I did this. Blame me. I'm why Kendan now attends preschool. I signed him up for school for many good reasons. He needs to learn to accept authority outside of his mother and father. He needs to learn to fall in line and do what the group is doing. He needs that solid attention being devoted to teaching him the things I rarely have the time to teach him at home. I, admittedly, signed him up for some selfish reasons as well. Alone time with Damien and just the chance to run a couple errands, think a thought, and use the bathroom with only one child seeking my attention sounded like heaven to me. Even if only for five hours, two days a week. There you have it, I did this. It's my fault. So why was I so sad to see him go?
Kendan's first day of preschool went fabulously. I was prepared. I set three alarms to ensure there was no possibility that I would sleep in. Kendan's clothes were picked out the night before, waiting on his dresser. His backpack was out on the counter sitting next to our camera and video camera. I didn't need the back up alarms set for myself. I popped out of bed the first time, I was so excited for him. I made his lunch and packed it into his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lunch box. When his alarm went off I greeted him in his bedroom with the video camera in hand. Upon seeing his "bed head" in the mirror, standing on his stool to take his allergy medicine, he asked that I gel his hair for school. Nothing could have made the morning any better than that simple request. After breakfast, we headed to the front step for a photo shoot holding his "Kendan's First Day of Preschool" sign I made the night before. He put his Super Man backpack on, it's about as big as he is, and we were on our way. He walked into school chatting the whole way about how he thought the day would go, I recorded it all. We approached his classroom and greeted his teacher who we had just met two days prior. I've never seen him happier than when he got to hang his bag on a hook labeled with his name! And off he went. Off to play. Off to school. No goodbye. No big scene. I considered it a blessing. I didn't know what I would do if he cried and begged me not to leave him. Truthfully, I didn't know what I'd do if he didn't even acknowledge my leaving him either. So, I just told the teacher to have a good day and left. Walked back down the hallway holding Damien. Feeling a little sad, but mostly so glad it went as well as it did. I buckled Brother into his seat and realized that it was just me and him. He noticed it too and pointed to Kendan's empty car seat and hollered something in baby talk. "Yes, Damien! Just you and me today!" I felt extremely lucky. Lucky that Kendan was off to a great start. Lucky that I now had one-on-one time with my little one, who I've never been able to focus all of my attention on. School was a great decision!
Day two was a completely different story. He woke up immediately begging not to go to school. He cried and threw a fit when I dropped him off. I left him screaming, arms outstretched in my direction, being held by his teacher. She reassured me everything would be ok and I said goodbye to him in as chipper of a voice as I could muster. The teacher did, in fact, let me know he had calmed down within two minutes of my leaving, which eased my mind some. But, this was the same story for day three and four. Screaming. Begging. Crying. And always a reassurance from Kendan's teacher that he calmed down quickly, was happy as can be, and had a great day. I even received a picture via text message as proof. I would pick him up from school and he always stated he had fun and liked his teachers, but that he did not want to return to school the next day.
I was a little worried. What had I done? Was he too young for school? Was he not ready? I had a lot of hesitations at the thought of spending any amount of time away from him. Attending school two days a week is just the beginning. Soon it will be every day of the week. Then after-school activities. Sleepovers. Camps. I was extremely apprehensive to voluntarily take Kendan to school when I could be spending all of that precious time with him. I felt like he was slipping away. I couldn't believe that after 3.5 years of sharing every minute of the day with him, there was going to be ten hours a week that I could not witness. I tried not to think about it, and still try not to. It's heartbreaking. But, as I previously established, I did this. This is my fault. And, I did it for all the right reasons. There was a purpose for registering him for school. But, seeing my sweet boy beg me not to "send" him to school (he actually used that term, as if I was sending him off to boarding school) made me question any reasons I had for signing him up.
Kendan has since completely turned it around. Every drop off at school is now reminiscent of day one. He's fine with going, runs off to play with barely a goodbye for Mom, and has come to terms with the fact that he must continue to return to school for the remainder of the year. We came to the conclusion, in a very revealing conversation with my three year old, that his issue with attending school is that he doesn't want to listen to the teacher and do what the class is doing all the time. The exact reason I felt he needed preschool. Validation. Confidence renewed. Mom of the year. *Ok, that's a stretch.* I cannot even explain what a relief his change of heart has been for me. While I am still saddened at the thought of my baby growing up, I feel comfortable in my decision to begin Kendan's school years now. It's not surprising to me that his teacher always comments on how funny he is and that he "did great" every day. I knew he would. I just didn't know how I'd do. I'll continue to be thankful that he now enjoys the idea of going to school and that I get to spend quality time with Damien. And I will just stay focused on all of the benefits of Kendan's attending preschool and try not to envision him slipping away.
I am so incredibly proud of you. You bring a smile to everyone's face wherever you go. I cannot wait to see you blossom even more by going to school. I already really enjoy opening your folder to see what adorable projects you did for the day. Fingerprint apples and ants... I treasure any paper with your name on it. I love you so much, please always be yourself because you are really something special.