"So, it's for real." "This is really happening." "There's no turning back now." These are all things that I keep thinking and telling myself throughout my day as it begins to sink in that Trace is now in Preschool! I feel like we prepared him the very best that we could. We made several visits to his school, checked out his classroom, met his teacher, and even played on his playground. I'm thinking, "This kid is ready!" But little did I know, the real question I should have been asking was "Am I?" The first day went great!...better than either of us even expected. He got all dressed in his uniform and was excited as could be.
We brought him to his classroom and then walked with him to breakfast in the cafeteria. We watched him as he was served his first tray of food and carried it across the cafeteria so independently.
Once he was busy eating, we asked if it was okay that we go and come back to get him later. He was fine with that and didn't seem to care that we were leaving.
And so we left, both a little surprised that neither of us had lost it or had even shed a single tear. Well, Ernie claims he didn't, but he did get a little choked up at one point. ;) I kept waiting to feel sad, but I never did. I was just so excited for him. How could I be sad?
The rest of the week went great. We received good comments on behavior and he seemed to be having lots of fun each day. That was until Friday of the first week, he tried testing his boundaries a little with some spitting, but we nipped that in the bud really quick and it's been smooth sailing since then, especially since his teacher implemented the rewards program for good behavior. Stars and smiley faces = treasure chest prizes!
Then week 2 began and reality began to sink in. Trace isn't coming back. He's gone for good. Or at least that's what it feels like. I think the first week was wrapped in so much excitement, it was hard to be sad or even realize that he'd be gone for the most part of every day. But when week 2 rolled around and Fisher and I cleaned the house from top to bottom and ran all of the errands we could possibly run, something happened. It got quiet...really quiet. Sadness crept in, tears made up for lost time, and I began to question everything. I began thinking, maybe he's still too young for this. Maybe this school isn't right for him. Maybe we should have waited another year...and so on. But never once did he show any sign of resistance. He came home happy as could be everyday. He talked about each new friend that he made as he began learning thier names. He did have trouble remembering his day to tell me about it, though. I think after naptime his memory was erased. So, it was a struggle getting things out of him and because I wanted him back so badly, I assumed the worst.
It wasn't until Open House that I began to see what all he was really doing throughout his day. In just a couple of weeks they had accomplished so much and I could see that he was already learning a lot.
After talking with his teachers and learning more about his routine, I realized that this is where Trace needs to be and that it is good for him. His memory has gotten better, or he just got so used to me asking about everything little thing he did each day that he started trying harder to remember. ;)
We've also had some fun things going on at school that have kept us busy and involved. The PreK class threw the first teacher's appreciation lunch of the year. It turned out great and it was nice to spend the day at school meeting the faculty and staff. They were all so upbeat and positive. It was nice to see how much they enjoyed their job and how much they appreciated the lunch. Trace and I made these cute little candy pencils for his teachers that day.
On top of that, it was also Grandparents Day, so MawMaw & Pap came to eat lunch with Trace at school, which he loved!
Overall, school has been a positive experience for Trace and for me. It just took me a lot longer than I expected to be able to let go of my baby boy. Meanwhile, Trace is still doing really well at school. He loves learning new things and showing off all that he has learned once he comes home. I'm so proud of him, but sometimes I just can't stand how grown up he really is!