Two days of preschool down.
The first day went off without a hitch. Here we are, ready to get in the car and head out:
As you can see, Maddie is pretty damn excited. Both Maddie and Riley insisted on wearing their big kid backpacks, which really are adult sized, which is especially comical in Maddie's case because she actually wears it on her back and even with the straps as short as they go, it pretty much hangs down to her ankles. Riley mostly just drags his on the ground. That look that Riley has, the "Me? I'm going to preschool? Me? Really?" look, the one that is a mix of excitement and disbelief tinged with a bit of skepticism is the look he wore most of the morning. As for me, the look I wear is one of pride and fear, with a hint of annoyance about the fact that at breakfast Maddie whined, "Riley's foot touched my tights! Now they are smelly!" and thus her tights had to be changed. The annoyance is both with her for feeling like they needed to be changed and with myself for giving in.
Dropping the kids off went fine. We had visited the school for open houses a couple of times, and they walked in like they owned the place. We actually arrived so promptly that the door was not yet unlocked. Maddie and Riley did this until a teacher took pity on us:
Poor Maddie and Riley. They are destined to be the first kids dropped off every day (so that I have a minute chance of getting to work on time) and the last kids picked up (and even to be the last parent there, I actually have to leave work early).
At pickup, both Maddie and Riley were happy to see me, but did not have an air of desperation. They were praised by their teachers for being cheerful and cooperative, and for knowing the routine around things like Group Nap on a Mat and other daycare-type endeavors which are old hat for them and new to most of the other children. They ate a good lunch. Maddie pronounced that snack was her favorite part of the day. Riley successfully used the potty numerous times. I had drawings to take home and reports of the day's activities. I had feared utter exhaustion from a day of All Things New, but spirits were high and moods were good, so we supped at a local pub. Riley ate noodles with butter and cheese. Maddie ate some noodles and most of her Ba's cabbage/potato/sausage soup.
Today's morning routine was smooth. Riley did say, "Mama, today I will go to work with you. We'll pick up Maddie later," but he was not upset or worried. I think he was just seeing how I'd react ("I'd love to take you to work, sweetie, but everyone at preschool would miss you so much!") Today's pickup, however, was more like what I expected yesterday. The kids were again happy, but not desperate, to see me. Maddie was minorly miffed about a situation with her milk cup, but we recovered. I was informed that their nap had been brief. We made it to the car, and from then on out, it was one of those evenings when unicorns and rainbows and kittens and ice cream and all other manner of good things could have poured from the heavens and it still would have been All Wrong. We made it through, and I put the kids in bed at 7:30 instead of their usual 8:00. they were asleep almost instantly.
It's not surprising, really, that the exhaustion hit tonight. There's the cumulative effect of so! much! stimulation! during the day, plus new kids, new routine, new everything. And yesterday was all about being carried through by adrenaline. But even with the whining and tantrum-throwing and foot-stomping and needing to be carried and coddled of tonight, I'm so proud of both Maddie and Riley. We've been through a bunch of transitions since June. We moved across the country. We lived for a month with my mom and stepdad. We left a daycare that was like family to us and got a nanny. We moved into a new house. We made the switch to big-kid beds. Riley is potty-trained. And now, preschool. Maddie and Riley have handled it all like champs, sometimes better than I have.
I didn't think I was all that sentimental or stressed out or an emotion of any extreme around the kids starting preschool, but I have been utterly exhausted for the past couple of weeks. The past couple of days, though, not so much. Preschool is the last of the big transitions for a while, I hope. The last of the known big transitions. I know that life could throw us a curveball or two, but I'm hoping beyond hope that this fall marks the beginning of a period of relative calm in our house. May I not be asking too much.