My big boy started preschool this week! I was very worried about it actually. Two and a half is young for preschool anyway, and Max has had a tendency to hang back and be overwhelmed by noise, new situations and not particularly interested in playing with other children. That combined with his serious separation anxiety of late could have spelled disaster for preschool. The mornings were rough, and actually they got progressively worse- once he knew what to expect (i.e. Mom carries him to his classroom door and hands him off to the teacher and leaves) he started crying and telling me over and over all the way to school “I no want to go to cool!” and would burst into tears when we got to his class. The first day they told me he kept his eyes closed really tight and sat in the corner for awhile and then gradually peeked out a little more and eventually was able to participate a little, but mostly he just watched (which is entirely typical). What I didn’t expect was how quickly he would adapt. Despite his desperate protests day 2 and 3 went well and he participated and had a great time. By today the sheet they give me each day talking about his progress said he was “chatty” which thrilled me because he is such a chatterbox, but ONLY when he is comfortable– when he’s feeling shy he clams right up. He had a great time learning about volcanos, apples, and hoola hoops this week which he told me all about. They feed him lunch at school, then he comes home and usually eats a second lunch before passing out for a very long nap. We have really struggled with naps this summer but he’s so exhausted from school he zonks right out.
Surprisingly, even in such a short time, he seems to have gained confidence? or maybe skills in interacting with other kids. Yesterday at the library a little girl asked him if he wanted to be friends and he said “yep.” Then she proceeded to boss him around for about 20 minutes. M reports similar results at the playground.
He’s also gotten kind of aggressive with Mars.
It’s a very difficult line that I am sure I will be riding for many years– I want to protect Mars from getting hurt by his brother but I want to encourage them to play. Max often starts by pushing his brother away from whatever he is playing with (since Mars wants to be in the middle of whatever his big brother is doing) and then often Max pushing him away becomes it’s own game. This evening they were basically wrestling. Mars was shrieking with laughter while Max rolled him around on the carpet and I was biting my nails and yelling “gentle!”
This preschool schedule has been life changing. After months of having both boys to entertain all day three days a week, and pulling my hair out about everybody wanting me to do something every minute, suddenly I find I am missing Max, since between school, naps, and his park trips with his Dad in the evening (I rarely go because Mars needs to go to bed) I don’t see much of him. Mars and I have been getting to the gym finally (I dread when Mars is big enough to go to the toddler room– that place is a zoo. The baby room is lovely), doing errands, and playing together. It is weird to have so much time on my hands. In October I go down to one day a week at work and I will have one day all day with the boys again which I am looking forward to– I plan to have it mostly be our field trip day where we have adventures.