Preschool graduation: it seemed to come up on me really fast.
Wasn't I just pregnant, scheduling a hospital tour? I just planned her first birthday in the park and now she is having her fifth (and planning it herself). I've now officially entered the time warp that parents speak of, and it is really weird! My baby will head of to kindergarten in a few months and suddenly I'm clutching a box of tissues trying to process how my baby turned into kid.
We almost didn't send her to this preschool. Originally I had signed her up for a different preschool and a few months before it started I got an email saying they were relocating and the commute would have been horrible. I was crushed, and in a city like LA not knowing in April where your child will attend preschool in the fall is like showing up to the party a day late. I felt completely unprepared and knew it wasn't easy to get a spot anywhere.
We ended up full circle back at the school that I had been aware of since she was born. It sits in a beautiful park near our house that she and I have gone to since she was born. I started teaching stroller workouts there, then we would play there and we have even had every birthday party to date at this park. I knew about the school and had even applied when she was one (I thought I was in the early planning club then) but then got a call saying it was for people in that area only. One day at the park I noticed a sign saying they had opened it up to non-residents and so I called. I signed her up right then and there. It worked out perfectly. It was close to home, she knew the space well and despite the fact that we knew it would be a tough adjustment for her she stood a great chance of success somewhere at least a little familiar.
Preschool was amazing for all of us. It gave her a huge amount of confidence, independence and her social life sky rocketed. The first few weeks were rocky. She cried every day when we dropped her off. I often joined in on the tears once back in my car alone. I sometimes even got calls to pick her up a little early. I knew progress was being made though when I came to get her early after one of those phone calls and walked in to find her all dressed up in dress up clothes laughing with a group of girls. That was the first moment I saw her as a child. Not as my child, not my baby, but herself. She was giggling, talking and navigating through a game with no adult interaction. I had never before seen this child but I liked her and I was proud to be associated with her and honored to actually be related to her. When she saw me she had this embarrassed smirk because she was caught having fun and didn't want to leave. I left her there and came back later with the other parents for pickup. From that day on I never got a call to come early. She loved it there and felt at home, safe, and very welcome.
She experienced everything from music and baking to reading and problem solving. She got on well with her peers, and soared with accomplishments. The first year at the teachers meetings we were told she could improve her speech a bit and that she still had some separation anxiety issues. This year they had nothing to say that needed work. She had really grown there from a toddler to a kid. Articulate as ever, yesterday we passed a hotel that was circular and she said that it was "really very unique." Every so often she will still mispronounce words. She will say she wants to go for "shushi"and I don't have it in me to correct her. She dances that fine line between a very innocent little girl who still asks a lot of questions to a kid who can do it all herself and knows all the answers.
Her first experience at school has taught me about how wonderful other people can be for your child. Of course the social factor for her, but also the teachers. She had three lovely, sensitive, intuitive women who I trusted with my heart and who never once let me down. Together we turned out a success of an experience and I am beaming ear to ear with pride (with a whole lot of tears running down my face).
Monday, July 1, 2013
A few months back my close friend had us over one afternoon. It was like most afternoons in that we often are at each other's house. Our girls were playing in one room, and our babies were crawling around at our feet. We often spend afternoons chatting away while the kiddos play, we feed them together and then get them home for bed. This afternoon was different though. The normal talk turned serious right away. She said she had to talk to me. My first thought was, "What have I done?" and the second was, "Oh no, you aren't pregnant again are you?" The latter would only be phrased with such negativity for those who celebrate the end of pregnancy forever like she and I have. As big as either one of those who have been they are nothing compared to what she had to tell me.
Over three years ago I met my friend at a pizza place not to far from our homes. We sat with our husbands and daughters. The guys hit it off, our then toddler daughters were instant giggling buddies, and she and I began a friendship that has been one of the most important in my adult life. All of us are inseparable. They had moved from London two weeks before, and didn't know very many people with kids. I had been just that day saying to my husband that I wished I knew more people with kids near our house and then I met them. We spent days together at the park, pool, each other's houses, and nights and weekends we would go out from time to time as well.
We have experienced so much together. If you have followed my blog in the past there are many posts written about our experiences together. We have gone through potty training, tantrums, first day of camp, first day of school, feeling left out, isolating others, competitive behavior, annoying behavior. We have been there for each other as friends and as mothers. We have managed to raise two beautiful girls who love each other as much as we love each other. The more I meet other parents the more I realize how rare a find like this is. We have gone through pregnancy, miscarriage, and pregnancy again. We looked after each other's daughters when we had our baby boys. We went through the rough newborn phase together. Our daughters played together while we cried on each other's shoulders about sleep deprivation, adjusting to managing two kids, and whether life as we knew it before was over.
As it got easier we grew even tighter. Our boys now had playmates and they seemed as excited to see each other as our girls. We had a great routine going with carpooling to and from preschool each day. We discussed the future and visited where the girls would attend Kindergarten. We agreed that as much as they loved each other that it would be best to separate them. This was the plan at least, until it all changed that afternoon. My friend looked at me and said "We are moving back." I was in shock. This was too much for me to even comprehend. This wasn't possible, and how can we change this. She had been so happy here, they all had loved living in LA. Then came the tears first from me, then her, then an even bigger wave of sadness came over me like a kick in my stomach: I thought of the girls. It was a very defining moment as a mother. When something this big can affect me this way I could feel how monumental it would be for Twig.
We decided to be honest with them straight away. It would have been too hard anyway to hide two grown women crying in the living room and pawn it off like nothing was wrong. We calmed ourselves enough to tell them and then prepared ourselves for the many questions to follow. It is now a few months later and the questions continue to roll in. The majority of them are about visiting each other though. They both have it all planned out, and we know they will see each other at Christmas time when they come back for a visit. That gives us a bit of time to start planning a visit to London. In no way, shape or form is this how any of us saw it all panning out, but there is clarity in one thing for sure, these girls have a bond for life. As their mothers we have a commitment to nurture that bond and although they are leaving, the friendship between us all isn't going anywhere.