Today was Ben's first day of preschool! He did a wonderful job, and according to the teachers, really enjoyed himself most of the time.
We have been talking a bit about preschool on and off this summer to help him prepare for it. In the beginning, he would say that he didn't want to go, or would ask if I would be able to stay and play with him. But after several conversations explaining how it would be and discussing it all, he started to get more excited about it. And after the open house last week, he really started to seem more excited by the idea.
We talked openly about how he might be nervous, but then we also talked about some things that he could do to help himself feel better. He knew there was a train table there, and a good friend of his (Isabelle) would also be there, so we talked a lot about how he could always play with the trains or sit next to Isabelle if he wasn't feeling brave.
Last night, as we were putting him to bed, he told me that he wouldn't be nervous and then spontaneously during prayers thanked God for his new preschool friends...so cute!
Then this morning, he woke up in a good mood and excited about going. On the way to school, it was just he and I because my mom and sister stopped by to visit for a bit so I left Molly with them to take him in by himself. We talked in the car, and he suddenly said that he was feeling nervous. So we talked about how it would be ok and what he could do to feel ok.
When we got there, we went in and washed his hands, which everyone does when entering the school, and then he had me hold his hand as we walked to the table to choose an activity. He told me that he was nervous but that he wouldn't cry and that he was ok. I gave him a kiss and left. Quick and painless!
There is a viewing window into the room so I watched for a few minutes. He seemed a little hesitant, but otherwise fine. He mostly just watched the other kids and the teachers, and seemed content to just sit and take it all in for a while.
When we came back to pick him up, he was happily playing. Of course, as soon as he saw me there he started to tear up, as did most of the other kids when they saw their parents there for pick up. But he didn't actually cry, and came out of the room with a big hug for me and a big smile on his face.
Here are some pics from home and school. He proudly showed his first school painting!
It is so hard to believe that he is really old enough now, though truly he is completely ready, and has been for a long time. Honestly the most difficult thing to accept is that this marks the beginning of the end of our time together at home as a little family-at-home unit. Since the day he was born, our schedule has been up to us to make. Feeling lazy? Then just take slow walks around the neighborhood and explore what is around us. Feeling pent up? Head to the zoo or Science Center at the drop of a hat. Any old plan on any old day will be just fine.
But not as of this point on. Now, we have a school schedule that we need to follow. His teachers and his classmates are expecting him, and there is a whole world of discovery that is awaiting him at preschool.
Now, I will admit that I am being a little dramatic here. He only goes to preschool on Tues and Thurs mornings. We have every afternoon to do whatever we want, and we will always have all summer long, if I can get my work schedule to cooperate. But just the idea that we have begun preschool now, and kindergarten is a rather short time away. And when we get there, we will have commitments and plans every day, and I will go back to work full time at some point. So, really, I guess I am just trying to remember to enjoy every minute of this time that we have together, and to enjoy these preschool days while we have them! Thankfully Molly has 2 years still before her turn for preschool!