeesh, her beautiful long eyelashes!)
- Go find Calvin & Kyla to play with (combo of hers and mine...Calvin she knows already and Kyla is in violin with her as well as preschool so she's seen her a few more times than the other kids)
- Make friends with Myla, who's also shy (mine)
- Lay down on the rug and rest for a little bit (hers)
- Help someone that is crying & ask them "Do you want to play with me?" (joint effort)
- Practice hugging God (hers)

I'll just end this emotional post (cause yeah, I'm bawling about now...) by sharing that at bedtime, she wondered how she could hug God, and I suggested maybe she could wrap her arms around herself and God would feel it. She then got off of the bed and showed me how she would do it (making sure no one at school was looking, she said). She got down on her knees and lifted both hands up into the air and just beamed.


  1. I'm amazed at how spiritual Dylan is! Practice hugging God...that's beautiful...and sure to make her feel better!

  2. LOVED your post. and the list was so cute and beautiful. love it love it love it. thinking about you guys a lot this week, even though we aren't talking. :-)

  3. This is so amazing. I am blown away. Dylan is so intuitive, so self-aware, so reflective. Really, the fact that she can recognize these emotions in herself and then take the initiative to problem-solve her way through those emotions... oh my goodness, Hilary. Be sure to take the time during this emotional week to congratulate yourself on bringing up so beautifully this child who is already so in touch with her feelings. Because that's more than half the battle.