I was up, showered, and dressed bright and early Wednesday morning for Levi’s first day of school. (When I say “school,” I mean Montessori’s toddler program, which is not quite daycare and not quite nursery school.) I slept fitfully that night in anticipation of Levi’s big day, but I hadn’t cried or panicked yet at the thought of him starting this new activity.
I tried to snap a couple of photos of Levi outside the building, but he was too excited to stand still. We had spent an hour at school the day before so he could meet his teachers and get acquainted with the space, and he was eager to go back and play. Good sign!
Once inside, we hung up his fleece jacket in his cubby and changed into his indoor shoes. (Levi wore a pair of Cherokee slip-on sneakers from Target because the Native shoes I ordered from Zulily haven’t arrived.) He couldn’t wait to enter the classroom to find the toys he was playing with yesterday.
Unfortunately, playtime hadn’t started yet, and Levi fussed when I tried walking him into the gross motor skills area where his new friends were hanging out. He seemed curious by the group of children sitting together for a story but turned around and clung to me as I started saying goodbye.
One of the teachers told me that goodbyes are often just as hard for the parents and that once she had to go outside to console a mom who was sitting in her car crying. For being such a sentimental person, I was still surprisingly calm that morning. Following the teacher’s instructions, I gave Levi a big hug and then passed him to her, and she briskly carried him to the other side of the room. I listened for his sobbing as I headed for the door but didn’t hear anything. Success!
Picking him up three hours later was a different story. When I entered the classroom, all of the children were sitting at tiny tables waiting for lunch. (Levi doesn’t stay for lunch.) As soon as he saw me, his mouth opened wide and huge tears began falling from his eyes.
“Mama! Mama!” he wailed, making a beeline for my leg. His teacher assured me that he hadn’t been crying the entire morning. In fact, he had a very good day! He cried briefly a couple of times when he realized I wasn’t there, but he mostly kept busy exploring the space and observing his classmates.
Still, I couldn’t get Levi out of there fast enough. As soon as we changed back into his outside shoes, he quickly ran for the door, crying, “Go! Go! Go!” My poor baby. Why are little ones so delicious when they are in distress? I scooped him up and cuddled him all the way to the car.
As expected, dropping him off at school yesterday and today were a little bit more emotional for him because he was starting to understand what was happening. And when I arrived to pick him up yesterday, I could already hear him crying when I entered the building, but I expect it will get easier for him as going to school becomes more routine.
However, I wouldn’t be surprised if I have an emotional breakdown sometime in the near future when it finally hits me that my baby guy is old enough to be attending nursery school.