Thursday, September 20, 2007

First Days and Eating Crow

Olivia started pre-school/mothers day out last week. Yes, it was on that extremely rainy Monday, hence the raincoat and rain boots. Supermommy was nowhere to be seen since I ran in with no umbrella and no cover for Thomas, who was in my arms. He was SOAKED and had no idea what to think. Olivia, however was dry and after changing shoes was ready for a day-o-fun.

Starting preschool has already taught ME a few things, never mind Olivia. First, always have an umbrella in the car. Second, eating crow is no fun.

Four days into this, I realize I am going to be way too critical of my kids teachers. This may be a result of being a teacher by trade. I mean heck, my last job was helping other teachers. It is what I like to do. And it is hard to change focus and recognize I am not here to give ideas or model lessons, I am here to drop off my daughter, be supportive, sign up for snacks.

The first day I drop Olivia off in her room. She walks in fine, eager to see her best friend Melanie. I am a little sad, but mostly excited for her that she will be having fun with her friends and not sitting at home enduring another Physical Therapy session for Thomas where she is constantly hearing, "Not right now, Olivia." "It is Thomas' turn." "Let's find something else for you to do." "Don't climb on Rebecca (the therapist)."

I walk down the hall and run into a girlfriend. Her daughter is in the other three year old class. She just had a baby a few weeks ago. Somebody walks by and asks if she brought a picture. She said no, she forgot and then tells me they had to take one last night to bring to class this morning since her teacher asked for the kids to bring a family picture for the All About Me Wall. She did? Hmmm, we didn't get asked for a family picture.

So now in my mind this other teacher is perfect, and Olivia's teacher is not. Wouldn't it be great if Olivia could have a picture of me, her adoring mother, in her classroom so that every time she became even the slightest bit homesick or unsure she could glance up at my loving face and be reassured of her place in the world? Wouldn't it?

When I picked her up at 2:30 she was ecstatic. She LOVED preschool. She got to play in the gym. THE GYM! She goofed off at rest time with Melanie, there were snacks, baby dolls, and the gym, mama.

So she liked it. Great. That's all that matters, right? But in my mind I am still thinking, yeah, but what does she know. She is three, she is easily amazed. I mean, the place has a GYM. And this was the beginning of my daughters school career. There was a lot at stake here. I mean, isn't your child's entire perspective on education going to based off this first, three year old Mother's Day Out experience? Surely, this is not just a case of too high expectations. This is near tragedy.
Then I get a email with a newsletter from her teacher on Friday. It tells about the week, what books were read, what the themes are for the month. Good, good, good. As I read I am feeling somewhat better. And then I see in the margin a request: Send a family picture that can be left at school for you child to share next week. Now I feel like a jerk.

I guess this is just the beginning of letting go. Letting other adults play a role in my daughters life will not be easy, but I do believe it will make her a better person. I am sure it will make me one, too.

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