There are a variety of milestones in a child’s life: first steps, first words, potty training, etc. I have been incredibly proud of my daughter at every milestone and continue to celebrate her accomplishments every day. I thought I was ready for the next step. I thought it wouldn’t be an issue. I was wrong! Not about Melody, but about myself.
We started thinking about preschool about six months ago, looking at various centers, trying to decide what we wanted Melody to get out of preschool, trying to determine if she was ready. Our quest was excellerated when we learned that her best buddy in daycare will be starting preschool at the beginning of the new year. We wanted to make that separation as easy as possible, since they have been together every day of the week for most of their little lives.
Finally we settled on a preschool in our area that we really liked, plus our neighbors had also taken their child to the same preschool and recommended it. We enrolled her, and set a schedule. Two days a week for the two weeks leading up to Christmas break, the break off, then in the new year, full time preschool. I notified the current babysitter who has been like a second mother to Melody for well over three years. I was excited!
We bought all the required things, including a lunchbox, and on Tuesday my baby started preschool. She was eager to get there, excited to learn about her new environment, meet new kids. What I wasn’t prepared for was her forgetting about me almost instantaneously. She became absorbed in the train table with some other children. I snuck out so she wouldn’t see me leave, and as I was walking out the door, I felt the tears coming.
I did not cry when I dropped her off at her current babysitter’s for the first time, though I expected to.
By the time I was in the car, the tears were freely coming down my cheeks and I was getting the sniffles. My baby is a bona fide little girl. Today was her second day of preschool and she was ecstatic to return. I think preschool and Melody are going to be really great friends. I have a grip on myself today; I think I was just stunned by how easily she took to the new environment where I expected her to be shy. Where I figured she would need me, she was happy to run away from me. As her mother it was incredibly difficult not to grab on and never let her go. As her mother I knew that I had to let her take these baby steps to independence on her own.
2 thoughts on “Baby steps”
This was the first of many, many steps away from you that Melody will take over the next 15+ years. I cried when I took my oldest to daycare for the first time. I cried when I took him to his first day of kindergarten. I was sad when I put him on the bus for his first day of middle school. I was outraged when I took him to talk to the high school counselor to choose classes, and she treated me like I was invisible and unnecessary (though they love you for your time and money!). In June, I will cry as he walks across the stage and gets his high school diploma. And in August, I will cry when I leave him at his dorm room and head back home. But through it all, I know that I have raised a wonderful, competent, thoughtful young adult.
Welcome to the first day of working yourself out of a job!
I’m not at all surprised that she adapted so well. She has a very tough, loving Mommy who she knows she can count on. Unrelenting support, an example of strength and consistent adoration comprises a vast amount of a child’s sense of security. This just tells me something I’ve known for a long time…you’re doing an awesome job.
Just be prepared for more and more of your own tears. I can’t tell you how many times in the past couple of months I would have killed for a time machine that would put a newborn Burke back in my arms.