Monday, August 31, 2009

School Daze

Milo has started preschool. His first day, last Wednesday, was awful. Friday seemed better, and today I was able to leave him with only a whimper. Let me give you a quick play-by-play:

Wednesday: We talk all about preschool for at least five days preceding the actual event and I think he's got a good grip on what will happen. The first day is only a hour long and I'll take him, then stay int he room with him for a while, then attend a parents' meeting, then collect him and bring him back to the sitter's. I thought he understood this, I really did...

We arrive and we're a bit early. They keep us waiting in the hallway so that we can all enter at the same time and no one feels like they're arriving late. Milo is fine with the first four minutes of waiting, but the last five minutes dragged on like a lifetime of him pulling on my arm, sitting and standing on my feet, trying to use my bra as a hand-hold to scale me... He's already nervous and antsy and the suspense is killing him. Finally the door opens and we enter the classroom. He looks around and remembers is from the open house last spring. I guide him to the hooks where he's supposed to hang his backpack and tell him to find his name. He can read his name and write it, so this is actually accomplished pretty quickly. We hang his backpack and face the room.

I led him guide me past three or four stations to see if any of the toys peak his interest. Of course, they don't. Holding my hand and burying his face in my bum are way more interesting than toys he's never seen... I finally find a spot at the Playmobile table where three other litte boys are playing with cowboys and native Americans. He picks up a buffalo and starts winding it's tail like he's grinding sausage. About that time, the teachers call for the parent's meeting and I bend down and tell him I'm headed upstairs.

His eyes practically pop out of his head, he flushes and covers his mouth as he starts to wail. I pull him in for a quick hug, wipe his tears, and tell him that I'm going to be upstairs for just a few minutes and that he's going to be fine. I've glanced around the room and he's the only one that appears to be crying. Sigh... He begs me not to go, but I force a bright smile and reassure him that he will be just fine without me there. Then I turn and walk away, holding my breath and expecting him to tackle me as I try to leave the room.

He didn't. I waited about 30 seconds outside the door to see if I could hear him cry, then peeked my head around the door again. Much to my amazement, he was sitting quietly in the chair, his back to me. I could see him wipe tears, but could tell that he wasn't sobbing, so I didn't feel like the worst mother ever as I followed the ant-trail of parents up to the meeting room.

When the parents' meeting concluded, I rushed downstairs to find Milo, but after peeking my head in, didn't see or hear him right away, so I opted to use the restroom before formally retrieving him. When I came into the classroom, he was at the far wall, holding a toy and interacting with it, but also peering anxiously for me. His face lit up when I saw him, I breathed a sigh of relief that the separation wasn't fatal. As I got closer, he chirped excitedly, "I'm going to go home and play my Star Wars Wii!"

"Oh, not today, little buddy. Remember, you're going back to the sitter's house?"

And then it happened. Milo let his inner brat take over. He shrieked,"I don't WANT to go to the sitter's! I want to GO HOME AND PLAY MY WII!" Saying this once might have been fine, but he adopted it as a screaming mantra, saying it over and over and over until I was ready to cry myself. We couldn't get out of the room fast enough...

I am thoroughly convinced that he's now been labeled, "THAT kid." As in the one that screams like a banshee when he doesn't get his way. It wasn't typical of him, particularly in public, so I hope it was a combination of first-day-jitters and recovering from sore throat crankiness. I hope...

He screamed all the way to the sitter's, all the way up her porch steps and was about to run screaming into her house until I hissed at him that the babies were sleeping so he needed to be quiet, too, and that if he didn't stop crying by the time I counted to three, I was going to ask that he lay down for a nap, too.

"One..." Whine, moan.
"Two..." Sniffle, whimper.
"Three..." Silence. THANK GOD!

Friday: Milo asked that I walk him to preschool if it wasn't raining. It wasn't raining, so I put on my comfy shoes, walked to the sitter's, and met a smiling Milo in her foyer. He was eager to walk and even, for the first time ever, wore his backpack without complaint. of course, it was completely empty, but he was happy to put it on. I silently wish for a better drop-off and set out for the five block walk, his little warm hand inside mine. He hops over sidewalk cracks and chats the entier way there in a funny little stream-of-consciousness monologue. He tells me that he wants "three more little sisters and two little brothers" because "the girl babies are cuter." We'll see about THAT request.

When we get there, we're early again, and knowing how anxious he got just standing in the hallway, I say I need to use the bathroom and we duck into the ladies room. I say duck with a smile because there's a big duckie rug and a duckie soap dish and a duckie wall hanging in there. Milo laughs at all of the duckies and is happy to see a step stool at the sink so that he can wash his hands unassisted.

We finish up in the bathroom and get in line to go into the classroom. We're close to the door, so when the teacher opens it, we're the first in! Milo likes this as he's not held up by traffic when it comes to finding his name. He recognized it quickly and proudly hangs his backpack up on the little wooden peg. The he looks around the room, walks past a couple of stations, and finally decides, "I'm just going to stand here." I say, "OK, little buddy. I'm going to go back to work. Daddy will pick you up and you'll go back to the sitter's."

"I KNOW that Mom. You already TOLD me that." True, but since he didn't remember me telling him that the first day, I figured telling him a couple of extra times wouldn't be harmful...

Scott picked Milo up on time and dropped him off at the sitter's without incident. Milo announces, "I LOVE preschool!" Yay!

Today: Milo was clingy at daycare drop-off this morning, so I was anticipating another rough transition to preschool. He decided he wanted a ride today, so I picked him up and got him out the door. Drop-off was great, thanks in part to a disorganized alphabet puzzle -- he cant' resist puzzles or letters right now, so when I left him, he was busy with the puzzle and barely nodded. Whoopie!!!

So he's smiling and happy, but today as I pulled away from the sitter's, Violet's got her little nose pressed against the screen door, calling, "Mommy! I go, too! I go Mommy's car! Mommy! Mommy!" I guess I can't get my exit right... It just wouldn't be a day without me leaving a child crying for me somewhere...

Weekend funnies: Milo got caught by a cousin saying, "God Dammit!" Couldn't lie with a straight face when we asked him about it. We reminded him that we don't say things like that and suggested, "Oh, man!" and "Holy cow!" instead. He decided that he preferred his own contribution, "Holy macaroni!" Works for me.

Last weekend he and Scott were cleaning out the garage as I nursed (literally) a sick Violet all day. They apparently had a discussion about off-colored language:

Milo: Can I say, "What the heck?"
Scott: Not really, I don't think Mommy would like that at all.


Milo: Can I just say it in the garage with you?

Violet funny: We were at the fabric store and Violet spied a Tinkerbell pattern and squealed. I asked her if she wanted me to make her a Tinkerbell costume for Halloween. She was trilled and agreed to be "Tikka bawl." in fact, she talked about it non-stop all of Saturday. On Sunday, Scott's mom asked her what she was going to be for Halloween.

She answered "Rina!" (ballerina) without hesitation. Well... OK then. I think Tinkerbell can dance like a ballerina, don't you?

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