Garrett started preschool today. (I'm going to be making this blog private in the coming weeks and until then I'm not talking about the name of the school etc.) We call it preschool but he's in the pre-k class.
I didn't think about it much over the weekend because I was so busy in Utah. I did feel bad a couple times that I was missing his last weekend before school. But I probably would have asked too much if he was ready and excited and he would have been sick of me. But when I flew home yesterday morning I was all over school prep. (After two naps. Charlie took two three-hour naps yesterday and a carseat nap. And I may have let the older kids watch TV while I napped the first time. And then all four of us napped during her second one. We needed it!) Anyway, once I felt a little rested we picked up a couple things I offered to donate to the class and I bought some fresh fruit and vegis. And after dinner I went over the checklist again to make sure we were ready. And then I showed Garrett how to open his containers that I'll be using in his lunch box. He did good, but the first few times he'd flip the lid off so fast that the container would bounce across the table and he'd shout, "I did it!" So then I filled them with strawberries and had him try without spilling. He did fine. And I'm sure a teacher would help if needed. But he's still my baby and I wanted him as ready and as confident as possible.
I got up early to pack his lunch and put in makeup. Makeup by 7am. Also a first in motherhood for me. He was so excited when he got up. I could tell he was nervous but he never said he was. Paul went with me to stay outside with the girls. (He could have just stayed home with them I guess, but I feared a meltdown and if Garrett cried, I would have cried and Paul would have taken over.) Thankfully none of that was necessary. I got him signed in and he (a little hesitantly) picked a green star to sit on. We were early so I think I thought I'd have a chance to say goodbye before school officially started. But his teacher dove right in to an activity and just welcomed each new student as they came in. I sat in a chair outside the door for a couple minutes, but then decided to go. I stepped in the class and just kind if mouthed to Garrett, "see you in a little while bud." He started to say, "I want you to stay." But his teacher told him, "she'll be back soon." I waved. And he half smiled and waved. No tears! Until I got home. I cried a little, just because it's the end of an era, and I wondered how he was doing... Is he sad, scared, lonely...
The time flew by, and before I know it I was hurrying Addie along to finish lunch and waking Charlie to load her in her carseat.
I got there about 10 minutes early because I knew his day ended on the playground and I wanted to watch him (spy on him). It took me a minute to find him, but when I did he looked happy. Not really playing with any one friend or group of kids, but running from slide to swing to playhouse. Kicking a ball back and forth a couple times. At one point he started running right towards me. I was kind of hiding behind a half-wall. He was smiling but looking at the ground and my heart kind of sunk. I wanted him to be happy to see me, but I didn't want him to be excited to be done playing. But he'd spotted another playhouse just feet from where I was watching him and he ran right in there for a minute and then was off again. He didn't even see me. Finally the whistle blew and the kids grouped together at the gate to wait for parents. I walked to the sign out desk and he finally saw me. A big smile and a "hi mom!" melted my heart. As I signed him out his teacher said, "He did great. Still getting used to the rules and routine, but he really did well." I chose not to read into or ask about the 'rules and routine' comment because who doesn't need to get used to new rules and routines? Then she said, "I wish I could have recorded him because he really did have a great first day." As Garrett walked out the gate Addie announced with open arms, "I be so so so so happy!" A couple other parents smiled and watched them hug.
One thing that impressed me was that the secretary was outside her door saying good-bye and she addressed him by name. And also the pre-school and T-K teachers said good-bye and called him by name. That makes me happy that other teachers who only combine classes on the playground get to know the other kids too.
Garrett was so excited. He was full of energy and said, "I'd like to go back to preschool again!" (Sigh of relief.) We went out for frozen yogurt before heading home for naps.
I still have my little 'what if' fears but I need to get over them. He's a good kid and I'm sure he'll make friends and we'll both get more and more used to this new phase we've entered into. I think it's a little strange for me as the mom and talking to Paul because men are usually more the "he'll be fine" and "just let him go" mentality, but Paul's more apprehensive and 'what iffy' than I am because this is BRAND NEW territory for him. He was home schooled so has no personal 'back to school butterflies in the stomach' experience. So I'm trying to reassure him without over-thinking things myself. (All this rambling makes it sound like Paul and I are one big train wreck over here. We're fine! Garrett's fine! We're all fine.
I just want the best for my kids and I keep loving them more and more with each new chapter of life.
And here's Charlie. Just doin' her third child duties and going along with all the craziness of having two older siblings.