Monday, March 3, 2014

Preschoolin'

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Henry started preschool last week, yay! It's been a wonderful thing, but definitely a transition...and because he only goes two half days so we're still in the transition really. On his first morning I was a little emotional- half sad that this was the start of Henry being away from me more and more, and half in shock that this day was already here. The whole morning went by quickly and before I knew it we were right there, walking up to the gate to enter the school. Right away he let go of my hand and ran off to the playground, yelling "see ya, Mommy!" with a big grin on his face. So funny. I had already known that that part wouldn't be hard for him. As much as he loves his mama, he's fiercely independent and not shy about new people or situations, so I knew that saying goodbye wouldn't be too bad.

I went over and talked to the teachers, put his lunch in the fridge and his water in his cubby, found Henry for a little hug goodbye, and Charlie and I headed home. It was very weird to have Henry away from us all morning. Weird and a little sad, but also great to have one-on-one Charlie time. I thought about that more throughout the day, and how Henry had undivided Mommy time his entire life until Charlie was born. Subsequent children never really get that, and I'll be soaking up every minute of it with sweet Charlie boy.

So. The very quiet day at home flew by of course and before I knew it it was time to pick up the big preschooler. When I arrived the kids were outside again and Henry ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug. "Mommmmmyyyy!" Smiles all around- the best feeling ever. I talked to the teachers for a bit (there are three of them for 10 kids, very awesome), and they let me know that he had a great day and that it was no big deal but he had had some trouble with the transition- playtime to circle time, or sitting still when it was time to sit still etc, and would get angry when told what to do. It made sense to me because although we're around other kids all the time, he's never been in a structured environment with someone else giving him direction.

We went home and Henry and I talked about it and ran through scenarios together, and ways he can respond and act, but I will still nervous for the next day he attended school. That drop-off was great again, but when I came to pick him up he was sitting in a side yard with one of his teachers, crying and angry. The teacher let me know that Henry had refused to sit at the lunch table while eating and got very upset when he was told that he had to. The three of us talked for awhile once he calmed down, and we left with him smiling (which is what matters) but I was feeling a little upset that this second day not only didn't go better than his first day, it actually seemed to be worse.

So over the weekend we talked and talked about school. We practiced sitting and eating our lunch at the table, we role played circle time, we discussed saying "okay!" instead of being obstinate. And this morning while driving to school we talked about it again. I dropped him off and made a little wish that today would go better. And guess what? It did! I went to pick him up a little early and watched the class for a bit (Henry didn't notice I was there) and he was being so great. Sitting when it was time to sit, listening when it was time to listen. He ate lunch at the table, no problem, and the teachers told me he had the BEST day. I could have cried.

I know it's only week two and there are all sorts of days on the horizon- good, bad, terrible- but we're a week and a half in and I'm just so happy that he's loving it. It's weird this uncharted territory stuff- aka all of parenting with a first child. We're all just doing the best we can, and it always seems a little harder when you introduce outside things into your little bubble. School, sports, new friends...it's all such a new world for us and it's exciting and a little scary too. At three years old and this is just the beginning for Henry, and I feel lucky I get to be on this adventure right alongside him. Here's to week two!

17 comments:

  1. How handsome does he look? and that smile! geez! You are doing a great job tackling those hurdles- my daughter is only 19 months and it's crazy how much you have to teach, talk and show. You most also be proud that Henry is learning to tackle these experiences head on and growing because of it. yay! to week 2.

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    1. Thank you so much Erika! It is so crazy how present you have to be to have it all go smoothly- I can only imagine how the later years will be!

      <3

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  2. He is such a gorgeous boy... He will learn his way...And bring his own personality along.

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    1. Thank you so much Stephanie! :) And I agree- his personality is so big that it's pretty awesome to think about that.

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  3. I think a lot of parents forget that just sitting down and talking with their child can overcome most issues. Most of the time, punishment isn't necessary. Children are so literal and they THRIVE off routine. That's so great that you connected with him and he's adjusting well. It even opens up future talks when he feels uncomfortable or confused in certain situations.

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  4. You're doing a great job with Henry! I've got a newborn and a 3 year old who is in preschool 5 mornings a week now and I'm wondering ow in the world you had newborn Charlie with Henry to keep busy all day?

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  5. This was a very enjoyable post to read. Very honest, so thanks for that. :)
    I'm so glad Henry is adjusting well to pre-school life.. I can definitely see it taking some time as with most things, and eventually he'll just be so used to it. He probably already is!! Can you imagine how difficult that must be for a child to be so used to one way of living and then have everything change in an instant? It's really admirable that you guys practiced once you found he had a difficult time on his second day .. I bet that helped so much!

    Have a great day

    Jessica
    www.littlemapleleaf.blogspot.com

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  6. He looks so happy! (Definitely a heart breaker there).

    I remember thinking just MONTHS after my nephew was born... how would he handle his first day of school? (Because I loathed it from beginning to end). Fortunately, he took to it so well. (Until they moved a few weeks later to Austin. I can't believe he's in his first year of college now).

    The time goes by so incredibly fast, so thank goodness for preserving these memories via photographs and video. This really is a special time for you.

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  7. I'm so happy he is enjoying school! I can imagine it being very difficult to transition into that environment when you aren't used to it.

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  8. Awwww. It sounds like you guys are doing all the right things. I'm sure it's a huge transition for him (and his classmates too!) and that things will continue to get easier. You are a good mama Danielle.

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  9. Play * Role playing really is the answer to most dilemmas. Enjoy the one on one time with Charlie and hugs for your big boy!

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  10. His haircut! I'm dying! Such a cutie.

    Preschool is the place where kids learn to listen, follow the teacher's instructions, etc. Don't beat yourself up that he had a tough day or two, Mama. You're doing a fabulous job :)

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  11. Oh man! It took me ten minutes to read this sweet little post of yours because I kept tearing up, thinking about what it will be like when Georgie goes to preschool in September. I swear I have sleepless nights, worrying about how much I will miss him. But i know it is something he will absolutely love and deep down I know I'm ready. It's going to be hard though.

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  12. Hi Danielle, I've been working in preschools for about two years now, so let me just say how awesome it is that you are talking through the changes with Henry and giving him tools to be successful at school! It's great to hear that he is adjusting well...I've worked with so many different children transitioning, and it is a little different for everyone. But it sounds like Henry is doing great, and kudos to you for working with him.

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  13. I just want to say, as a teacher, you sound like an amazing mother and I wish I could have more parents like you for the kids in my class. So many parents just expect their kids to "get school" when they drop them off in preschool or kindergarten or even in the third grade which I teach now. It makes it hard on both the child and the parents when the child is misbehaving and then the parents' response can sometimes be negative. I love your approach of teaching Henry tools and role playing and discussing school so it's not just this foreign world you leave him in some days. Can't wait to hear more of Henry's adventures in preschool (and Charlie's as he gets bigger!)

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