Caleb’s been dropping off his brothers at school almost since the day he was born. When he was an infant, Elias was in Pre-Kindergarten four days a week, and Caleb came along in the car seat every day. The next year Elias went to Kindergarten and Caleb came every day to drop off and pick up. He also came along to drop Simon off at preschool and as soon as he could walk, he would follow Simon right into the classroom and sit down at the table looking at Simon’s teacher with the “what about me?” look. Last year when we dropped of Simon at pre-K, Caleb would run into the classroom before I could stop him and play with the cars every day. This year when he knew his turn was coming soon, he would insist on wearing his backpack just like his big brothers when we all climbed into the car for drop off. This kid has been ready to go to school for a long time!
In the last few months, though, Caleb has really been going through a clingy phase. At church he’d rather go to the service or to Godly Play in my classroom than go play in the nursery. When friends come over to play he just sits on my lap. I know it’s just a phase and it will pass so it doesn’t worry me, but as the first day of school was approaching and he was still so nervous about being separated from me I have to admit I had some anxiety over the situation.
Today was Caleb’s first day of preschool. He is in a program called “pre-3’s”. It’s actually for three year olds who are the oldest of their year (born between Sept 1st and Dec 31st), and it’s just one day a week. It’s really just a “getting used to school” kind of thing. After months of looking forward to it, Caleb told me this morning that he’s not going to go to school, and asked over and over again if I was staying or not. He was pretty nervous.
However, when I told him it was time to take first day pictures in the backyard he hammed it up as usual.
We got in the car and drove to school and when we arrived in the parking lot he shouted, “My School!” He insisted on putting on his backpack himself even though he usually needs help, and he didn’t even ask me to carry him in…something he usually does. (Although he did consent to hold my hand). We arrived at his classroom and found his coat hook. Again he wanted to be independent and insisted on learning how to hang up his coat and backpack on his own.
When we arrived in the classroom he was pretty clingy, but the teachers had a water color page set out for them to work on first thing, and Caleb got right to it with his trademark one color artistry. His teacher, Mrs. G helped get him started.
After about 30 minutes I decided it was time to go and let him be at school by himself. He must have heard me tell the teacher I was going to sneak out because he came running over and grabbed my leg. Luckily Mrs. Manning was there and she helped him get started with play-doh. Then, when I told him I was going to leave he barely blinked an eye!
When I returned for pick up at the end of school I peeked in their door window and saw him singing along happily during their circle time. When he came out the first thing he said was, “Mommy! I had so much fun at school with my new friends!”
So folks…I think it was a success!
It’s difficult as a mother to be constantly pulled in so many directions. I am so happy for him and excited that he is growing up and moving on. He’s got so many exciting things ahead, and the fact that he was able to have a successful first day of school at this age says a lot about him. However, it was also a sad day for me. My youngest is now attending school and I have no more babies. It’s a kind of loss for me as well as a joyous occasion. Nathan just scoffs when I get all sentimental, but I have to admit there is a little piece of my heart that would be happy to freeze him in this little phase forever.
I suppose that is why living in the present is so important. I can’t look back fretting about what is gone, and I shouldn’t look too far ahead to what is coming. I’ll try to live right here, right now so I don’t miss a second of it!