Today we went to O2B Kids to interview them as a possible preschool for Nicky. They had an opening in the 2 year old class and Tom had taken Nicky there on Friday to play. He'd had so much fun that it seemed unfair to NOT put him into some kind of program.
So I took off the morning to go check them out. As we were getting ready this morning, Tom was putting clothes and diapers into labeled baggies and I asked him why. He pointed out that we might be dropping Nicky off today. For whatever reason, that actually hadn't occurred to me until he said that. I wasn't quite ready yet! I hadn't had a chance to talk with Nicky and prepare him (and me!) for going to school and that he'd be there with kids and teachers and that Mommy and Daddy would leave but we'd come back and he'd have so much fun, etc. Ack!
But we packed Nicky into the car with a cup of grapes to munch on and went to see what was what.
And in the end, we left him there. With three teachers. In a class of about 13 two year olds.
They were outside on the playground right out the back door of the classroom at the time. We walked out with him holding my hand. We met the teachers and then he said, "I go play Mommy?" And I said "Ok, you go play." And he did. And he didn't look back. Even when we said "Ok Nicky, Bye, we'll see you later." He just called out "Bye!" in a kind of vague, distracted yell while playing in the sand with a tractor. He didn't even look up.
We watched him from inside the classroom through the window for a minute or two. Just to see if he'd look for us and panic. But he just ran around and played. Happy as can be. So we left. I cried a little in the car. But not too much. Tom took me to lunch before I went to work.
So today our baby was cared for by strangers. He was having fun. He was safe. Kids do this all the time. Most kids do it a lot sooner than he did. So why tears?
I guess it's just that for almost 3 years I've never once worried about him while I was at work. I always knew exactly who he was with (Tom or one of his grandparents or aunts) and where he was and what he was doing. More or less. And now I was just leaving him with strangers. What if he panicked? We've never just up and left him with new people like that before. Ever.
But you know what? He was totally fine. A little nervous at one point around naptime they said, probably because he didn't have a binky, but other than that he had a blast. He ate most of his lunch. He went in the potty TWO times! (We haven't even been really trying at home and now he's doing it at school! On the first day!) He didn't really sleep, but he rested at naptime a bit- without a binky (and he usually has several with him at home).
And when Tom went to pick him up this afternoon at 4:15pm (he was dropped off at 11am) he was happy. He was happy to see daddy, and showed his daddy to everyone in the class, he was happy to head home too. But he's thrilled with the idea of going back to school too.
My baby's going to preschool! And I think I'm okay.