Today, August 20, 2012, marks a milestone in the life of my son. As a working mom, I've had to adjust to having Elijah in full-time care. The first two years he was blessed to have an at-home nanny, and he's had the world's best babysitter for the last two years. But today is different. Today was the first day of Pre-Kindergarten. This is the first day of the beginning of his education. Not that he hasn't been learning from his family, friends, church, and other care providers. But today he began an all-day, five-day pre-Kindergarten program. He's lucky to be right next door to "Mrs. Donaruma" (one of Campbell County's BEST Kindergarten teachers) and also known to him as "Aunt Lindsay." She assured me he did well on his first day, just as the teacher said, but more on that later.
He's been prepping for weeks now. We shopped for his Lightning McQueen backpack, lunchbox and matching thermos. He got new school clothes and tennis shoes. He admitted he would miss his sitter and the two boys who've become his closest friends in life, but he also talked with excitement about going to school.
On the eve before school, we read Grover's First Day of School and he was ready. He didn't want to wake up this morning, despite an earlier bedtime and sleeping like a rock. But once he realized the day had finally arrived, he was ready to go, beating me to the car. We followed behind the school bus (admittedly, mama is not quite ready for her 4-year-old to ride the bus).
He made his way to the classroom, wanting to be carried into the school, but I declined, reminding him he's a "big boy in preK now." He reluctantly agreed to walk. I helped him hang his backpack in his cubby and he made his way to his assigned seat. I admit - I was nervous at the thought that my free-spirited wide-open little boy will be asked to stay in an assigned seat. This is not at all what he's used to. But the report on this came back in his favor too!
Parents were asked to leave and escorted on a 2-hour tour of the school and resources. Our last stop was the PTA and I paid my dues and signed up, naturally. WHAT?! I have a child in preK and I'm a member of the PTA. How did this happen?!
The first day was only a half day. We met back up with the kids in the cafeteria where he was donning his backpack and chowing down on a snack. He was quick to report on his day, saying he'd obeyed and followed instructions. He later told me a boy in his class got in trouble for yelling but proudly stated he listened to the teacher and obeyed. Apparently, according to him, he even tried to quiet the yelling boy, where he was reminded by the teacher and mom that the adult will handle things. He retorted, "But moooom...I was trying to be responsible because that boy wasn't listening to the teacher!" I couldn't be mad about that! I think he's well on his way to learning the pillars of character! :)
And now he's tucked snug-as-a-bug in his bed. Tomorrow is his first full day. It's a big change in this little boy's life. And this mama is truly proud.