Friday, September 5, 2008

First Day of School

Cami has completed her first week of preschool. The first day was difficult. She did not want to separate from me. Luckily, her teacher is gifted in helping children through this transition and she took her around the corner and I slunk guiltily out the door. But before I even reached my car in the parking lot another teacher called to me from the door and told me Cami had ALREADY stopped crying.

That first day she tried to lay low and not participate in much. She kept telling the teachers, "mommy be right minute". But by art time and snack time, she couldn't help herself and when I went to pick her up, she was playing in the gym for the second time that day! When she saw me she jumped up and down and wrapped her arms around me. She patted me on the back and said, "I love you sooooo much".

I think her sorrow at leaving me and her happiness at seeing me and her ability to enjoy herself to some extent in between on the first day is evidence of healthy attachment. She knows I'm the greatest and no one is my equal.....LOL....... and now she knows I will come back to pick her up. She has bonded well with her teachers, but she knows they are not Momma. I think she is doing great for any 3 year old, especially one that has only been here a year.

My dear friend Lori told me that the second day might be harder due to the fact that Cami would now KNOW what was going to happen. Thanks for the warning, dear. I was hoping you were mistaken, but since you were right on target, I'm glad I was prepared. Cami woke up early and started to cry as soon as she realized it was a school day. She told me she missed me. She told me she wanted to stay with me. I watched the minutes tick by because I was not enjoying this betrayal scene. I really wanted to snuggle her up and tell her she never had to go away from me. But I know she will love her little school as soon as this transition time passes. She will gain so much from being with the other children and doing the fun activities and being part of a group. This is just what her personality thrives on!

When it's time to get in the car, Cami insists on taking the entire box (size large) of kleenex with us. She is very quiet and sad on the drive to school. But she doesn't cry out loud, just a tears in her eyes. She then insists on carrying the tissue box into school with her. I have her walk rather than be carried because I think it will help her feel capable and independent. So here is this little tiny girl with a lunchbox in one hand, a giant box of tissues in the other, and crocodile tears in her eyes. The teachers had trouble keeping their composure. It was so sweet and cute.

And on this second morning, when the teacher kneeled down to say hello to Cami, I gave her a quick kiss and a goodbye and she was fine. She did not need her kleenex. The teachers reported that she participated from the very start of the day. She loved playing in the gym making a special snack with her classmates. They said she was a very good listener and that they understood everything she said to them. She went to the potty twice! When I came to pick her up, she was sitting on the rug in the classroom playing with a basket of plastic letters. When she saw me, she picked up all the pieces and returned the basket to the shelf and then came to me. After hugging me, she turned and hugged her teacher and said, "I love you". What a sweetheart!

Today is Friday and when Cami woke up she had to cry for a little while about not wanting to go to school while I tried to convince her this was not a school day. I think she has worries and anxiety about the separation. It looms larger and more difficult in her mind than it actually is. Once she gets that goodbye over with, she does great! I hope the coming days and weeks will make it easier for her and that her anticipation with be joy and not worry.

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