Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's Not College or Anything

But it felt like a really big day.

Amelia started preschool today.


Our sweet little Bug, who used to cry more than she slept and who loved mashed sweet potatoes and whose BFFs are dogs, donned a luggage-sized backpack, a real pair of shoes, and trotted off to school today. With other kids and teachers and lessons and group naps and recess and tiny potties.

Yeah, that cute little lunch pail from Pottery Barn didn't look that big until she was holding it. Don't judge me. I'm new at this and it was all rather harried, getting her here. The good news is that she will be able to take when she DOES go off to college, which, after today, will probably happen by Halloween.

Since she was sick last week, when she was supposed to start, it was a little anti-climactic today. Last week, I was a mess thinking about her starting and then by this week, it was more like, 'Is she going to school THIS week?!' And then it was a busy night and morning getting ready. I wasn't thinking much about it. I knew to take my camera to mark the occasion, which didn't feel very occasional at all.

And then I hurried through a few pictures, grabbed her hand, and took her to school. She walked in, and after I pried her off of my hand, sat down with the other 2-year-olds to listen to a story. I'd planned on hanging out for a while to make sure she was adjusted, but as soon as she tuned into the story, there was nothing left for me to do. I whispered to her that mama was going to work and that I would see her in the afternoon. "Have a great day, Sweetie. I love you very much." She didn't look away from the story, but leaned her cheek in my direction for a kiss. (On a funny side note, one of the poor kids next to Amelia, heard me say good bye and started wailing for her mama. It almost shook A up too.) I walked out, closed the (half) door. I lingered a bit and watched her. She looked up and saw me leaving and I could see her little lips begin to quiver and say something about 'mama' before looking back at the teacher and listening to the story again. I waved and left, walked out the door, down the steps, and towards my car. I blinked back a few tears, started the car, and went to work.

And that was that.

Or so I thought. I got to school early to grade some papers and get settled for the week. (Yeah, my week starts on Tuesday. Don't hate.) I looked all around my car only to realize that I'd left all of my work at home. I never do that! No work on me, I decided to go through the pre-preschool pics. Um, only 3? And they are pretty crappy too. I had a whole photo shoot planned and this is all I got? What?! Went to class and then during my break, went to my car. I just sat there waiting for the First Day Phone Call from Amelia's teacher. Just sat there and waited. Talked to the teacher, went back to class only to realize that I hadn't eaten during my whole break. Or all day for that matter. Ended class and then ran passed my students out of the classroom and practically squealed my tires (is that the right word for that?) out of the parking lot and into the preschool lot.

I guess I was stressed all day and failed to recognize it.

I picked her up, asked the questions, and packed her into the car. And then it happened. The tears. On the way home. Such a weird time, but there they were. My baby went to school today. It's only preschool and she's only 2, I know. But on the way home as I asked her about her day, I realized that this is the first time that she will have a whole part of her life that does not include me. That will be just between her and her teachers and her friends. She will have a whole world there that I won't ever really know. Or be a part of. It's hers alone.

And it's just the beginning of her having a life outside and away from mommy. And holy shit, that just. . . hurts.

Anyway, enough about me. Amelia had a GREAT day. She adjusted well, played with other kids, and had fun at school. She was talking about it and excited and said she wants to go back. She didn't nap (surprise, surprise) but did lie quietly on her mat while everyone else slept, which is a real surprise. She loved snack time and spent most of the day reading books to herself on the blue chair. She also went all day with no potty accidents! Totally shocking for such a big transition. Success! Oh and when they played with shaving cream, she balked at touching the stuff and getting her hands sticky.

Have I mentioned how much I love that kid?

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