Yesterday I had a baby girl. Today she went to preschool. My baby went to preschool. WHAT?!
Mo has been in the same daycare since she was a baby - she has never gone anywhere else - so it was a really big deal to send her to a new place. And it's not just a part-time preschool situation. She goes to all-day, everyday preschool with extended care. Every day she'll arrive around 7:15 and stay until around 5:00 most days. The majority of that is in an actual preschool classroom, only the early morning and late afternoon is "extended care." So this is a big deal.
I had to drop her off this morning at a new place where she had never been (except one brief school visit), and where she didn't know anybody, and she had to stay there all day. I was nervous and so was she, just a little, but I'm so happy to say it went great. Really great.
When we got there, she rushed toward the building, pulling me behind her. But when we approached the entrance, she suddenly looked at me and said, "Mommy, will you carry me?" I told her I'd hold her hand the whole way. In the office, she hid behind me, but as we walked to her classroom, she found some courage. In her classroom, one of her teachers asked if she could find her hook and cubby, which she easily identified by finding her name. We hung her backpack, then turned to check out the room. There were only a few other kids there at that time, and they were eating breakfast. Mo had eaten at home, so she only wanted juice. While they got her some OJ, I gave her a big hug and kiss, told her I loved her and was proud of her, then got her settled in a chair. She was quiet, but brave. She didn't cry or even ask me to stay. So I left and watched her from the hall for a minute. My heart was so full of emotion as I watched her sit there, so unsure but so brave, taking it all in. I knew she would be fine.
See her sitting there? I took this from the hallway.
When I picked her up later, I walked in to find her playing with some toys. She ran to my arms, and her teachers told me she had a great day. They said she was "so sweet" and told me that she earned three stickers for good behavior. In fact, she earned the first sticker of the whole class because early in the day she picked up her toys without having to be asked.
At first Mo was a motor of words, telling me about everything she did - the library, the gym, toys, books, food, nap. I took it all in with a smile. The teachers said she ate great and napped great, and that she played a lot with one little girl in particular.
On the way home, she was very talkative, which I'm so glad for. I was worried she'd be emotionally exhausted and uninterested in sharing about her day, but she had lots to say. I asked her if she wanted to go back tomorrow. Yes! I asked her if she liked preschool better than daycare. Yes!
I'm so proud. I'm SO proud, you guys! I'm really glad we made the decision to do preschool this year. We had to make some sacrifices to make it happen - it's more expensive and logistically complicated - but she has shown me that it was the right choice and so worth it.