Tuesday, September 09, 2008

First Day of Playschool

Here he is, my big four year old (as of Saturday), all ready to go to Playschool. Note the look of slight concern mixed with steely determination. We have been talking about this since July -- "First we will go on holidays, then we will come home and the apples will be on the trees. We will pick the apples and then it will be your birthday. And after your birthday, you will go to playschool." I don't know how many times I have repeated this little litany over the summer. Enough times that Andrew had the time he needed to mentally prepare himself for playschool.

Today, I told him to get dressed in comfortable clothes that he could take off himself, becuase it was playschool day. He picked all "new"clothes (Sharon, are these all Edmund's or just the shirt?) since he is a big four year old boy now. We looked inside of his backpack and checked out the change of clothes and the snack bag that were there, so he would know what was inside. He packed Soxul Furry, in case he needed her. We put on our socks and shoes, got in the car, and went.

As we had visited last week, we knew which hook to put our coat and backpack on. We hung our stuff on the hook -- opening the backpack a bit so Soxul Furry could peek out and check on Andrew -- moved his name from the home to the school pocket, tried out the bathroom to make sure we could use it, and said goodbye. Andrew gave me a kiss, turned towards the kids and was gone.

When I picked him up three hours later he told me, "There were too many things to enjoy, mom". I'm not sure wether this meant that he was a bit overwhelmed, or that he was having a lot of fun. But in any case, he did fine. He liked the toys, and the story and apparently only needed help to open his snack bags, not for anything else. He was a bit dissapointed that the slide was hidden away, but told me that it only comes out when it snows. He also told me that some of the other boys had to be warned to be careful and stop climbing things, but he didn't need to be talked to, except when he couldn't open his snack. These things came out over the course of the day, as he processed the various things that had went on.

In the afternoon he went on a giant bike ride. Dave thought they would maybe go around the block, but they were gone for two hours and went in a huge circle around town. Andrew told me he didn't need any more of me, he needed to go on a bike ride with Dad. This was a little sad, but again, its his way of processing being at playschool by himself.

I was really proud of how poised and confident he was going to school. I was proud of him, and proud of myself for the choices I had made leading up to this. Some of you might remember here when I decided to go to the older kid library time with Andrew. At around the same time I decided not to put him in three year old playschool. I didn't think he was ready for 3 hrs of separation yet, and I didn't want to push him into it.
Instead, we went to library story time, which was only 45 min. He slowly adjusted to being there with the other kids, and really got to know and love Mrs Duncan, the librarian who does story time. I also decided to use the money I didn't spend on playschool to hire a teenager to play with the boys for an hour and a half once a week so I could get my youth group work done with less hassle every week. So he also became more attached to his babysitter, and cried when summer time came and she got a summer job. Around February or March he decided that it was okay to go to Sunday School without me.
I could have decided to just put him in Playschool, and let him learn to cope with the seperation anxiety. I don't know how many people I had give me sceptical sidelong glances of the "over-anxious possesive parent"variety when I told them he wasn't in playschool. I don't know how many times I felt foolish and over protective and defensive when I told people that he just hadn't been ready to go in September, and I didn't think I needed to push him. I know the general attitude around here is that seperation is good for kids. Throw them into babysitting or lessons and let them deal with it. In the end its good for them to be with other kids and be without mom and dad. And for some kids, maybe this is good for them. But I knew it would not be good for Andrew. So I waited and suffered the sceptical glances and critical looks, the same as I do for wearing my babies in a sling and breastfeeding my toddlers and letting my kids play with cardboard boxes and old tea tins instead of buying them toys. And today, when I saw my son walk into that classroom with confidence and courage, happy to tell me, "I met new friends today, mom. A whole bunch of kids are my friends now", I knew that I had made the right choices for us. And I was terribly proud to watch Andrew let go of my leg and the back pocket of my jeans and make his way into the wide, wide world.


Kristen said...

Love the bag you made him too!
Sounds like you made the right choice for Andrew there Mom!

Kristin said...

It's always so nice when our mom-sense choices turn out to be right, despite the peer pressure we get some days. He looks so grown up!

Beck said...

when I read Kristin's comment I was like. What? Peer Pressure that's only for teens. .....Then I really thought about it and realized that nope it doesn't and I guess I don't really realize it but I face peer pressure daily. I guess it's because I process it differently or something. Or perhaps I don't realize it's even affecting me. But it's awesome to know you knew Andrew's needs best and went with your thoughts on the matter. It's refreshing to see something as parents, being done right. Inside of always the negative. :)