Luke was excited for his first day in the 4 year old class today. We all went to school together to cheer him on and wish him well in his new classroom. As we walked through the halls he quickly needed to use the potty and his face turned from happy to anxious.
He clung to us and retreated all at the same time. He didn't make eye contact as parents of friends and the other teachers that knew him welcomed him back. He scanned his new room with trepidation and begged for another trip to the potty. When we finally decided to leave him, at the teacher's slight suggestion, he cried hard as she held him back and we walked out of sight.
Oof. Talk about hard.
I called to check in on him at lunchtime and she said he was fine, he was timid during gymtime but played duck, duck, goose and warmed up soon after.
I could not wait for 4:15 to arrive, I just wanted to hug him.
When I got to school he was just coming from, what else, but the bathroom! He ran down the hall to me and jumped in my arms. He said, "Mama! I didn't miss you today. I just did when you left me in that room all alone. I didn't miss Elle or dad either. So how was your day mama?"
He told me that after we left him his teacher sat on the floor with him and read him The Kissing Hand*. My heart swelled. My mom gave him that book a few months ago and it is one of our favorites. He grabbed my hand and kissed my palm and showed me how he made a kissing hand to keep.
My mom stopped over to see how his first day was and with his hands gesturing this way and that, he told her, "my teacher read me The Kissing Hand, so thanks for getting it for me."
Here's to new routines, new friends, new experiences, and gentle reminders that we are loved.
*Chester Raccoon doesn't want to go to school--he wants to stay home with his mother. She assures him that he'll love school--with its promise of new friends, new toys, and new books. Even better, she has a special secret that's been in the family for years--the Kissing Hand. This secret, she tells him, will make school seem as cozy as home. She takes her son's hand, spreads his tiny fingers into a fan and kisses his palm--smack dab in the middle: "Chester felt his mother's kiss rush from his hand, up his arm, and into his heart." Whenever he feels lonely at school, all he has to do is press his hand to his cheek to feel the warmth of his mother's kiss. Chester is so pleased with his Kissing Hand that he--in a genuinely touching moment--gives his mom a Kissing Hand, too, to comfort her when he is away. Audrey Penn's The Kissing Hand, published by the Child Welfare League of America, is just the right book for any child taking that fledgling plunge into preschool--or for any youngster who is temporarily separated from home or loved ones. The rough but endearing raccoon illustrations are as satisfying and soothing for anxious children as the simple story. (Ages 5 and older) --Karin Snelson