Thursday, September 4, 2014

First Day Of School!

When we were looking at enrolling Brigid in school three years ago, the Catholic church across the street from our neighborhood required that the child be two before he or she started school, which meant that my missed-the-cutoff-by-a-month little girl was almost three when she started. We sent her to a M/W/F class, as the school recommended for all older two-year-olds, and I can clearly remember how easy it was to drop her off on the first day. She walked in, took note of all of the new kids and toys, and barely even said good-bye to me when I left. Of course, a few days into it, the newness started to wear off, and Brigid spent some time in the preschool director's office, to calm down away from the rest of the kids while she had meltdowns around not wanting to be there anymore.

When we moved, and enrolled Brigid in the school at the Catholic church near our new house, I noticed that they had an 18-month old class available, which meant that technically, Caitlin could go to school this year if we wanted to send her. I'm not sure I would have considered it, if not for my new work arrangement and my desire to not have to spend four hours every night working if there's an option for me to get more done during the day. And even then, I was very 'OH, MY BABY!' about the whole thing, until I took her with me for Brigid's open house before the start of this year. She was just so happy to be there, to be playing with toys that weren't hers, to be around all new kids, to be meeting so many new people. At one point, Brigid was sitting in a circle with a couple of other little girls from her class, and Caitlin just kept walking around the circle, patting all of the girls on the head while smiling at me in excitement.

In fact, she was having so much fun, I talked to the preschool director about whether there were any openings in that 18-month/2-year old class, and since there were, I decided on the spot to go ahead an enroll her, too. I took her to the open house for that class a few days later, and I knew, watching her run around her new class, that I'd made the right choice.

We're only a few days into school (or two days for Caitlin and three for Brigid), and they both seem to be loving it. On the first day, Brigid walked right in, found her nametag at her seat, and sat down like she owned the room. I actually had to remind her to say goodbye to me. Caitlin ran into her room and didn't look back. I finally looked at the teacher and said, 'Ok...I guess I'll go now?' I didn't want to make a big deal about leaving and create a problem that wasn't there, but it still felt weird to just leave, with no acknowledgment from C. I did it anyway, and when I went to pick her up that afternoon, about half of the class was in full meltdown mode, while Caitlin sat on the floor, playing with blocks. When she saw me, she smiled, and started throwing blocks in my general direction. As one does. In the words of the preschool director: That one is a force to be reckoned with.

(I joke that anyone that's spent any amount of time with her loves her to death, but every single person that knows her also gives us the 'better you than me' sympathy nod within the first few minutes of meeting her.)

Brigid actually tells me about her day when she gets home now, and Caitlin's teachers have nothing but good things to say about her so far. She hasn't cried once on drop-off, and she's just as happy when she's being picked up as she was when she got there four hours earlier. They think it's funny that she calls everyone mama, which yeah, of course she does. It's the only thing she calls anything. Brigid has won two games of BINGO, and she can't wait for Friday, because Friday is when they get into the prize box. As she's told me every day that she's come home. They're both thrilled to be there, they're both learning new things and meeting new people, and I couldn't be happier with the way things are going so far.

Now, if only they could maybe teach Caitlin to talk already...

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