Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On The Eve Of Her First Day Of School

Does this look like a school-aged kid to you? Me, neither. 

Berit started her third year of preschool last week (she has one of those birthdays that had her starting preschool in the winter, and she won't be eligible for kindergarten until next year - which is the right thing for her, anyway), and Marta of course comes along for each drop-off and pick-up. 

And like any little sibling, she wants to do what her big sister does, and in this case it's go to school. St. Francis Xavier School, where Berit attends preschool, has a child development center. You can drop your child off any time of the day, and he or she will stay for as many hours as you like. It's a whole lot of preschool, with lunch and naptime thrown in. We visited the CDC on our first day to SFX and we really thought it was cool - and so did Marta. 

Each time we drop B at her class, Marta begs, pleads to go to school. Yesterday I sat down in front of her and said, "Marta, do you really want Mama to take you to school and say 'Bye-bye Marta!' and then come back to pick you up later?" She looked me square in the eye and said, "YES. That is what I want."

I recently took on another writing job, and had considered hiring our sitter twice a week instead of once. But now that Marta's become so keen on school, we've decided to let her attend twice a week for three hours at a time, while Berit's in class. Marta is THRILLED. She has a new backpack that she doesn't take off, and she has a lunch box that she opens, closes, opens, closes, hoping to find lunch in there. 

I've had her with a sitter for over a year now, once a week, and she does wonderfully. She loves the change of pace, the fresh ideas. She's happy when I come home, but she's happy when I leave, too. I've left her for a night with my in-laws - once even for two nights - so it's not as if I've never been apart from "my baby."

And yet. She is my baby, still. When Berit's at school she and I meander around town, looking at stuff and cuddling and telling each other neat things. I have a hard time thinking about her being gone for six hours plus five with the sitter each week. And I'm not the overly sentimental type, when it comes to school. It's just... she's so little

But she's getting bigger, she'd be quick to point out. In fact, when we first visited the CDC and she loved it so, I told her that she'd be able to attend once she could go pee-pee on the potty (apologies for the baby and potty talk to anyone who's not a parent and who is still hanging with me through this mess of emotions). 
We've not been pushing the potty thing at all because I wasn't too fond of knowing exactly where the nearest bathroom was everywhere we went, because Berit just decided one day to be potty-trained and that was that, because it's just so much easier to deal with diapers than emergencies or accidents. 

But when I said that, when I told her she had to be potty-trained to attend school, do you know what she did? She said, "OK." And that was it. Guess who's going pee-pee on the potty regularly now? Even in public? Our little 2-year-and-9-month-year-old. 

And so, tomorrow is her first day of school. I truly think she's going to love it, and I think they'll love her, too. 

And if you're trying to find me during those three hours, have a peek into the stairwell just outside the CDC's door. 

No comments: