Today was it. The day Otto started preschool. I can not tell you how much time I spent worrying about today. It has only been recently that I have been able to leave Otto without him having a melt down and even then it usually has to be a perky undergrad who he is staying with for the situation to be OK with him. Change is hard on him. Anything that seems like it is a big deal makes him nervous and his way of dealing with being nervous is usually to fall apart. Otto can fall apart in a most dramatic and intense way. If you have not seen him in full swing before, it can give you pause. So, you can imagine how many sleepless nights I have had over this. As today grew closer though I started to think that it might, just might, go alright.
For one, he started to seem somewhat interested in the whole concept of school. I think the fact that Daddy is a teacher (tenured prof. really, but let’s for the sake of argument call him a teacher) and when he goes to work each day, he is really going to school. School is a big part of our lives. When know what days Daddy leaves early to teach an 8 a.m. class, and which evenings he goes back to work to see students. This all seemed to start sinking in with Otto recently. He has been really into ROBOTS lately and I just happened to have a great piece of fabric with really cute robots on it. I used it to make him a backpack which he fell in love with. We bought two reusable snack bags for him to take to school and he liked the designs I chose. One has robots of sorts and the other has a very simple pear. More and more he seemed interested in what was happening.
On Friday of last week we went to the school for an orientation. Really it was just a chance for the kids to see the school, meet their teacher again and get a sense of what they would be doing today. Otto visited the school once before, but it was last winter and I don’t think he or any of the other kids remembered much from that visit. Otto had so much fun on Friday I could have left and he would not have even noticed. Within minutes of being there he was off playing and enjoying himself while I watched from the wings. It was wonderful. His teacher has two sons who she is homeschooling and they will be around on some days to help with school. They are dear sweet boys and Otto pretty much thinks they the greatest thing ever. They alone can take a lot of the credit for him feeling so much at home so quickly. That and the fact that they have a soccer goal and soccer balls in the yard. He was pretty much sold after he saw that. I left the orientation on Friday with a warm fuzzy feeling. All the prep work with play school and the long talks just might pay off. He may just be able to do this after all.
School starts every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 9 a.m. Since it is a quick walk from our house to the school this gives us plenty of time to get ready as both kids wake up with a shot at 6:12 these days. I am not joking, 6:12, no earlier, no later. I am not convinced that they don’t have an alarm clock hiding somewhere in their room! Since the first day of preschool is a big deal, eric stayed home this morning so we could all walk there together. Otto of course wanted to wear a soccer jersey, he went with his America jersey, Bucknell Hoodie that Papou got him which he wears to soccer games, and sweat pants he blessedly thinks are soccer pants. Topped off with the robot backpack he was looking pretty sharp. I will have to get some better close ups of the back pack.
We made him pose for the official first day of school photos. He actually seemed to enjoy it!
He of course had to take one with mom as well.
The walk to school takes us right by one of his buddies houses who is also going to the same school. Just as we passed their house they were coming out the front door, we all walked the last two blocks together. The two boys walked hand in hand talking about things that really only make sense to other three year old boys. It was one of the cutest things you have ever seen.
When we got to the school Otto put his bag and spare clothes in his cubby right away. The teacher asked us all to bring in a picture of something the kids did over the summer. Otto choose this picture:
which seemed like a good choice for him. They immediately started using glue sticks and paper to make a collage of everyone’s pictures. In addition to that there was a work station set up where the kids could use small knives to clean off the block crayons for the start of a new year. It didn’t take long for Otto to be engrossed and eric and I gave him a kiss and I told him I would be back to pick him up at lunch time.
And that was it.
No, where are you going?
No questions. Just, “OK mom, see you later”.
If anything it was harder getting Mette out of there. She totally wanted a glue stick and to go to school as well. “I too, I too” she kept saying. Luckily there are grapes growing outside the door so I kept her quiet picking grapes.
When I picked up Otto he and his friends were playing happily in the backyard. He told me stories of them signing songs, cutting with scissors, reading books, the sandbox. Picking and eating pears, grapes and tomatoes. It sounded like he had a wonderful time and my inside resourse (Rachel is the assistant teacher on Tuesdays) said he had a great first day.
So all of the worrying, all of the stress, it is on it’s way out. I will be curious to see how Thursday goes, and next week. But I have a good feeling. He really seemed to have a good time. And boy, oh boy was he tired when he got home. He CRASHED for a solid three hours and was ready for bed tonight. We had a very busy day yesterday as well, tomorrow we are laying low. There will be much reading of books, snuggling and general kid setting the pace actives. Maybe homemade hot chocolate for snack. Maybe even some cookie baking. But really just fun around the house. We could use a day like that!
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