Noah was excited. He seemed revved to go. In the morning he was playing with plastic bugs as I got my shower. When we went downstairs he bid them adieu by saying “Goodbye bugs! I’m going to school. But I’ll be back in two hours.” He told me he was reassuring them so they wouldn’t cry. He made quick work of his lunch (Thank God), peed on the potty and got ready to go out the door without a fuss. After I parked the car but before we got out Noah said “Goodbye, Mama.” And I laughed and said “I’m going to take you inside silly.” We had to wait in the gym for a few minutes until the Director came in to say “It’s time for school.” They put out a bunch of balls for the kids to bounce around while waiting. I could tell how hard Noah was willing to try when he walked away from me as if he was going to go get a ball but then just stood in the middle of the gym looking at me nervously. When the announcement was made I signed him in, put his name tag on his back and took him downstairs to his classroom. Teachers were there to greet the kids at the door and bar the parents from coming in. I gave Noah a hug and a kiss and told him “You are going to have a good time. If you need anything ask a teacher - if you need to go to the potty or even if you are just feeling a little shy and want someone to play with you. I love you and I’ll see you in two hours.” He said “Okay” gave me a shy smile and walked in to the classroom. And here is where I screwed up – I should have walked right away. But I didn’t. I kind of moved to the side to see if I could see if he walked right in to play with the toys or if he went to a teacher. He looked back up and saw me so I blew him a kiss, and smiled and he started walking back out towards me. Miss Laura saw him and guided him away from me and into the classroom and I hit the road. I didn’t cry but I felt choked up and a little physically ill but once I got to the grocery store I was fine.
I made quick work of shopping and even stopped at Dunkin Donuts for an iced coffee (yes, I still have a very real addiction to those.) Even though I couldn’t pick him up until 2 and it was only 1:30 I went back to the school figuring I could nurse Ray in the car and just hang out until it was time to go in and pick Noah up. After I parked the car out front I got out and went around to get Ray out of his seat. As soon as I did I noticed that there was a group of kids outside using the sand area – and Noah was one of them. While most of the kids were hunkered down in the sand, Noah was sitting with a teacher. Miss Rose was sitting in a chair and Noah was standing in front of her with her arms around him. I decided to quickly move the car on the off chance he spotted me, but I moved it just far enough so that I could catch a glimpse of him while nursing Ray. He eventually moved away from the teacher but was just pacing around with his hands behind his back. I felt sad for him. Soon enough though they collected the kids and took them inside.
I went in at 2 and Noah was all smiles and relief to see me. He was still sitting on the story carpet. I asked Miss Lyn (there are 5 teachers for the 22 kids) how he did and she gave me two thumbs up as she said something I didn’t quite catch since Ray started fussing. As we headed back out the door Miss Rose, who looks like your typical grandmotherly sort – which could be used to describe nearly all the teachers there – called Noah her buddy, gave him a hug and told me what a good boy he was.
So what does Noah have to say? “I cried a little bit.” Why? I wanted to give Mama another hug.” (Which is SO my fault for not leaving immediately.) Did you play with the toys? “No. I cried.” Did a teacher help you stop crying? “Yes. She asked me if I wanted to color.” What else did you do? “We went to the sandbox. Some boys threw sand and it got in them eyes.” Did you throw sand? “Yes/No” (this answer changed repeatedly.) Did you have a snack? “I didn’t have a cookie. I had crackers and juice.” Apple juice? “No. It was darker.” Did you read stories? “Yes. A story about a dog who hid. And a wheels on the bus book.” Did you sing? “Not Christmas songs or that other song.” You mean God Bless America? (he has heard me tell other people that the school promised to teach all the kids God Bless America by Christmas.) “Yes.” Did you talk to any other kids or make any friends? “I was warming up. When you don’t know people you have to warm up and then you can play and know them names.” Did you have a good time? “Yes.” Do you want to go back next week? “Yes. I might cry a little bit.” Well next time I’ll give you three hugs and three kisses before I leave okay? “I want four hugs and four kisses.” Deal.
So that’s the first day. It’s about what I expected. I’m proud of him – he tried so hard and stayed so positive. Hopefully he’ll “warm up” soon. Until then I’m sure he’ll just follow the teachers around. What seems the most mind blowing to me is that now he’s going to have this life outside of me. He’ll have these relationships with the teachers and the other students that I won’t witness firsthand and I’ll have to observe snippets and ask a billion questions to find out what is going on. I find that so scary. I better get me an apron with some really, really long strings.