I’m a “new to school” mom this year, as Gracie started a toddler program at 2.5 years old. My husband and I had planned to put her in school once she turned 3, but that all changed this spring when our little girl got really social. I mean she didn’t change overnight, but she really began to develop her personality after her second birthday. She was bored at home, bored at the office, and it seemed we could not keep her entertained all day despite summer movies, and playground time, etc.
I’m a planner by nature, and so it was tough for me to get my head around a change in plans. But after talking it over with my husband, we decided together that she needed the structure of school. She needed interaction with other children, new and exciting activities to look forward to each day, and a safe and comfortable environment to learn. After visiting 3 area schools, we decided to enroll Gracie in Carrollwood Day School, which we are quite happy with!
All summer I have had so many emotions overwhelming me, anxiety, excitement, worry, fear. As any mom of a toddler I worry about things like:
Will my child get along with the other kids?
Will she get sick?
Will she share the toys with her classmates, or will I get phone calls about her pushing and shoving?
Will she listen to her teacher?
And of course fear comes into play just plainly because it scares me to see her growing up so fast! I want my little girl to be my baby forever! But then excitement takes over, as I reflect on my years in school, getting to go back-to-school shopping, first day of school butterflies, & meeting new friends. I had a really good time in school, I enjoyed my friends, I loved PE and getting involved in sports teams as I got a little bit older, I had fun in music & art classes and all the extra-curriculars that went along with being a kid in school. So I am really excited for Gracie to get to experience this, and I hope she has as much fun as I did!
The first week was a short one, with just two days of her normal three-day schedule. So the night before I prepped lunches, packed backpacks, even made a special little note for Gracie’s lunch box. I laid out her clothes for her first day, and made sure she got in bed on time for a good night sleep. Then Tuesday, August 20th was here, the day we had been talking about all summer. We all woke up early, probably excited and a bit nervous about the first day. I was not sure how much time to allow for school traffic with the buses, etc. so we left at 8 am. Traffic was pretty easy since we did not pass through any school zones at that time, and we arrived at school at 8:20 am, about 20 minutes early for class. We parked the car, and walked through the “big school” to get to Gracie’s “little school” and all the way, Gracie was smiling ear to ear! After meeting the teachers, we found Gracie’s cubby where she could keep her things, and then it was off to the playground.
Now up to this point, I had teared up a bit, but felt pretty good about the whole thing. I was busy taking pictures, and talking to Gracie and, of course, Daddy about the exciting school day the teachers had planned. Rich and I planned to stay a bit to make sure she didn’t freak out because she was in a strange place with new people. So we watched her play and interact on the playground for about 15 minutes. That’s when we realized she was completely fine. She adjusted quickly and was having fun, so we decided to say good-bye. I bent down and told Gracie that Mommy and Daddy had to go to work, and to come give us kisses. Gracie threw her arms around me for a great big hug (which totally melted me and started the water works!) and then gave Daddy a big hug, too. She then went back to playing in the sand box, and I couldn’t help but think to myself, That was too easy!
We checked in with the teacher so she knew all was well and headed for the main building. I stopped for a moment to check on Gracie to find her standing there watching us leave! I thought maybe it was too good to be true; this is where she is going to start crying and not want us to go. I gave her a big wave and said, “Bye Gracie! I love you!” and she gave me an even bigger wave and blew me a kiss, yelling “Bye Mama!” She was fine! I was a wreck, but the important thing was she was OK! I was so relieved!
We now look forward to each school day, and I love hearing all the stories she has to tell me when I pick her up! This is going to be a fun year! How was your first week of school? I would love to hear about it, so just tell us in the comments!