Can I just be honest here? We’re all a bunch of Moms, right? And we’re all a bunch of Moms who are reading a blog that is subtitled internet radio for real moms, right? So if I can’t be humiliatingly honest here, where can I be? Here it goes – I’ve been counting down the days until my oldest son goes back to preschool. We’ve had a great summer and I love him to bits, but there have been many a moment when he’s smack in the middle of a tantrum that my eyes just casually wander to the calendar.
Eleven more days. I can make it eleven more days.
This is Jude’s second year of preschool, and I found myself a much different first-day-of-school Mom this time around. Last time I packed his Thomas backpack the night before, woke him up early to get him ready for his day, prayed with him, chose a special outfit, and took both photos and videos of him getting ready and leaving the house. My husband, 5 month old son, and I all walked Jude into his classroom, and I couldn’t help but tear up as I hugged him good-bye. I worried about him all day long and picked him up a few minutes early – just because I missed him.
This year? Yeah…notsomuch. In the hustle and bustle of getting everyone ready for the day, I rushed around to feed and dress Jude, and threw his papers and drink into his backpack at the last minute. I completely forgot to take ANY photos, and the thought of grabbing the video camera didn’t even cross my mind. I was standing in the kitchen in my plaid pajama pants and tank top when my husband said, “Alright Jude, say bye-bye to Mommy!” I scooped my little boy up in my arms, and whispered to him that I hoped he had a great day and knew how very much he was loved. I may or may not have gotten a little caught up in responding to emails and picked him up a minute or two late, and he may or may not have thrown a massive fit when he saw me. Because he wanted to stay.
It’s funny how much a year changes things, isn’t it? I could blame those changes on the fact that I’m a slacker Mom who was preoccupied with all the things she needed to get done while her oldest was at preschool, but I prefer to be a bit more optimistic. I prefer to think of myself as significantly more laid back this year because I knew. Oh, I knew.
Despite all my fears and worries of last year, it turns out that preschool was the best thing in the world for Jude. Suddenly, the boy who only spoke a few two-word sentences was putting together seven or eight words and expressing his thoughts in new ways every day. So many of things we’d been working on at home (shapes, colors, letters) seemed to finally click, and he became eager to learn and read everything he possibly could. It thrilled me to hear him singing new songs and telling me the Bible stories he’d learned, and I loved watching my little boy interact with and talk about his new friends. Jude has always been an incredibly active child – even for a boy. He requires constant stimulation and activity, and I sometimes feel less like a Mother and more like a dancing monkey. It’s a lot of work to stay two steps ahead of him and to be constantly thinking up new ways to entertain and teach him. Not to mention I’ve accumulated the capacity to size up any room for how tempted Jude will be to jump off the furniture, build makeshift slides, crawl under the couch, or run into the wall. That’s right. Into the wall. Preschool was made for kids like that. Kids who thrive in new learning environments and who grasp things more easily when they’re taught the same concept in several different ways. Kids who resemble Labrador Retrievers in their boundless energy and non stop desire to run, leap, run, bound, run, play, and when you think they MUST be exhausted – run some more.
[Just because I didn’t get any photos of Jude on his first day of preschool doesn’t mean I can’t share his sweet eyes and kissable cheeks with you. Just imagine a different colored polo on him and a backpack, and really, it’s just like you were there.]
Jude thrives at preschool in ways I couldn’t have imagined and comes home to me a healthier, happier, smarter, more content little boy. I love opening up his folder to discover the project he worked on that day, and treasure that he sits in my lap and explains what he did. I couldn’t be happier than when his teachers tell me how eagerly he learns and how impressed they are at his abilities. And to be perfectly candid, I kind of enjoy the fact that he comes home pretty worn out. I can’t say it stops him from running or using his little brother as a riding horse, but all of the excitement of his day does slow him down just a bit. Long enough for a cuddle or two, at least. And that, my friends is when I know that preschool is the best decision we ever made for that boy. Let’s just hope I get better at this first day of school Mommy thing, or my kids may end up at their first day of kindergarten three days late in their pajamas. Dang it if they won’t be the cutest little intelligent, active, socialized pajama-clad kindergartners you’ve ever seen, though!