Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dancing her way through preschool

If anyone has ever tried to talk to Charlotte, well, you'll know why we've been concerned about her starting preschool. She doesn't talk to strangers. She doesn't talk to people she knows if it's a new situation. Sometimes she doesn't even talk to people she knows in familiar situations. This is Charlotte.

When I first started going to a mom's group two years ago, I had to drop her off in the childcare room. She cried the ENTIRE time I was gone. Entire time, people. She was still crying when I got back almost two hours later. At church on Sundays, she would refuse to go into the nursery. That meant sitting with us in the pews for the whole hour-long service.

I signed her up for gymnastics with her little friend Ella last November. She loved it when she was out there, jumping, turning, flipping. But, she refused to go out for her class until Ella was there. Every. Single. Time. Ella was usually late, so I would sit there with a clingy 2-year-old in my lap watching class until Ella showed up.

Ella quit gymnastics after one session, but Charlotte really loved it, so I knew we had to stick it out. It took a lot of time, but eventually she started going out without crying and fussing. Seriously, it took months, but it eventually it happened.

So, needless to say, I was worried about preschool starting. I had signed her up for the 3-year-old class at the same preschool Molly used to attend. As the time started approaching, I started getting more and more nervous. The week before preschool started, the school had a meet-the-teacher time. We had a 9 o'clock appointment to meet Miss Patty in the Panda Room.

Cory and I were both going to go with Charlotte, but I forgot the paperwork for the school, so I turned around halfway and let Cory take Charlotte. I was a couple minutes late and walked into the class to see Charlotte clinging to Cory and burying her head into his shoulder. She absolutely would not look at Miss Patty. She absolutely would not talk to Miss Patty. She absolutely would not take a picture for Miss Patty.

Do you think I'm exaggerating to make a good story? Yeah, no, I'm not.

This is the picture Miss Patty took to put on the wall. Lovely, no?

Alright, so after that disaster of a meeting, I got even more nervous about preschool. Being my baby, I've become rather attached to Charlotte. Meaning, not only was I nervous about how she was going to do, I was also nervous about how I was going to do without her.

The big day arrived. I had to drop my baby off at preschool. We took some first-day-of-preschool pictures.

It took a while for her to warm up, but we finally got a couple cute smiles. Now, on to the main event. After the disastrous meet-the-teacher, we decided Cory shouldn't go to preschool drop-off. So, that left me.

Our preschool has a car drop-off line. We just pull up and the teachers come to your car, get your child out, and send them up the sidewalk into school. (PS. This was golden when Molly was in her first year of preschool, and I had a baby Charlotte in the car, too. I never had to get her out of the car.) Anyway, with visions of clingy Charlotte dancing through my head, I thought maybe we should try the drop-off line.

We started driving closer and closer to school, and I could tell Charlotte was getting more and more nervous. She stopped talking as much. We got in the drop-off line. We pulled up. The door opened.

Charlotte got out of the car. She put on her backpack and walked up the sidewalk. All by herself. Without crying. Without clinging. Without even looking back at me.

And, that's when I started crying.

I had to go into a parent meeting in the preschool, so I asked my friend Kelli if she would go and peek at Charlotte to make sure she was ok. She was. She was playing with the other kids. Later, I talked to Miss Patty, and I explained to her my reasoning for using the drop-off line for the first day. She said she heard teachers in the hallway calling out, "Hi Charlotte," so she looked out, and Charlotte was walking down the hall with her backpack on and a big smile on her face.

Much better picture on the first day of school for Miss Patty.

Turns out, the one I should've been worrying about all along was me.

So, she's been doing great. She already drew a picture for her friend Addy in her class. She tells me all about her snacks and playing on the playground. She gets excited every morning for school. I even enrolled her in a dance class, and she's been doing great in there, too. No clinging. Dancing and listening to the teacher.

My baby girl is loving preschool. She's loving dance. And, she's loving gymnastics. And, I'm still tearing up every time I drop her off. Sigh.

1 comment:

  1. Charlotte reminds me so much of Carson! We need to catch up soon. I always wonder how other parents deal with shy, clingy children!