Our smooth sailing didn’t last.
I showed up early for pick-up the first day. “Sophie’s doing great,” the teacher told me. “She spent the morning playing with a group of girls. She was perfectly behaved at circle-time, as if she already knew what to do. She painted you a picture and now she’s still napping.” So I hung out in the room where the early-wakers were helping the teacher sort crayons — until we heard a howl from the playground.
Sophie was sitting alone, in the empty playground, on top the highest slide, screaming: “Mommmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”
Apparently, when Soph woke up, the teacher supervising the nap-room had told her to walk down to the main building, pointed her on the path, then left her alone. But Sophie didn’t know where to go. Sophie is used to being in a small daycare in only one building, with only 6 kids, not in this spread-out three-roomed preschool with 40 kids.
Sophie does have good wilderness skills, though. She just went to the highest point she could find — the playground slide — and shouted for me.
All the other teachers were furious at the young, new teacher supervising the nap-room. She should have held Soph’s hand, and made sure Soph was delivered to the teacher who supervises woken kids. A kid less well-behaved than Sophie could have seriously gotten hurt. As it was, Sophie seemed fine. She allowed me to take her out for a cupcake to celebrate her first day of preschool, but then that evening she kept asking me, “Why was I all alone without my mommy?”
It doesn’t help that Ben is away for 10 days right now and I am frazzled by starting a new semester, while Sophie undergoes this transition.
This morning, she sobbed. She didn’t want to go to school. She hugged me hard and told me she was scared. She doesn’t know anyone’s name at her new school, and this really bothers her. I taught her how to ask, “What’s your name, again?”, I told her it’s all right to be afraid, and I told her this feeling will pass, that soon her new school will become familiar. I honored her special request for four hairbands and fourteen bracelets, until she looked in the mirror and declared, “I look like a princess.” I managed to get everything ready: Soph’s lunchbox, her nap-blankie (neither of which we’re used to transporting every day), and my first-day-of-the-schoolyear stuff, all in Ben’s car (which I hate driving). We drove a block, then had to circle back to get my school-parking-pass which wasn’t in Ben’s car, and which I can’t go to work without.
Finally, we got to preschool — and I realized that Sophie had no shoes.
Fortunately, this school stocks spare shoes. Apparently I’m not the only frazzled mom. My facebook friends comforted me when I posted that I had accidentally dressed Sophie in 14 bracelets, four hairbands, and no shoes. One fellow mom informed me that Soph was playing happily when this friend dropped off her own girl, 30 minutes later. Hearing that helped me manage my own first day of the new semester, better. Then I skipped out early on office hours, in order to get home in time to pick up Sophie at a reasonable hour — which is a huge challenge, and normally Ben’s job if he were here.
Sophie told me that she has a special sort of voice that can reach all the way to her Daddy when she calls up to the clouds. She demonstrated what she says to him, bouncing her special-voice off the clouds, calling: “Daddy, PICK ME UPPPPPPPP!” She’s adorable and heartbreaking.
I tried to recreate a daddy-pick-up ritual for her, taking her to Ben’s favorite bean-burrito place and then to his favorite park by the ocean. She ran around with good friends, there, pretending to be a guinea pig (the main pet at preschool), and seeming to be cheerful, till we got home, and she got in bed, and told me, “Mommy, I feel a litttttle bit sad. Because I have no friends.”