Sep 11, 2012


From the time Ella was 4 months old, she HATED going to other people.  We've done everything we think is best to help with this... left her in nursery and sunday school at church, in childcare during weekly Biblestudy, she's been with babysitters and gone to friends houses without us.  She's spend a few weekends with Grandma while we go away for anniversaries.  I've consistently taken her to numerous story times and playgroups.  Ella has some minor sensory processing issues and some social stuff thta play into all of this so we take it easy and try to be understanding.  She has grown leaps and bounds over the years in this area, but she still has a hard time being away from us, and new social setting are still a very difficult thing for her. 
We got this smile because Daddy danced around making silly faces behind me.
Thus, I did NOT have a child that was excited to go to pre-school.  That's hard...hard on her...hard on mama.  After Montessori didn't have any space, I AGONIZED over our pre-school choice.  We finally decided on one and we couldn't be happier!!!  Ella thrives on routine so we chose a small in home operation that is a pre-school only (not pre-school/daycare combined) and the teachers are two very experienced ladies who just happen to be Believers (yay!) and just 11 students. She will have the same teachers, the same children and they will follow the same routine every single day.  The student to teacher ratio is low and the environment is very mello, not loud and overwhelming.  Plus, a very good friend is going there too.   

Leading up to pre-school we read lots of books about it, one very helpful social story in particular.  Ella does much of her processing through reading so this has been great and you can see her soaking it all in.  We visited twice and have made sure to answer all her questions.  We went on a mommy/ella date and she got to pick out her very own first day outfit.  She had her breakfast of choice the morning of (blueberry pancakes) and she had a celebratory daddy/daughter date (which she requested) to Friendly's to look forward to after her first day.  She brought her teddy bear (which she's learned to squeeze when she's scared) and a keychain with our picture on it (which helps her when we're away).  We've done it all people.   

Leading up to the big day, she'd show some excitement here and there but mostly kept telling us she was scared and "I don't want to go to pre-school and stay without you when I'm three!  I need to wait until I'm 4!"  (It really doesn't helpt to explain that she'll be four in two months.  Time concepts are not big at this age :) 

Daddy took the day off of work to help me out and be there for her.  As we rounded the corner to the door she clung to his leg and started crying.  Once we got her inside the tears continued straight through all of our attempts to redirect her..."let's find your cubby!  hang up your back pack!  Show daddy all the cool things here!  Remember the little potty and sink that are just your size that you thought were so cool!"  

After three sets of kisses from each of us (we've got a whole routine, I'm telling you, she thrives on it) she agreed to go play with another little girl only to turn around half way there and start crying again, clinging to me, sobbing, "Mom, I really don't want to stay here when I'm three!!"  Break my heart.  

Thank-goodness for good teachers.  Ms. Sue asked if she'd like to go read a book with her (which is Ella's fave thing to do!)  Ella tearfully said yes, Ms. Sue led her around the corner  and we slipped out the door...deep breaths. 

I worried.  (While Jason prayed for me and that man.) Will she cry the whole time and disturb the whole class?  Will this be a battle EVERY morning?  She's younger than most kids there, will they bully her?  Will they leave her out?  Will she be too shy to interact at all?  Will the teachers recognize her needs if she's super quiet?  I knew (hoped) in my heart that she would be fine and would love it...but those two and a half hours could not go by fast enough for me to get back and see how it had gone.    

Sometimes it is SOOOO hard to do the things for your children that you KNOW are best for them.  So hard.

I was giddy and anxious driving back to get her.  Then as we rounded the corner to the playground I spotted on her face...running and playing with the other children.  I could not have been happier, and the sight set this anxious mama free!  Then she saw me...turned on heel and to me and yelling, "Mommy!" jumped into my arms and gave me the biggest hug ever.  It could not have been sweeter.
The teachers beamed and told us she did great...that, after a few minutes, she stopped crying and was quiet...but not long after she settled right in and was "very verbal"...yes we have another name for that...(not that we say it around her but, ahem)..."motor mouth" :) and it's a good sign that they got to see that because she usually only does that with people she's warmed up to....which usually takes a long time!  They were impressed that she could already write and that she knew how to raise her hand....quietly....and wait to be called on. They asked if she had been to preschool the year before.  Nope...well yup.  The home pre-school.  Yay!  I DID do some things right :)  I could not have been more proud of this little one.

And she...she was a ball of excitement!  Leading us around, showing us the cool things in the room, the art she made, singing the goodmorning song and talking about the fun things all the kids played on the playground....pretty sure she was describing playing "Tag" and she was talking about it like it was THE best thing in the world.  Each night we ask about "favorite" and "least favorite" parts of the day.  This night we made it specific to pre-school.  She said she didn't have any least favorite things... they were all her favorite.  And she said she was looking forward to going back.  Oh Praise the Lord!  We'll see about that come Wednesday morning :)     


Krissy said...

That is fantastic! I am so glad that she had an excellent day. It will be great as the stories about pre school just come rolling in!

Diane said...

She is so cute!! Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures, Sarah!!