Cole and Bella started their new school yesterday. They are now officially in pre-kindergarten. I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday they were little tiny preemies in the NICU and then I blink my eyes and now they are just 6 weeks shy of turning 4 years old.
They were excited as we drove to the school but then upon entering the classroom, Cole started hiding behind my legs....so not a good sign at all. The teacher was standing at the sign-in area and personally greeted every child....turns out their teacher is my sister's best friend's little sister (hope that makes sense!) She immediately said to the kids, "I'm Ms Denise....I know your Auntie Erica". The kids were too nervous at that point to even care.
And it all went downhill from there. Now let me just put it right out there and say that Cole and Bella are usually very friendly, outgoing kids. They are very talkative and social and usually handle new situations very well. But this might have been a little too overwhelming for them. Too many new kids, a new classroom, a completely different school schedule then what they're used to...it just really threw them off.
I ended up staying for the first 90 minutes of class (and the class is only 3 hours a day). I knew Bella would be fine once she found another little girl to be friendly with. I knew that would set her at ease and she'd warm up to the situation. Luckily, as we were sitting there, a little girl came up to Bella and told Bella her name and sat down next to her and smiled. I could see Bella's eyes light up and she was just about to tell the little girl her name when another little girl came up out of nowhere and hugged the other little girl and they ran off together (apparently they knew each other from last year). The look on Bella's face absolutely broke my heart. And she said "She doesn't want to be my friend". I honestly thought I would cry right there on the spot but I held it together and told her that there were lots of other children she could be friends with.
It was during circle time that she finally started enjoying the class, especially when the teacher broke out the Greg and Steve CD with the ABC song on it. She immediately recognized it from her old school and whispered to me "Miss Debbie taught us this song".
Cole was a whole 'nother story. That boy wouldn't let go of me for anything. The teacher could've promised him a tub of ice cream if he let go of me and he probably still wouldn't have budged. I was probably making it worse by staying there with him but everytime I tried to break away to leave, he'd start crying harder and actually started hyperventilating a couple times. And at one point when I was almost out the door, he ran after me and cried, "Mommy, take me home with you...why are you making me stay?" Of course, I turned right back around and went back into the classroom with him.
I know this all goes back to trust issues I had with my own parents when I was younger. Because of the lack of trust and security in my own childhood, it's so important for me to feel like my kids can trust me to be there for them all the time. I never want them to feel like I've hung them out to dry, so to speak. I guess I was thinking that if I just walked out and left him there, scared and crying, that trust issues could develop. Plus I want them to look back at their school years with fondness and good memories and be excited for every first day of every school year, rather than feel anxious and scared that Mommy is gonna drop them off in a new situation and leave without a care in the world. To me, it's kinda like throwing your kid into a pool to teach them how to swim, after you've already said "I promise I won't let go of you"....where's the trust in that? It just teaches your kid that maybe they shouldn't trust you so much, as their parent. Okay, okay....clearly I'm making more out of this than really needs to be....it's a little more than obvious I have childhood issues that have yet to be resolved.
After 90 minutes, though, Cole started to come around when the kids all sat down for a snack. He immediately was won over by the fact that they were having Lucky Charms. I thought school snacks were supposed to be healthy? But it was the first day of school and if eating Lucky Charms was gonna make him feel more comfortable, then so be it.
Today, was a much better day for both of them. I wimped out and had Tim take them, figuring he would be able to handle any crying without getting too emotional about it. But both kids ran off and didn't need him to stay. When I picked them up today, they were both having a great time, except in the car, Bella told me that the same little girl from yesterday wouldn't talk to her today. I asked, "why do you think she wouldn't talk to you?" and she said, "I don't know...I kept trying to be her friend but she said she didn't want to be because she already has a friend". Do cliques really start this young?! I expected my children to have deal with that kind of crap in high school, not in pre-K. I fully expected to have to console my daughter when she experiences her first broken heart as a teenager, not now at the tender age of 3 when another little girl refuses to be friends with her. She had so many friends at her old school that I think she thought this would be easier. So did I, mistakenly.
Well, tomorrow's another day.....hopefully Bella will find another little girl who's also wanting a new friend.
Here's a couple pics from this morning as they left for school (they refused to let me take pics of them yesterday as I was dropping them off):
To get Cole to smile for this pic, I said "I wonder if they'll have Lucky Charms for snack again today?" I just love this pic of Bella walking out the door with her Hello Kitty backpack on. She looks so grown up! Edited to add: Garrett and Landon are starting to say the word "more" when they want more of something...yeah! I was starting to get a little worried that the only word they'd have in their vocabulary was "banana".