Monday, September 12, 2011

how far we've come

This week S will be starting her new preschool and I can't help but reflect on how far we have come in the past year!
This time last year S was about to begin her "Two's" class at a school that I could already tell was a bad fit for us (always ALWAYS listen to your gut!) and I was not only a nervous wreck but 9 months pregnant. I was worried, she was worried, we were both anxious, tearful yet eager.. I worried about how she would make friends, how she might be received by her peers and teachers, what would happen if she got hurt or scared and I wasn't there to comfort her, what if she got lost, or forgotten..
I was sleepless and it didn't help that she was too. She cried any time I said (with a forced smile and way too much enthusiasm) "this is where you will go play with your friends and mommy will come right back and get you when you are done!"- in fact she welled up any time we passed the school which is almost next door so often. And we barely made it through the year. We almost didn't. She was anxious every day, she had night terrors, she cried every single day before school and that was on the good days. We were planning on pulling her out at winter break (due to the advice of our friends, families, pediatrician, child development experts..) but they switched her to a new class and lo and behold she met a wonderful little friend who got her through the rest of the year and she did okay. She never once wanted to go to school but did at least look forward to playing with her friend.
This week, this year, is different. Her new school is already a perfect match and it hasn't even begun yet. The kids had orientation in May and have spent the whole summer doing weekly play dates so by now parents and kids are all familiar, comfortable, friends. The teacher even came for a home visit and S was so excited to show her some of her favorite things (no way- the teacher has a buzz light year doll at her house too?! cool!!).. To top it off I will be in the classroom as a parent volunteer every six weeks or so (as will all of the other parents) and we are both thrilled at that chance to share the experience together.
We smile and wave every time we drive by and she chats endlessly about all the fun she will have there with all of her friends. And I know she will. We are both going into this confident. And comforted. And relaxed, eager, and genuinely enthusiastic.
I know how much we have grown over the last year, how much time and experience has changed each of us. I know it might be rocky the first few days, I expect a few tears from either or both of us, but I also know this will be good. Very good. Today at a play date with two of her future classmates the kids got a bit carried away with the paint, this my child who a year ago would freak out if she had a drip of paint on her fingers and make me stand by with a wash cloth to wipe her clean as she went..

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