Preschool University Archive

First of First(s)

Yesterday was a big day in the Friedman house and it all happened within 2 hours of waking up. YAWN. So tired. O. M. I would type the G but I’m just that tired.

Madelyn and Arielle both had their first day of school and everything went pretty perfectly. Other than the no-sleeping in thing.

Oh, and not to bury the lede but Bryan was out of town for work this whole week so it was single mama milestone time and part of me feels like Supermom for doing it all myself and part of me feels super lame for being proud of doing it all myself.

I woke up the girls after I bargained with the alarm clock to not be sooooooo rude and abrupt in the morning. Madelyn woke up excited to start her first day of school. Arielle was just confused because she normally snoozes until 8:30 (don’t hate!). Thankfully, outfits were picked out the night before (including mine because… mom friends) and lunches were packed before going to sleep so all we had to do was take care of ourselves and make time for a 3-minute BTS photo shoot.

I love how Arielle is looking up to her big sis, learning the ropes of how this first-day-of-school thing works.

First grader and first time preschooler — these girls love going to school!

Arielle looks like the cutest little jailbird ever with her mugshot pose.

Madelyn is a professional first-day model now.

Each girl got a frozen Trader Joe’s waffle on the go because I’m the world’s okayest mom, except for Arielle, who got two because I knew she’d need a refill during Madelyn’s drop off. We walked onto campus together and made a quick stop to take a photo with the school sign. I’m planning to snap the same shot of her in the same place every year to see where she ends up on this sign as she grows. Sometimes I am impressed with myself.

We lined up at her classroom and I had no idea what to expect because we were not placed in the class I thought she’d be in. Apparently, Madelyn is a cooperative learner and easy class citizen (funny, the principal clearly hasn’t seen her do chores and help out around the house when I ask), so she was placed in a first grade/second grade split. I’m mostly okay with this because I am a product of a first/second split as a first grader and I think I turned out fine… enough. Also, she is in a class with a lot of her friends. The teacher is great from what I hear, and who I wanted Madelyn to have for second grade. So, we shall see what happens next year. I am super bummed to miss out on the classroom we hoped to be in (super bummed = I talked myself off a ledge and had to actively restrain myself from turning into that crazy mom), but I also know Madelyn will do great in any class. I’m super proud of her and can’t wait to see her enjoy some challenges and maybe even get a sneak peek into second grade.

New building, new door, new room. Same backpack.

Of course, the best part about the first day of school is seeing friends she missed all summer! She didn’t have many playdates with school friends because the first half of summer, Madelyn was in camp every day and the second half of summer, she was working on a TV project (more details TBD). “Normal” is not a word I’d use to describe Madelyn’s summer, so we are all feeling refreshed and delighted to be back in the routine with some of her favorite friends.

Madelyn’s FAYEvorite friend from kindergarten is in her class again, and we are all so happy!

Two feet away from literally entering first grade.

Parents were invited into the class to check out the new digs, and just as Madelyn and I got comfy at her desk, Arielle ran out of that second waffle. So that’s when Armageddon happened, basically, and she let out screams and enacted tantrummy fists and no amount of rational conversation could be exchanged. The bell would ring in about eight minutes and parents were still hanging around the desks inside. I was so sweaty from this and frantically figuring out my exit game plan because I knew this was not acceptable. The teacher casually walked by to let me know that “it’s ok! We’re almost done in here, so you can probably just say goodbye now,” which was a super nice way of telling me to take the maniac toddler in my arms and remove her from the classroom. What a fantastic way to start off the year as the crazy toddler mom. Thanks, REL.

A quick kiss later, we fled the room and hurried to the car so we could get to our next stop: Arielle’s preschool!

Madelyn was so excited to have her own desk with shelves inside to store her things. I imagine this is like the elementary version of lockers.

Despite the fact that it was a school filled with toddlers, Arielle’s drop-off was a lot more low key: tons of familiar moms from years of preschoolhood together, warm and sugary sweet teachers, and best of all, tons of easy parking.

I signed her in while she temporarily hugged my leg and then I showed her where her lunch, snack, and water go. She totally owned the classroom and felt so proud to be there. She immediately got on the floor to play with building toys and sat with her friend. The girls’ older siblings were in preschool together and now it’s exciting that the baby sisters are going through it in the same class, too.

Arielle was hard at work doing her very first preschool STEM project.

Brooklyn and Arielle both sat down to explore the toys on the carpet and were super involved in their exploration.

Brooklyn got a little verklempt when her mom started to leave, but Arielle made sure to let her know she had a friend in her.

Saying goodbye to Arielle was super anti-climactic at her drop-off probably because she didn’t have a baby sister at her’s to steal her thunder (grumble grumble), but I’m so glad there were zero tears from her all day. That is not the experience we had with Madelyn at the same age.

After a little more schmoozing with mom friends on the playground, I made it to my next stop right on time: behold! The new tradition! The most brilliant idea ever! The escape from reality! The Massage! I booked an hour of me time to relax and get those knots worked out. Quite frankly, I’d been saying I was going to get a massage for six months, but every time I’d think about booking it, something stressful or physical would come up and it seemed wasteful to indulge in a massage when it would be ruined right after due to more deadlines or travels or events. But I think two kids successfully attending their first day of school after a wild summer was the best way to start the 2017-2018 school year!

That massage table made me its bitch.

Pick-ups in the afternoon went just as well as the morning hustle. Both girls shared big hello smiles with me and squishy goodbye hugs with friends. At first I was a little emotional to leave the kindergarten bubble and start in on the final round of preschool, but I’m feeling really positive and excited about the school year and know my girls’ happiness is the best part!

After school, Arielle enjoyed a leisurely ride with friends around the playground, similar to what some experience as they travel from bar to bar at night in a college town.

Madelyn ran out with a smile on her face, so I’ll call that a win.

Fun references with the now-annual photos from Madelyn’s kindergarten year:

Madelyn’s First Day of Kindergarten
Madelyn’s Kindergarten Update After a Few Weeks

  1. nicole
    8/24/2017 10:22 PM

    love your words. always! glad to hear they had great first days.

School’s Out For Summer

In June, Madelyn had her last day of preschool in her two-year-old class. Her fabulous teachers hosted the kids and parents in an end-of-the-year party and it was so fun to see the culmination of Madelyn’s first school experience. Most of the kids had been in the class since the beginning of the school year, but Madelyn and a few others started in January. It’s amazing what Madelyn and her fellow late-joiners accomplished in just five short months.

The party started with a yummy breakfast pot luck. Madelyn and I brought donuts and they were a hit! Madelyn’s teachers also handed out personalized folders with the kids’ artwork and other memorable photos and artifacts from the year. It was so special to have all of her work and to see what she enjoyed during her days at school. I know how much she loves art and now it’s all in one place. Not only is it sweet, but we love our teachers even more for not giving us piles of free-flowing artwork to store. These gals know the key to a mom’s heart!


The families gathered to watch a slide show with photos from throughout the year. It was so fun to see pictures of Madelyn with friends and busy with activities. It’s really hard to know what actually happens at school each day. When I ask her, Madelyn doesn’t give a great amount of detail and the conversation usually derails to another topic. I do wish I could be a fly on the classroom wall sometimes so I can see all the good times she’s having!

It’s funny to think that Madelyn started off her first few weeks of school in tears and needing lots of tools to help her cope with her new routine. It only took about a month until she was completely comfortable. Soon, she was confident enough to ask her teachers for help and become a natural leader in her class. Her teachers told me she loved to paint and color, enjoyed playing independently, but still got along with others and helped out where she could, and danced her heart out during music class. Unless she starts doing quadratic equations or finding the slope (I have no idea what I’m talking about by the way), then she’s truly very much like me as a tot.

Before we left on the last day of school, I got to see Madelyn enjoy her last “magic box” story with Miss Joi Joi who tells the best stories and sings the best songs using a felt board. Then we took pictures with most of her teachers and said goodbye. Most we’d see again soon, but not as Madelyn’s official two-year-old class teachers. I am a sucker for sentimentality.




Madelyn has recently started summer camp at her preschool. There are themed weeks, but the structure seems to still be familiar. So far, her new teachers have reported the same things and that she loves to play dress-up. This doesn’t surprise me in the least, since she likes to dress up at home, too. She’s constantly announcing that she has to put on a dress because she has to go to a ball. A ball! At the castle made out of mountains?

I think preschool is to blame for so much of this growth in imagination and art and I love preschool for it!

Madelyn’s First Day Of Preschool


Mama’s got issues. That’s OK. It means I care too much. A lot.

The night before school, Bryan and I talked up the whole shebang.

“You sing songs ALL the time. You’re basically getting two-for-one voice lessons at Jewish preschool. Don’t you want to be the next Barbra Streisand?!”

“You’re going to make so many new friends! You LOVE playing with friends! It’s never too soon to start campaigning for Homecoming Queen Esther!”

“You get to eat lunch that we make together! Here, Madelyn. Let’s put in all your favorite foods like carrot sticks and organic apples, and baby broccolinis. Right? RIGHT?!?!”

We actually did make lunch together and it was fun! Normally I dread making lunches, especially my own for when I go to work AT school, but Madelyn and I teamed up. She held the bag and counted the carrot sticks as I dropped them in. And I gave her the choice of strawberry jelly or grape jelly on her sandwich. It was such a team effort.

And then I lost my marbles when I put her cute little owl lunch bag in the fridge. Because preschool!

"Oh, hi Cool Whip and eggs and grapes! I'm new here and I'm a hoot!"

“Oh, hi Cool Whip and eggs and grapes! I’m new here and I’m a hoot!”

So hard to believe that we have crossed the line into this little category. For months, BabyCenter has been sending me emails about Madelyn’s development because, you know, the Internet gods know everything, and the same folks who updated me on the produce in my belly, and the infant in my arms, and the toddler on my… everything… the same folks have been sending me emails subjected “Your Preschooler” since August. Eh eh — not so fast, Internet gods! My Preschooler was not in preschool because I felt she needed a little more time at home (i.e., we bought a house and we were po’!) but now those emails are like Shakira’s hips: they don’t lie! My little poppyseed has become a preschooler! I was so excited to watch her grow, make new friends (for all of us!), and, well, for me to get a manicure at 10 a.m. But yes, the whole thing was bittersweet because there’s something so unbabyish about taking your toddler to preschool. Madelyn is almost closer to kindergarten than she is to newbornhood. Crazy, that tick-tock of time.

My alarm was set to go off way too early on Preschool Day. Madelyn and I are used to sleeping until at least 8:30 or 9:00, so I was having major anxiety about what our morning would be like. Neither of us are sunnyside up when it’s time to wake before we’re ready, so naturally, just like you do the night before a super early flight and you have to get to the airport, I woke up every hour in a panic: “IS IT TIME?! HAVE I OVERSLEPT? DID WE SKIP PRESCHOOL AND ARE WE NOW AT COLLEGE?!”

I got myself up, managed to put on makeup and a bra — both things I usually don’t do before 10 — and then woke up Sleeping Beauty who was not impressed with the whole exercise. But I reminded her it was Preschool Day and she smiled super big. We got dressed, did our hair, and Madelyn was in a great mood. She had breakfast and we went over all the wonderful things she could expect.

Just before we left, we took The Picture in front of the door. Isn’t that a rite of a passage in and of itself? I’ve seen all my friends do this for years, and while I was tempted to do the same for Princeton before his first night of Obedience School, I skipped it and waited to be able to do this with my own (human) child. Today was the day!

Thankfully, she cooperated for the camera. Lately, she’s anti-paparazzi and has mastered giving “the hand.” She was in such a good mood, she posed and giggled and showed off her lunch box!

Memo to Alison in 11 years: This is for sure going in the Bat Mitzvah montage

Memo to Alison in 11 years: This is for sure going in the Bat Mitzvah montage

Madelyn's First Day of Preschool



Off we went to school where she frolicked through the playground to enter the bright and cheery classroom with her equally bright and cheery teachers and then it happened:

The Leg Hug.

Her arms gripped her Daddy’s leg like a hippie’s on a tree, and she would. not. let. go. OK, OK, so, she’s a little bit of a leg hugger and is usually slow to warm when entering a room anyway. No big whoop. We’ll ignore this behavior and get to know the room and the teachers and all that. Well, she gave the side eye to anyone who even so much as breathed the same oxygen as her in the room, and didn’t show any signs of unlatching.

Finally, one of the teachers got her to at least sit in a chair and she looked at the play dough while the other kids made museum-quality works of art out of it, but hey, at least she looked at it.

"Maybe if I look at this long enough, it'll do something."

“Maybe if I look at this long enough, it’ll do something.”

We had done all of our admin duties and made our way over to her for the kiss-off. A quick “goodbye and love you,” sealed with a kiss, and a promise that I’d be back in a little bit (three hours) seemed to do the trick. No tears. No hysterics. It was a perfect morning after all.

Love my big girl!!

Love my big girl!!

We drove off campus, Bryan and I looked at the “Schedule” the teachers gave us detailing a typical day of Madelyn’s class and we wished we were two, and then we went our separate ways for the day. I felt 28.7 pounds lighter when I realized I had a whole 2.5 hours ahead of me to do whatever I wanted and efficiently.

Bryan's going to propose this new schedule to his boss at work.

Bryan’s going to propose this new schedule to his boss at work.

Until 10:45 when I got a phone call that I should return to school. School gets out at noon.

Apparently, Madelyn had a bit of a roller coaster morning after we’d left. Thankfully, it wasn’t the tantrum kind, but she was sad and definitely asking for her mommy over and over again. She saw her beloved Mommy & Me teacher on the playground and had a hard time accepting the fact that she flew that coop, and was in a new nest with new wonderful teachers and new sweet friends. That adjustment must be hard for toddlers — to be at the same school, but in a different class with a different format and different faces — so I totally get it.

I came back in the classroom to find the kiddies eating lunch — and so well, I might add! — and Madelyn was a happy little girl. She was told that I was coming back and she perked back up. We ate lunch together and I was so impressed with her independence and the routines in the classroom which, as I could see, the seasoned teachers had well oiled.

Lunch time success!

Lunch time success!

We finished up the day with some circle time and some songs. I made sure she felt comfortable having me there, but didn’t want to participate too much and convey a Mommy & Me-type setting for her, so I gave her short cues based on her teachers’ directions to the whole class, and she settled in really nicely.

Madelyn participates at circle time at the end of the day!

Madelyn participates at circle time at the end of the day!

The end of the day came quickly, and Madelyn was in a great mood. Despite the rocky transition in the first half, I’d say the day as a whole was successful.

I’m so proud of my little preschooler and know we have many years of memories to make together in our preschool community. And she sang “Shalom Haverim” so beautifully, that Babs better be shakin’ in her boots.

  1. Pattie
    1/7/2014 8:17 AM

    I so look forward to your updates! What a little trooper…MOMMY! haha. New friends, new adventures, growing up. It’s all part of the plan for kiddies and a really hard transition for moms! Book those mornings! Lots of mani/pedi’s, lunches, movies (if they aren’t too long!) Enjoy your mommy time, while Madelyn grows to love school!
    Love you all….

  2. Mimi
    1/6/2014 10:02 PM

    Dear Sweet Madelyn! I’m so happy that you had a busy & fun day in your new pre-school class. I love your schedule of activities & that you will have very clean hands. 😉 It will be fun/funny to look back on this big event/milestone & see that you are still friends or even went all through your school years with some of your new classmates.
    Starting with today, I can’t wait to be able to go to lots of your school events!!
    I love you! <3