It was a success!
Lili woke up very early and crawled in bed with mommy and daddy. Eventually, she fell back to sleep, but waking up later was not pretty. She was far from in a good mood and regularly stated that she didn’t want to go to school. Uh oh!!! Fortunately, her mood took a turn in the right direction and she was back to being happy, willing and ready for her first day of pre-school.
Shortly before we were ready to leave I told her that I wanted to take her ‘first day of school’ picture. Her reply, “No picture.” I tried to convince her that we really needed to take her picture, but she simply said, “Please, no picture.” Fortunately, she agreed to a picture in her car seat before we left.
In my attempt to get a picture quickly before she changed her mind, I got more of the van than Lili.
So, I took another picture, but she looked away from the camera.
I attempted a third picture, but she was done. At least I got something even though she had her straw in her mouth both times. My attempt for a picture outside of the school was not successful either. She was just done with photos and wanted to get into the school.
After stopping at the front desk with her birth certificate and to pay the fees, she was on her way down the hall and soon in the classroom. She wasted no time checking things out.
Lili needs time to adjust to new situations and people. She is not content to find something to do and just sit and play or work on a project for any length of time until she has reached her comfort zone. As such, she would color for about 15 seconds, then move on to play with the farm animals for 30 seconds, trains for a minute, back to coloring for a few seconds, etc., etc. Then the teacher got her attention – she broke out the play dough. This was not just any play dough either. This was homemade, blueberry scented play dough, which cookie cutters, rolling pins and scissors. She now had her attention for the next 5 minutes, then she was done and back to exploring.
Before we went to school I explained to Lili that parents were allowed to stay in the classroom on the first day of school, but only on the first day. Initially she thought it would be okay for me to just drop her off, but once we were in the room with the other kids and parents, she changed her mind. My concern with staying is that she would expect me to stay every day for the rest of the year, so I wanted to stay as long as she needed me to, but not as long as she may have wanted me to stay. As she became more comfortable, I told her that I was going to go. She quickly responded, “No mommy, stay.” Then my opportunity to leave finally came as another mother told her little girl that she was leaving. I told Lili that it was time to go and showed her how the other mommy was leaving. Apparently, if the other mommy was leaving, it really was time for me to go as well. She told me by, gave me a kiss and continued playing with blocks. I only had to stay for 1/2 an hour and felt that we had already made progress.
About 10 minutes before her first day of pre-school came to an end, I headed back into the classroom. All the kids were outside playing so I joined another mom at the window watching them play. My heart sank a bit when I saw Lili standing all by herself in the middle of the playground. She was just standing there watching all the other children, but not participating. I knew it was another case of her needing to scope everything out and find her comfort zone. Then her teacher started walking over to the swings followed by Lili. Ms. Casey was her comfort zone on Day 1 and that was okay. She’ll eventually join in on the activities, but she needs time.
One funny story from her morning was before I left. She was standing at the train table playing and I noticed one of the little boys intently watching. I could tell that he really wanted to play, but was waiting for Lili to leave or to be invited, so I invited him to come over and play. He walked over and stood next to Lili, neither of them paying a bit of attention to the other so I suggested that Lili ask him what his name is. She turned to him and said, “What’s your name?” He very quietly said his name (which I couldn’t hear), but I did hear Lili respond, “Oh” and then turn and walk away. Got to love 3 year olds!!!
Yes, I’d have to say that day 1 was a success. There were no tears and based on Lili’s response to all my questions about her morning at school, she very obviously had a great time. Let’s hope day 2 is even better.