Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Yesterday I took Julia to preschool orientation at her little nursery school a mile from our house. She was super excited to go, but got pretty quiet once we arrived and were met by all the teachers, aides, and volunteers, and saw all the other unfamiliar children and parents. She received her very own nursery school tote bag, we bought a nursery school t-shirt, and were directed to her locker and her "main room." Each child has a homeroom, so to speak, with 10 or 11 classmates, but there are three rooms in all that are interconnected and open to one another. Each day after morning greeting, the children and teachers will be together for open play and other activities among all the rooms. Still, it was a lot of take in at once, and with at least one parent accompanying every child, it was extremely crowded and noisy.

Julia did okay, although when it was time for the parents to go to a meeting down the hall while the children stayed in the classrooms to play, her little chin trembled. Thus, I was unable to absorb anything that was said during the parent meeting. What was that about the snack schedule? The snow day policy? The volunteer committees? Sorry, didn't hear you; I was too busy worrying about my sweet little timid angel mouse down the hall all by herself in a room full of wild things.

When I went back to retrieve Julia to go home, she told me she had sat and read books by herself while I was gone. In the second telling, which I choose to believe because it prevents my heart from breaking, the story went that Miss Kathy sat and read books to her, instead.

We tried out the bathroom, where she was unable to reach or do anything by herself and where I had an internal panic attack because the head teacher had just told me that, while the teachers of course will help in the bathroom if asked, they do not automatically accompany a child to the potty if she needs to go. (Julia's potty trained, but she generally needs help with the mechanics of several of the steps, including things like reaching the toilet paper and getting up and down off even a child-sized toilet).

When some friends came over later in the day to play and Julia was asked how preschool went, she replied cheerfully, "Good! Very good!" But she also repeated a few times, "I felt a little nervous when the mamas left the room." Later on, when she asked me, "Mama, why did I feel a little bit nervous?", I asked her what she thought. She said haltingly, trying to find the right words to explain what she meant, "Because I didn't know"

Is your heart broken yet? Oops, mine is. I told her everyone else probably felt the same way, and she can go up to another child and say, "Hi! My name is Julia. What's your name?" That's how you meet your kids.

This morning Julia said, "I don't want to be left all by myself at preschool tomorrow." It's not a surprise. She's never been left anywhere. Ever. Who can blame her now? I am steeling myself for a teary scene. But as we walk away to go home, Vivi and I are going to be crying on the inside, too.


Question said...

Poor Julia. This will be a tough period for her. But, I'm sure she'll love it once she gets acclimated.

Although their personalities are different, she reminds me a bit of Oatmeal. The nieces just started one day a week daycare because SIL got a different job. Oatmeal is a worried kid and gets so nervous about going. "How many days until we go to Sarah's?" "I don't want to go this week." But, once she is there she seems to do okay. However, she struggles with sharing and hoarding. So, the trauma of other kids playing with "her" stuff is a tough adjustment for her.

Heidi said...

Sometimes Gabe *still* fusses/cries about going to Deb's b/c if he had his way, he'd ALWAYS be w/ me, but at the end of the day when you ask how it was, he inevitably says, "Great!" So don't worry; it'll be OK. Also, you can tell her she *won't* be "left alone"; she'll be w/ lots of new friends.

Christopher Tassava said...

You and Vivi will be crying? I know I look like a big, tough guy who makes the Stoics look like pansies, but I'll bet you'll have to wrestle me for the kleenex box.

Nonna said...

Oh dear, even Nonna is choking up! But she also knows that a week from today (or less) all the emotion will be history and your "Big Girl" will be looking forward to the next session of preschool! At least they have lots of books there!! Two-and-a-half hours goes very fast, especially after Day 1!