Growing Up: ‘Aint No Thang for a Preschooler

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Posted by LaurenKelly | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 15-04-2012

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I sniff sniff sniffled as I watched my 3 year old son Gooby run down the pathway to our car last Monday morning. He was carrying his backpack on his back and it seemed as though it was enveloping his entire body. Gooby didn’t seem to notice though. He was more excited that he had his very own lunch zipped up inside the bag and, more importantly, that he was starting preschool that day. Just before I buckled him into his car seat I paused to take a picture to memorialize this momentous occasion.

We spent the last month counting down the days on Gooby’s superhero calendar in anticipation of his first day of school. To mark the big day, he picked an Ahsoka sticker from his Star Wars Clone Wars sticker collection. Every day in between was marked with various Marvel superheroes ranging from the Incredible Hulk to Wolverine. As Ahsoka day approached Gooby became increasingly excited. But just before we walked out the door last Monday morning, we had a total meltdown – “we” naturally meaning, both he and I.

I’m sure Gooby didn’t quite know why he felt such anxiety. But for me it was so many things. My baby is growing up! I am inviting more people than I have before into the shared responsibility of parenting and teaching my child. I am partial to my daycare provider with whom Gooby has been with since he was 3 months old. Over the course of the last 3 years, we have grown to love and immensely respect our daycare provider. She has played a central role in building our confidence as parents, and has allowed us to go to work each day knowing that Gooby has been cared for in the most compassionate way. She comforted Gooby when he was sick, kissed his ouchies when he fell down, and ran her fingers through his hair to help him relax before naptime. Our daycare provider changed nothing short of one million poopy diapers and was most recently the catalyst in our success in potty training Gooby this year. To put it mildly, our provider is incredible. So of course, with the start of preschool I worried that Gooby would never again experience the same love and care that he had with our daycare provider.

When we pulled up to Gooby’s preschool he launched out of the car and ran to the front door, leaving me in the dust. He made a friend (Nafan a.k.a. Nathan) instantly as I lingered around the cubbies nervously shifting my weight from one foot to another, biting the nail on my left thumb. Gooby’s teacher told him to say goodbye to me, which he did with great confidence and delight. Before I left I asked his teacher if she would help wipe his little booty if he happened to poop that day. Yah, that’s right. One of my biggest worries was whether the expectations of my baby would be, ahem, out of reach. As I went about my day I thought about Gooby a minimum of once every hour. I wondered what he was doing, if he was happy, whether he ate his lunch, if he napped, and if he had any potty accidents.

That evening, I nearly got a speeding ticket as I raced to pick him up at the end of the school day. When I arrived, Gooby was happily playing with his teacher and chit chatting with the cleaning staff who told me he was beautiful. He talked to me nonstop (no kidding!) the entire way home. He spent the evening in an unusually good mood and after dinner Gooby told me to close my eyes so that he could give me a surprise. I complied and, when instructed, opened my lids to see him proudly displaying the bits of paper he cut that day when he learned to use scissors for the first time. At bedtime I snuggled close to him in his little fire truck bed and asked him again to tell me about his day. He told me all about his adventures and, unprompted, told me that one of his “really nice” teachers rubbed his back to help him relax at naptime. It was in that moment that my anxiety lessened, and I was able to breathe a little easier. Apparently there are more people in this world interested in loving my child beyond my family and my daycare provider. While I know nobody will ever replace our daycare provider, I was heartened to discover that such love is still possible as Gooby’s world expands.