Today was the first day of school for both Reilly and Kate. After 14 months with Nicole as a best buddy, it was time for them to socialize with children their own age. One would think this would be a very difficult thing for them to endure, but instead I was the one who had the most trouble with it. Reilly began preschool full time at an early learning center that we reserved months and months ago for him. He is going from 8:30-5 everyday with the exception of Friday. Kate, who has never been exposed to such a program will be in Toddler 1 at her daycare (different program than Reilly).
We got up this morning, had breakfast, got dressed and made our way out the door at 8:25 – he needed to be there for 8:30. When we arrived there were so many little kids with their parents taking pictures and being dropped off for the first day. Reilly looked out the window and said “Look at all my new friends”. With that remark I understood that this was the right environment and the right time for him.
Then there is Kate… she went in, on my hip when I dropped Reilly off. When I was helping to get him situated with his new cubby and his lunch bag and his book bag, I had to put her down. I retrieved her on my way out – much to her dismay. She wanted to stay. After a short car ride we were at her new destination. I arrived, once again, in chaos – a different kind of chaos. One little guy had gotten bitten by another child – we were not greeted by any of the staff – aside from one person. Kate was not welcomed with open arms – she just clenched my shoulder with her little hands. It felt bad, really bad. I’m familiar with this center and saw that pretty much everyone on staff was tending to the injury, but I found it inexcusable that no one was there to welcome us aside from a stare. I put Kate’s stuff on the counter and put her on the floor and she just stared at me, unsure of the whole situation – but not nearly as unsure as I was feeling. I’m thankful that Nicole is working there part time otherwise, I’m not sure I could have left her there. I put her on a toy and left shortly thereafter. She seemed okay with that.
Fast forward to 5pm, Shad and I picked them both up, Kate first and then Reilly. Kate was outside on the playground when we arrived – there were 3 staff out there talking amongst themselves and a handful of children playing. Kate was enjoying all the toys. I went up behind her and said softly “hi” and she turned with sand all over her dress and face and smiled. I extended my arms for the hug that I needed, she smiled and took off. Obviously she didn’t need it too. Reilly was next, he was happy and excited to tell us he wanted a Power Ranger backpack like a new friend had. He is quite good at making requests. All and all, I think I was the only one that was worse for wear…. they both seemed to find their new environments better than I.