Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First and Final Day of Preschool

Ah, my gut.  Why is it always right?  Especially when it comes to my little girl?

Today was the big day.  Natalie wore her new owl dress from Grammy. She picked out the barrette she wanted to wear. She carried her new school bag packed with all the paperwork I filled out.

We took pictures on the porch with Grammy and baby sister. 

I was excited and nervous ... I bet she was feeling the same way.

During the ten minute drive, Natalie talked about her first school experience.  She mentioned hitting other kids and how that wasn't nice.  She yawned.  She talked about her two teachers, Ms. S and Ms. A.  She yawned.  She talked about going potty at school.  She complained of being "so tired."   I was not feeling very optimistic, but I continued to show excitement.

We pulled into the circular drive, and I reviewed the procedure with Natalie.  I wanted to make sure she understood that I would not be getting out of the car with her.  She seemed fine with that idea.  As the teacher opened the door to help her from the carseat, I told her to have fun at school.

She took the teacher's hand and started walking away ... and then ... I snapped this photo ...

... wiped the tears from my eyes and drove myself back home.

An hour and a half later - only half way through the "school day" - I got a call from the director.

Yeah, that's NOT a good sign, by the way.

It seems Natalie has three incidents involving other students.  And she was complaining of being "so tired."

Big fa-reakin' surprise.  Right?

The director was so nice about the whole thing, but she also asked that I come pick up Natalie now - rather than risk anymore incidents, which could cause Natalie "to start feeling badly about herself." 

Her first school experience - at least from my point-of-view - was not a good one.  And that made me so sad ... in all honesty, I was feeling sad for both of us.

So, I drove back to the school.  Spoke to the director and told her the afternoon class just wasn't going to work out for Natalie.  She suggested some things we could try to ease the transition, but I was only half-listening.  I know what is best for my child, and afternoon preschool just isn't good for her.

I want her to be able to listen to her body when it's telling her to lie down and rest. 
I want her to be able to control her emotions and have positive interactions with her classmates. 
I want her to be mentally and physically able to deal with the challenges of a new learning environment.

I do not want to set her up for a negative school experience. 
I do not want bullying behavior to become habit - for her sake and her classmates. 

On the drive home, Natalie was very quiet.  I didn't push her to talk about it because I wasn't really sure what to say. I wasn't angry - at all - except maybe at myself because it was my fault she was in an afternoon class to begin with.  My fault she had been pushed beyond her limits.

As soon as we got home, she asked for a nap and fell right to sleep.  I had to wake her at 5:00, and she didn't climb out of bed until 5:45.  She was exhausted.  Poor thing! 

I made the call.  After just two days, I am pulling Natalie out of preschool. It just wasn't the right fit for her because of the timing.  The director and her teacher were fantastic and supportive of my decision.  It was hard for me to let go of the expectations associated with sending my first off to preschool ... but I know it is the right decision for her right now.


Jessica {Team Rasler} said...

I know how disappointing the whole thing was, but you totally made the right call. Sleep is WAY too important and so is a good first experience in school. Natalie is going to love it next year!

Emmett Joseph said...

You made the right decision--a Momma's gut is rarely wrong :)

Chi-town momma said...

Such a sad, little face in that turning back shot...you know your daughter (and we are all envious of her love for sleep). You did what was right for the family - enjoy this time and all your fun activities!
Yeah for a fun visit from momma though to make the whole situation easier!

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