Marcie started preschool today. In many ways, I think the first day of school is much harder on us parents than on our kids.
Marcie has been asking to go to "schoo" for at least a couple weeks now. She is usually with us or Grandma S. when one of us drops off Casey at school. She likes to visit Casey’s classroom and say hello to the class turtle. She likes to follow after Casey and give him a kiss good-bye. She likes to give Casey’s teacher a hug. She feels safe and comfortable at the school.
Last week, in preparation for her transition to preschool, we went to visit. Casey and I dropped off his lunch and signed in. Then Casey led Marcie by the hand all over the big kids’ playground, introducing Marcie to his friends and teachers. He stopped off at every group of children and said, “This is my baby sister, Marcie. She is coming to _____ School now.” He walked us over to the little kids’ playground, where he stood at the gate and watched her. When one of his best friends Kaitlyn came to say hello, he told her he was busy with his baby sister. And once he saw that she was going to be okay, he called to Marcie to come give him kisses, and she did so through the gate.
Marcie hung out on the playground for almost an hour. Her new teacher introduced her to some new friends. She discovered the slide, which entertained her for quite a while. She poured sand over the top of her head. She climbed in the little police car and onto the tricycle and pedaled herself around.
And when it was time to start class, she lined up just like the other children and followed them into the room. She wandered over to the carpeted area and sang along during the morning song. When they held up her name card, she eagerly jumped up to take it and put it up on the chart with the other names.
During arts and crafts, she dutifully painted glue onto the page with the paint brush, then washed her hands thoroughly at the sink. She sang and danced and shook a maraca during music time, and she sat on the toilet and giggled during potty time.
When her teacher scooped out cheese sauce and pretzel sticks, she said, “please” and “thank you.” And she guzzled down grape juice like it was candy (or at least the part of the cup that she didn’t dribble all down the front of her shirt).
After the time for our visit came to an end, she gave each teacher a high five and a hug, and she waved good bye to her friends, calling out “good bye” and “see you later.”
At the end of the morning, I was so proud of my big girl. She had such a good time playing with the other children and loved being part of the group. And when I asked if she wanted to go back to school, she nodded her head yes vigorously.
But that was just a classroom visit. Today was her first day of school. Her first full day of school. And she did fantastically well. She cried a little at nap time. Which, really, isn't that different from home! But then she took a nap! She ate her lunch. She played. And when I went to pick her up, she and Casey came running, screaming at me: "MOMMY! MOMMY!" and ran directly into my arms. Scooping up my kids to bear hug them simultaneously as they chant my name in sheer joy-- that's one of my all-time favorite feelings.
Anyway, here's Marcie visiting school (click the collage to see a larger version and view the photos more clearly):