Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Olivia Layne - Preschool!

Olivia has been excited about school starting for at least 3 weeks. Almost every day she would mention being excited to go to school. We shopped for supplies (which she doesn't need for preschool, but who cares!) and a new outfit, yummy snacks to pack, made a new tradition of a back to school lunch the day before school, and even went out for ice-cream after her first day. Hey, this mama loves traditions!

To say I was nervous for her, and sad for myself, is an understatement. With her high expectations, what if she was disappointed after her first day? What would I do without my little miss all morning? Would she have fun? Like her teachers? Make new friends? Enjoy all the activities? Would she miss me too much? Would she think it was too long?

On her first morning we walked into that huge school (k-8) holding hands and she looked so tiny in the crowd of all the other kids. We made our way down to her classroom, which we had seen during her sneak peek, and I helped her put her things in her cubby and answer her mystery question. Then she was ready to play. I told her ahead of time that I was going to cry (and here I am crying again, just writing about it), but that it didn't mean I was sad, it meant I was excited for her and proud of her, and that I couldn't wait to pick her back up. I asked if she was ready for me to leave and she said yes, so I gave her a big hug and tons of kisses and walked out of the room with my heart still inside and tears pouring down my eyes.

I'm happy to report she had a good first day. She seemed happy and excited to talk about it. Her one complaint is that she didn't make any new friends. So of course I tried to encourage her that she would definitely make great friends, it just takes time when everyone is new and getting to know one another. The next day her first report about school was that she made two new friends! With a BIG smile :) She has completed her 5th day as I write this. Each day has had good things and some bad parts. One boy sat on her, one boy kept poking her, she didn't get to be the boss when playing Ninja Turtles, her teacher made her bring home her jacket instead of keeping it there.

Already in 5 days I've learned a lot more and been reminded freshly about my sweet girl. She is independent, an observer, a people pleaser. Shy, yet brave when it comes to meeting new people. Responsible and a good listener. She upsets easily if she feels like she's done something wrong or if she feels the teacher has been firm with her. She has a great memory for names and songs she has learned.

And I'm learning, too. Learning how to ask good questions. How to stop asking and let her open up in her own time, if needed. How to encourage yet allow her feelings to be validated. How to assure her that she is not alone with her feelings when she has a complaint or worry, or wishes she could take a break from school. How not to overstep or insert myself in situations if they aren't needed or wanted. (Like, does she want me to ask the teacher if she can leave her jacket at school? And, tell me which boy was poking you.)

These five days have been BIG. She is tired. Excited. Hesitant. On Friday she didn't want a two day break from school, but last night she didn't want to go back. Yesterday she described one of her friends as "fatter." Oh my. We don't talk about weight and body shapes much. A body is a body. So how to navigate what words can be hurtful and why?! How to gently teach that some words are better, but not make her feel bad for using a word she had no idea could be considered negative. How to help her understand that a firm teacher voice isn't mean, and doesn't mean she is in trouble or did anything wrong?! How to empower her and tell her that her body is her own and if someone doesn't listen when she asks them to stop poking, she can be firm, too?! How to encourage assertiveness when it comes to fair play and suggesting that maybe people can take turns being the boss during recess?! When to stop talking and suggesting and encouraging and empowering and just listen and be and hear.

And it's only been 5 days. Of preschool! What do the next 14 years hold?! I'm truly so, SO excited for Livi and all she will learn, both academically and socially. Excited to watch her spread her wings. I will try to keep my fears in check, and allow both of us to grow during this next adventure we are on separately, and yet together.

we decorate for every occasion :)