"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Thursday, September 2, 2010

preschool diaries: orientation

On Tuesday morning, we were to go to school so Evan could meet the teachers, I could drop off the Epi-pens and train the teachers on their usage, and we could all take our first little baby step into Preschool. Monday afternoon, I was casually talking about our plans for the next day. "So we'll drop Max off at Aunt Katie's house and then you and Mommy will go see your teachers!" Evan's eyes dropped and started to fill. His bottom lip quivered.

"Honey? What? What's the matter?"

"It's just....."

"Baby, what? It's going to be wonderful! We'll get to see your teachers and, AND!, see your classroom! We'll get to see all of the really cool toys and games that you'll get to play with this year!"

".....it's just that it's really important to me that my baby brother can come with us."

?

"You want Max to come to meet your teachers?"

[sniff] "It's really important to me."

Well, okay....SIR. I didn't realize it was REALLY IMPORTANT to you that we bring the baby. Fine.

So, Tuesday morning, the THREE of us pack up and head to school. Evan was quiet on the way over, but pleasant. We arrived at the classroom and his teachers were wonderful and smiley and happy and just right. While I chatted with Mrs. D, Evan and Mrs. G took a tour of the classroom. (Max sat in his stroller, thinking that since it was SO IMPORTANT that he be there, it would have been nice for someone to include him in the tour.) I kept one ear on Evan, wondering what he would be like during this first interaction with his teacher. He was unusually quiet. This kid can talk a blue streak about anything. He's got a great vocabulary and loves to use it. I thought it was interesting, but sweet, that he was acting shy.

It was a quick visit, and after about 10 minutes we were wrapping up our conversation. By this time, Evan was standing right next to me, and for lack of anything better to do, started to lapse into his slightly-nervous-default. He got wacky. Not, like, telling jokes wacky....he took one arm out of it's sleeve and put it through the neckhole of his shirt. He bent his wrist and rotated his hand, palm down, around the room.....you know, like a submarine's periscope. NATURALLY. Then, he opened his mouth into a big O and pointed his eyes down...like he was trying to look into his own mouth. WHY NOT? So, I said, "Yeah, so Evan's Nervous Default is to get a little wacky." Not apologizing for him or anything, in fact, I sort of like when he gets like that. Makes me wonder what the heck is going on in that head of his. But his teachers were really funny about it...sharing stories of the weird little quirks their own kids had at his age. Or....in the case of Mrs. G's son....at the age of 13. Just the way they instantly Got It made me feel like they're really going to Get Him. And that the WILL see all of those bright and funny and interesting sides to Evan that make him so.....Evan. Phew.

So we were leaving the classroom and Evan noticed the two posters hanging on the wall in the hallway, which are, inexplicably, of a herd of cows and a bull. Evan pointed to the bull poster and said, "What's that animal called, mommy?"

"What does it look like to you, hon?"

"I'd better go get my teachers."

(And it starts: No, Mommy you're wrong, Mrs. D said......)

So he runs into his classroom calling for his teachers, who follow him to the hall.

"I was looking at this poster but I don't know what that guy is called." (I love that everything's a guy.)

Mrs. D: "Hmmmm. Well, what do you think it might be?"

Evan, tapping his chin, thoughtfully, with one finger: "Well, I was thinking that it might be a buffalo. But I know that a buffalo has middle-sized horns, and that guy has REALLY big horns. And....well, it's not a yak because yaks are hairy......hmmmmm.....I....jus'.....don'......know......"

Me: "See how it kinda looks like a cow, but with horns? It's a daddy cow, called a bull."

Evan, looking right past me to his teachers: "I think it's called a bull."

And there it is. There's my boy. He'll be just fine.

***
Tuesday night was Parent Orientation. I wanted to cry during the director's speech to parents when she said, "Parents: You are the KEY to your child's success in school. This is the BEGINNING of a LIFE of learning." The beginning, yes, to his preschool teacher. I heard: "This is the END of mommy and Evan time FOREVER. There is NO going back from here." But I held it together.

All the parents' dispersed into the classrooms for a little Open House. While wandering around the room, still struggling to keep it together as I imagined Evan at the Handwriting Center and the Discovery Table and Housekeeping. A mom approached me as if we knew each other from, you know, Way Back.

"Hey!" she said, "So are you looking forward to the start of school as much as I am?! Talk about an endless summer, right?!"

Um. Yeah, no. I'm pretty sure you're not my new Preschool Mommy BFF.

Lesson Learned:
So far, Evan is handling this way better than I am. And that's no bull.

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