Will’s First Day of School

Yesterday was Will’s first day of school. He’s two (which he will tell you proudly) – two and a half, really – but still a full year younger than Anna was when she started school. So I’ve been wondering if we are rushing things with him, though I really think he’ll enjoy school. Last year he always wanted to stay at school when we dropped Anna off in the morning. He’d look up at me and say, “Bye-bye, Mommy!” with a big grin. And it’s only three mornings a week… not even close to a full-time daycare scenario. So what’s the harm, especially if he enjoys it?

Let me explain Will’s class schedule. He is with Ms. Kristine and Ms. Shannon from 9:00 to 12:00. Then most of the other kids go home because their class ends at noon, but since Anna’s class goes until 1:00, Will goes to a second room with a handful of other kids to eat lunch and play until their siblings are finished at 1:00. The transfer from one room to the other takes place before the other kids leave, which is good, but still… our little William does not appreciate transitions very much at this age. (For example, when we leave him in the church nursery, he picks one nursery attendant to be his own, and if that person leaves early for some reason, he will cry and cry just as if we’d left him again!)

So yesterday was Will’s first day of school, and he toddled off with scarcely a glance back at me when I dropped him off. When I returned to pick him up at 1:00, however, it was a totally different scene. I spied on him through the one-way glass window, and saw him looking helpless and alone and completely pitiful. Then he poked his lip out and cried. Well, who can stand that?! I went over to the classroom and brought him out early (just five minutes). Of course, when I picked him up, all he did was cry “me want my Daddy!” But the teacher told me he had been fine and happy for the first three hours, and then cried the whole last hour and didn’t eat any lunch at all.

So today, on the way to school, Will started out by telling me he did not want to go there today. And he cried terribly when I dropped him off – nearly bringing me to tears with him – while all the other kids played pleasantly. But when I came back this afternoon and spied on him, he was playing and chatting and smiling and interacting – all those good things you hope for. Apparently he’d been sad all morning in his first classroom, and then ate lunch and had a fine time in the second classroom. Go figure! Will was very proud of himself, too, saying “me not cry today!” with a smile, and telling me all about eating his lunch and playing and such. I’m hoping tomorrow will be a good day from beginning to end. This preschool stuff is hard on a mom!

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