Arch started preschool last week.
It has been exciting and fun with just a little nervousness, uncertainty and fear in the mix. At least I was feeling nervous, uncertain and a tiny bit fearful. Arch, the three-year-old, was fine.
As I said to a friend on the first morning, over coffee - "there's not too much point in me being upset, when he's so happy to go!"
And he was. Happy and brave and excited and ready.
Actually he looks a little serious here, but the rest of the morning he was jumping out of his skin with excitement! One of the things (yes, there was a list) I had worried about was what would happen with Archie's blanket (known in our household as "Nutty" or "the nut") It is a security rag, that once was a delightful cream baby cot wrap thing. It is now full of holes and covered in stains. Yet, it is Arch's trusty companion and is with him most days and through every night. I hadn't been game to ask the preschool what their policy on security blankets was. I was scared of finding out they had a firm "NO" policy when Arch's high dependency status would be at an all time high.
So when we pulled up in the car park it was with some trepidation and a record amount of quick silent prayers that I asked Arch: What are we going to do with the nut today?
Arch took the blanket from his nose and stared at it thoughtfully. Then looking at me with shining eyes he exclaimed "I know! We'll leave him in the car!" And with that he threw nutty on the seat.
Woo hoo! Thank you Lord!
As soon as we arrived it was like letting him loose in a candy store (without the fear of future dental bills!). So many activities and so little time!
I left quickly and stood outside the gate feeling a little lost.
"Are you okay?" A kind friend asked. "Shall we have coffee?" And so we did.
And that was the first day.
Here he is on Day #2. All smiles.
I found some great preschool shirts at an op shop. I really cannot stand paying retail (say $10-$25ea) for shirts that are destined for play wear, that might get paint all over them on first wearing, or that are such bad quality they'll fall apart after a few washes.
These shirts were great quality, hardly worn, $2 each and all colours and themes he loved!
The sandpit was one of Arch's top priorities. He'd talked about it ever since we dropped in to check out the preschool late last year.
"It's just like the beach!" He shouted happily. Who was I to disagree?
So after a super successful start to preschool last week, we got to the Wednesday morning.
"Um, Arch is packing his bag and looking for his shoes," pointed out my husband as I raced around helping the older kids get ready for school. "Does he know he's only going to preschool for two days a week?"
That would be no. He didn't know. I found him and delivered the bad news. Cue devastation and crying on Arch's part.
Yep, some parents worry about separation anxiety and clingy kids. Others of us wonder why our kids appear to have stopped needing us at age three!
Week #2 Day #3
We'd only walked in the gate five minutes earlier and I turned around to see Edward Scissorhands running amok with the paintbrushes!
One of the teachers commented that painting was obviously one of his favourite things.
I sheepishly agreed. The evidence of producing five paintings in his first two days certainly confirmed that fact. However, on wracking my brain, I was pretty sure this was Arch's first exposure to painting. You know on his own, with brushes and multiple pots of paint and no mother standing behind him yelling "Don't get paint on your clothes/shoes/body/the carpet!!"
Yep, that's the sort of creative, fun Mum I am. Sigh.
Anyway, it was good for my soul to see how much he is enjoying himself.
A deliriously joyful boy, the son of a relieved and happy Mum.
Life is full of milestones that a parent can sometimes dread.
I just never thought I'd be able to look back on Archie's first four days of preschool and be able to report he had had NO ACCIDENTS (this is referring to the seriously dreaded toilet training, in case you were wondering). I'd put in four changes of clothes in his bag for goodness sake! I'd had to buy a bigger backpack for him just to fit them all in!!!
So maybe I didn't pray enough about this milestone in the lead up? Maybe I spent a little too much time worrying about everything that could go wrong, and not enough time trusting God to work things out.
I'm so pleased to be able to rejoice that these precious days have gone so smoothly. Though someone did warn me that everything can change in term 2….