The first goodbye: drop off at "big-boy" school
I've done it twice before now (with his two older sisters), dropping off for the very first time in a larger big-kid school-type setting. And, even since their respective "firsts" at school, I have we have had first drop-offs at other new schools, camps, classes. I seemed to get easier with each progressive "goodbye".
But, the very first time? It's hard.
My boy started at his new preschool today. Until this point, he's been in small scale settings, mostly in-home care, with close family friends. Today, he went to a place - a big (pre-)"school" - where not only he knew no one: I also knew no one. We entered and did not know where to sign in. We didn't know where to go: whether to go somewhere to wait for circle time or outside to play. We didn't know where to put blankets, dipes, lunches, jackets. And what about the papers, permission slips, authorization forms? I realize now that they all came back with me. We stumbled around, asked, found our way. All the while, the boy gripped my finger so, so hard, observing everything with big quiet eyes.
I was getting impatient with this whole drop-off exercise that I hurriedly put things away, swerved through other children, many of whom seemed to be coming back to the school they left a summer, and gave a hasty goodbye instead of a firm handoff to a new caretaker. In the back of my head, I knew it would all be fine, though I wished, wished, wished for a more fairytale send-off where there were no tears, no confusion, no sinking feelings. On the other side of the school gate, I crouched and listened to my boy cry. I strained to hear what his teacher was saying. She was singing to my boy, while also guiding other children with their activity. Indeed, this was what we signed up for. There were no promises of one-on-one attention. My boy became silent, and, when I peered through the gate slats, I saw him standing, watching the other children play.
I feel sad. I felt so sad when I got home that I cried. I did not expect this, he being my third child and all. It was so hard.
Did you have a first "goodbye" and drop-off today? Or, maybe it felt like one?