Ollie started his first day of Montessori this month. I was glad it was a Wednesday, because a short week was perfect for easing him into a completely new surrounding, with new schedules and new little peoples. I was extremely worried about how he’d do sleeping in a new environment, bc up til now, he’s only ever napped with us around. Will he sleep without us there? Will he fall off his cot? And meals aren’t included, so I’d have to provide a lunch for him every day. What should I make? Would he eat anything I packed? I worried over everything. Will he make friends? But most of all, I wondered how long it’d take before he adapted. Being slow to warm up, I expected the worst. My money is on three weeks…
I got him a new lunchbox that he was sure to love (i.e. with cars on the cover) and he just about grabbed it from my hand and marched to the car with it. The director warned us to make the goodbyes short because lingering makes it harder. As we walked away, we heard him screaming. That was Day 1. Pick ups are always great because I get a glimpse of what he does every day when I get there. Sometimes he’s peeing. Sometimes he’s sitting, staring into the sky and daydreaming as he’s drinking water from his bottle. Sometimes he’s sitting in a circle doing an activity. Sometimes he’s outside playing with the dump trucks and play houses. Sometimes he’s sitting on the floor watching a movie.
Day 1 – I waited with bated breath for the call, but it never came. I’d mentally review what time it was and what he’d be doing. And I’d count down the minutes til I could go pick him up again. It was excruciating. But when I pick him up and hear him just about clap his hands as he says “ooooh! it’s mama!” it makes my heart sing.
Day 2 – Got the dreaded call. Luckily it was only about his going potty. Apparently he screams anytime they try to take him (they take all the kids at set intervals). Even when he tells them he has to go, he’ll scream and say no no no and by the time the pants are off, he’d have an accident. I picked him up an hour earlier than usual, since it seemed like he was having a rough day. Again, he was all smiles when I got there, sitting in a circle with all his little buds, happy as a clam.
Friday/Monday we went out of town, so he got a short reprieve from school.
Day 3 – I didn’t go with him for the drop off. He didn’t seem to mind. I handed him his lunchbox and he grabbed it and walked out the front door by himself. We also didn’t ride in the minivan, his fave mode of transportation; he was surprisingly fine with it. Normally he’d have a fit if we don’t drive the minivan. Anyway, they said he’s still crying when he goes to pee, but no accidents.
Day 4 – CS said they had to pry him from his arms because he wouldn’t let go at drop off. I didn’t go to drop off, but I’m so glad I didn’t see that. So hard to see him struggle with this… But they said this was also his best day at school.
Day 5 – He’s starting to anticipate what’s happening. He yells “No school!” before we even try to put on his shoes. He said he’d rather stay home with grandma, which says a lot because he’s not a fan of grandma. So I had to go with him to the drop off. After we signed him in and said good bye, he started crying. But he didn’t even turn to watch us leave, which was huge progress. It was apparently the best drop off yet, because they asked him for his teddy and thought they’d have to pry it from him, but he just handed it to them and went to play, no crying. He did great, no accidents. He was investigating one of the playhouses when I went to pick him up. So cute.
Day 6 – Last day of the week. I walked him to the car but didn’t go with him to the drop off. When I went to pick him up, he was sitting next to a new friend, leaning over and playing with him. This is the first time I’ve seen him engage with another kid at school. They say toddlers parallel play until age 3 or so, so this was unexpected to see.
Overall, he’s been adapting much better than I expected. Sure he cries and fights it, but he’s also gone with the flow a lot faster than I imagined. What I also didn’t realize, was how little I’d get to interact with him now that he’s out of the house. It’s really only an hour in the morning and a couple hours at night before bed. I’ve worked primarily from home most of Ollie’s life, so it’s been a big change to see so little of him all of a sudden.
At least it’s Friday now, which means we’ve got a whole weekend to hang out together again!