I was all set to share this thoughtful post about how Esmé loved school so much, and all the fun things she loved doing while she was there after she finished her twos class this past May. I was so excited because it had been a relatively easy transition for her, and I couldn’t wait to share with everyone how smoothly it had gone. Then she started her summer session.
I don’t know if it was because the early drop-off room was significantly larger than when she was in the twos class, or if it was because it was different teachers, but she screamed and cried for two weeks straight.
It started at the stairs that led down to the room. She would slowly back away and say things like “Mama? I want to go home.” Or “Mama, I don’t want you to go.” Then I would lead her in to the classroom where she would plaster herself to my body saying “No. No. No. NO!!” and then her teachers would have to peel her off of me as it turned into a full-blown meltdown.
The last thing I would see every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday was her little face, bright red from being so distraught, with tears streaming down, and her mouth wide open in a wail. Her body was always twisting around the teacher holding her back to try and see me as she reached for me with outstretched arms. I left in tears every single time. I actually still cry when I think about it.
I HATED myself afterwards, every single time. What kind of mother was I to leave her when she was so upset? Why did I have to be so selfish to try and have some time to myself? It rattled me to my core and made me question if we were doing the right thing.
The crazy thing was that she still loved school. I know this because all of the amazing staff at the school had my cell, and would send me pictures/ messages as soon as she stopped crying, and then continue to send me pictures and/or messages throughout the day so I knew she was ok. Basically it was only torture for me as a mom. Super.
After those two weeks, she started to calm down. The third week she was slightly hesitant, but didn’t cry when I left. I’m pretty sure the entire staff did a little dance to celebrate 1) not having to listen to ear-splitting screams/cries of distress and 2) not having to ‘hold my hand’ for the rest of the day by texting me the whole time.
The fourth week she was rockin’ it. She practically ran into the classroom to go and play with her teachers. They actually had to remind her to give me a hug before I left. My feelings were slightly hurt, but I will take feeling snubbed any day over spending the whole day feeling like I’m torturing my child.
Now that I am emotionally stable, and can handle thinking about my child while she is away at school, I can finally write an update!
I did one of those first and last day of school comparison pictures, but I feel like you can’t really tell much of a difference. On the left is Esmé when she started the twos class in January, and the one on the right is when she finished this past May. I think it’s because we started in the middle of the year with her.
The feedback that I’ve gotten from her teachers so far is that she is a little quiet (which is a surprise to us as she is so loud at home), though very clear and well spoken when she chooses to talk. She likes to follow the boys around more than the girls (sorry Papa!). She loves being outdoors. She loves arts and crafts and is one of the few who is able to sit and stay focused on doing them for a long time. However her very favorite activity seems to be music class with Miss Rachel. I am told she loves to dance around and play all the instruments.
Basically, she is loving school. I love that it’s a chance for her to spend a lot more time doing all the things that she loves…art, music, reading, and playing outside. Any day she comes home with mulch in her hair (from digging, playing, and throwing it in the air), I know it’s been a good playground day. When she comes home with paint on her hands and her arms, I know that she’s getting to do her favorite art activity.
But what I love most, is when I catch her singing songs I haven’t heard before. She goes to a religious preschool, so they teach them little songs about God, and also prayer songs before they eat. To hear her sing some of these songs, or pray as she’s eating melts my heart more than anything.
Since I can’t share her singing with you, as she gets shy once I grab my phone and say “Sing it again,” I thought I would share some of the favorite pieces of art that she’s come home with so far…
This first group is from her twos class. The circle paper plate says “My planet is called Papa and it looks like Mama”-Esmé, and the butterfly painting says “My butterfly is eating grass.”
This second group is my favorites from what she has done so far in her summer session. They’ve done some sponge painting for fireworks and actually got to paint with watermelon, which i think is pretty cool. She also made me a lovely bracelet with “beatles (beads),” but I feel like the stickers on paper is the truest reflection of my child. She looooves her stickers and asks every check-out person, including the librarian if they have any (Trader Joe’s is the best btw because they give her like a whole roll, which she then covers her whole body with).
Having Esmé start school has definitely been a huge eye-opener. For one I have a whole new respect for working moms who have to put babies into day care, and had to go through this process when their kiddos were a lot younger.
I’m also acutely aware now that I won’t always be able to solve all my daughters problems for her, much as I would like to. I think that’s the hardest thing for me. If she’s upset because of something I did, fine. I can deal with that. But hearing your kid cry because of something you can’t control, or swoop in to rescue them from is HARD.