Monday, September 24, 2012


The first day of preschool.  I have done this eight times before.  But of course this time, my ninth time taking one of my 4 year olds to a first day of preschool,  had a special spot in my heart.  She is the youngest.  I doubt I'll do this ever again. She could very well be my LAST preschooler!   I didn't want this year to come so quickly!

She was so excited for this day!  It was all she could talk about during the summer, how she would be starting "school" soon.  She wanted to know how many kids would be in her class, what her teachers would be like, and what kind of things they would do in the classroom.   Would they sing songs?  yes.   Would they paint?  yes.  Would she make friends? Absolutely!
 Big sister Aislynn walked Aria to her classroom while I lagged behind with the camera

I love preschool.  I love sending my kids to preschool.  I always start my kids in preschool the year before they go into Kindergarten, and that could be at age 4 or age 5, depending on the child.  But we only do one year of preschool, because well...I really, really like my little ones home with me!  I'm selfish that way.  So only two or three mornings a week of preschool the year before they start Kindergarten.

 one last smile for mom before heading into the classroom

I don't think preschool is necessary for academic success.  I don't send mine for that reason.  I send mine so that they can have FUN and make friends, and hey if they learn their ABC's and 123's while they are there, that's a perk!  I just want them to have fun and have a classroom experience.   If they are not having FUN, then there's no point in going.  I sent Andrew at the age of four, and he cried and cried for three weeks.  He hated it.  So I withdrew him from the program.  The faculty kept assuring me that eventually he would get used to it, that they ALL do eventually.  And I said to them, "And how sad is that?"   I'm a stay-at-home mom.  My kids do not have to go to preschool for childcare reasons, so I see no reason in forcing them to go.  Andrew was not emotionally ready for preschool at the age of four.  So we waited a year and put him in at five, and he did great!  He loved it a year later.  He just needed one more year at home with mommy and siblings.  And there's nothing wrong with that.

Aria, on the other hand,  is more than ready for this short 3-hour separation from family two times a week.  She didn't even look back at me when I dropped her off.  She just went straight into that classroom, hung up her book bag, and sat down on the classroom rug.  Didn't even look up  to see if I was still there.  

I think part of me wanted her to look up and search me out,  a part of me wanted to feel needed,  if only for a brief reassuring smile before the classroom door closed. But she didn't need that.  She was confident and just fine on her own. And of course that's a good thing.

I'm happy to say that I did not walk away bawling my eyes out, as I saw one mom doing. No, I didn't do that.  But I won't say that I didn't get a lump in my throat as I walked back to my car.  And I won't say that I enjoyed the silent car ride back home and that I didn't keep glancing at the empty car seat in the back, or that my house didn't feel incredibly empty for those three hours that she wasn't there, or that I didn't watch the clock constantly and practically speed to the school at pick-up time....or that I wasn't more excited to see her face than she was to see mine.  

Because yeah, it was like that.   And I'm quite sure it will be a repeat of these emotions when she starts Kindergarten next year. Does everyone feel like this with their last child?   Is everything that she does from now on going to evoke these feelings in me?  

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  1. Reminds me of my son's first day of preschool. I had to pry him off of me just to go to class. But now he's doing okay.

  2. I had to smile as my eyes got a little teary when I read this. I posted on FB a couple weeks ago about my emotions as I dropped our youngest off for her freshman year of high school. I was surprised at the emotion that hit me...reminded me of kindergarten except they didn't invite me in! :)
    My answer is yes....everything our "baby" does is edged with a bit of bittersweet. Maybe that's a good thing because it makes us aware of those precious moments.
    I loved reading your words this morning!

  3. I'm like that with Z, the only boy, the "maybe" last. I was surprised at how I felt when he started preschool this year. I hadn't fel that way with the girls (well, no, I did with the first when I took her to daycare the first few days). I love how Aria is ready and you let her be rather than cling to her (which I saw many moms doing when dropping Z off on day 1). The kid would go in, the mom would need another hug, and it basically upended the child's initial confidence. I will admit to wanting him to cling a little more (oh, he did for 3 days, but on day 4 it was straight up see ya!). But I forced myself to walk away (OK yes, I did circle back to peek through the glass but that is so beside the point).

  4. :(

    I cried. Bawled actually. And, so did my son. It was awful. I hated leaving him crying. Hated.

    And, today... I have to take him back for round two.

    Ugh.. feel sick already. I cannot wait for the day he walks in excited.

  5. We didn't send our first to preschool. He is so outgoing and has always made friends quite easily. DS2, however, is so very shy and we decided to send him just for the experience...for 2.5 hours 4x/week. He was initially quite apprehensive, but grew into the idea. Never any meltdowns, just extremely nervous. Now, in kindergarten, he's started off apprehensive, but after the initial couple of weeks, he's doing quite well as his confidence builds. I think every child is different and I'm really curious now to see what DS3 is like!!! :) I don't know if it gets any easier from child to child! I still get a lump in my throat sometimes...even in the middle of the school year when it hits me just how quickly childhood goes by!

  6. While reading your post, I reminisced about my son's first day of preschool. You're stronger than I am...I did bawl my eyes out but only when I got to my car. :)

  7. Hi, Aria is beautiful. My son is going to preschool next year. I have to be strong too :)

  8. Wow! She is really cute, and I can see that she's really excited on her first day of preschool. Congrats to her as well as her proud parents.