For the past four weeks I’ve been learning how to be a pre-school parent. I’ve learnt that I have to wash Birdy’s little sleeping bag every week. I’ve learnt that they bring home enough artwork every day to decorate the Vatican within a year. I’ve learnt that if you don’t get to the car park at 20 to 3 you’ll spend the next 25 minutes circling the car park like a hungry vulture. And I’ve learnt that its a very bad feeling to be the very last parent to arrive at the end of the day. (Negligent mother alert!)
I was really excited about Birdy starting Preschool. Unlike many of my friends, I wasn’t at all nervous or upset about the idea of being apart for the whole day and I wasn’t really worried about how she would settle in and make friends. (I had enough to worry about with all her medical dramas.) But since then I’ve had an emotional reaction that I didn’t anticipate: I actually feel left out. Well, just a little.
For the first time in her life, Birdy is having all these amazing experiences without me! I’m not part of it at all. Yes, I get to hear about what happened at Preschool, but I don’t actually get to experience it with her or witness it. This was brought home to me over the past two days because Birdy got to be one of the first ‘special helpers’ at Preschool yesterday and today. She was really proud of this achievement. Yesterday she went to bed talking about it, and today she woke up at 6 am still talking about it. I would have dearly loved to see her handing out the morning teas and tapping the students on the head when it was their turn to go to the bathroom. Instead I have to simply imagine all these things in my minds eye.
Today Birdy came home with a special sticker on her shirt that said:
You have been a TERRIFIC SPECIAL HELPER this week at Preschool. You have led the class from place to place, called your friends by name to go inside and done special jobs for the teachers in group time. A job well done.
We are keeping that sticker forever!
The other aspect of Preschool that I was unprepared for is the post-Preschool meltdown. At the end of the day, Birdy is so tired she can’t concentrate on anything! Although she hasn’t yet had a complete and total meltdown after Preschool, she has been right on the edge on a number of occasions. As I work during the mornings, I am feeling the loss of our afternoons together. Birdy is no longer capable of playing games, or doing anything much at all after Preschool. She just collapses like a zombie onto the kitchen floor while I offer her her favorite comfort snack of a cup of warm milk and biscotti.
I have to say that we seem to have scored the most amazing Preschool in Sydney. I’m just inspired by all the love, care and attention shown to the kids. And by all the thoughtful touches that make the experience so special for the children – the stickers describing something they did that day, the sharing bag, getting to be a special helper. If the first four weeks have been anything to go by, I have a feeling that this year of innocent, joyful discovery will fly by before any of us have a chance to fully appreciate it.
Did you enjoy your child’s first year of Preschool? Or are you looking forward to it? Do you have any memories of your own Preschool?