Preschool University Archive

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!

school1

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.

school2

school3

school4

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

Twas the night before Madelyn’s first day of preschool, and all through the house, a mommy was stirring — BECAUSE SHE’S A NEUROTIC WOODY ALLEN MOTHER WHO NEEDED TO BE SURE THAT HER DAUGHTER’S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL EVER WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE OF HER LIIIIIIIIIFE.

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

Preschool2

Preschool3

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
    Mimi