Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mothers' Day Out

Peeper's first day of school met with mixed reviews.

About the time I started getting her dressed, she started saying "I don' wanna go to school," and that continued off and on while we got ready.

At first she wasn't keen on taking photos, but something changed her mind and she got into it. She was a little unclear on the concept of "show me your sign and smile" at first, though.

A little glimpse at her real feelings.

Some action shots on the way to the car.

No, I haven't moved her carseat to the other side of the car. She has just decided that "Mommy's door is better," and insists on getting in on that side and crawling across to her carseat. Sometimes, she will climb in on her own side, but she rarely lets me lift her in or out any more.

When we arrived at the church, we waited in the car for a few minutes while Shrike finished reading Rapunzel, and while the drop-off rush died down. No one is allowed to go upstairs until 9:10, so before that, there are a bunch of kids and parents milling about in the foyer. We decided that might be a bit overwhelming to her, so we waited until they'd already gone up and parents started coming back out to their cars.

By the time we got out of the car, she was again saying that she didn't want to go, and there were little tears sitting on her eyelids, threatening to fall down.

I carried her to the door, and rang the buzzer. When someone answered, I said, "We're here for Mother's Day Out. We have a new student."

I then turned to Peeper and said, "That's you!" Who knew that those would be the magic words!

She said, incredulously, "That's me?! I'm the new student?!" and then "I'm the student! I am the new student! I am the new student!" all the way up the elevator, and to her classroom.

When we got there, we found her cubby, and tried to show her how to hang up her coat and backpack, but she was gone - straight to the toys!

The director said, "Oh look, she's already moved her name!" and sure enough, she and one of her teachers were at the check-in board, putting her little name tag in the "At School" section.

I asked her to do a quick dramatic reenactment for my cellphone camera, and she obliged, but I didn't catch the name-putting, only the running off again to play.

We talked to the other teacher and the director for just a few minutes, gave them our letter of introduction, and apologized for being "those parents," and then they hustled us out of there pretty quickly.

We were back in the car ready to leave within just a few minutes, thrilled with how smoothly the drop-off had gone. We were expecting a scene, but the only tears were ours - and we managed to hold them back until we got in the elevator.

When we got off in the lobby, we same the same man (turns out he's a custodian) who had gotten a kick out of Peeper's "I am the new student!" announcement on our way in and told him that, "She's doing great - but we're a wreck!" and he just laughed knowingly. I'm sure he sees that all the time.

From there, we went to Target, where we printed some photos of Shrike's grandma for the service on Friday, did some Easter shopping (shhhh) and picked up a few things to put together a little "First Day of School Prize" for Peeper.

Then we popped over to the convenience store to get some mint M&Ms to add to the prize, because Peeper had been asking for some yesterday, (Actually, she told Shrike, "You go to Sheetz and get some mint M&Ms for me and coffee for my mama." She was not happy when we told her it wasn't going to happen.), and then we went out to lunch at a hibachi grill that's probably Shrike's favorite restaurant. We passed on the "show" and just got a nice, quiet booth. And a nice glass of wine for me.

Then, we stopped by the library for Shrike to return one book and pick up another (this week is the between-sessions break week for story time), then by the bank to deposit and check, and back to the church to pick up Peeper.

Before we went in, we put together her prize: Mint M&Ms, pink (birthday cake) cakepop from Starbucks and a couple of cheep-o plastic animals, all in a "chicken bucket" as she called it.

When we went in, I made a potty stop and then we failed to control ourselves from peeking into the gym, where we knew her class was playing. We saw her right away - wearing her back-up pants, and crying. Ruh roh.

Showing amazing restraint, we went on upstairs to wait for them to finish, and stopped to talk to the director. She said, "They're still at the gym," and I told her that we'd peeked in and seen her. She asked, "Is she still crying?"

Oh nooooo!

It seems that she was crying off and on pretty much all morning. When they got her involved in something, she got happy and participated for a while, and then she remembered that she missed us and cried.

And, she wet her pants, right at the beginning of gym time. I was amazed that she'd allowed the teacher to leave her same shirt on, because she usually wants everything changed, since "Dat doesn't match!"

Mrs D (the director) told us that, although it's a tough decision, they usually do not call parents for first-day criers, because if they come get them, they'll cry every day and expect to be picked up. I can understand that, and I'm sure it was the best decision, but we felt so bad about her being unhappy, while were out having a great time, thinking that she was, too.

Soon, we heard the elevator opening, and lots of little voices, and one very familiar little voice saying, pathetically, "Mommy, Mama, Mommy, Mama . . . ."

As soon as she saw us, I scooped her up and gave her a big hug, and she told us "I miiissed you!"

When we went to her room to pick up her things, we pretended that everything was hunky-dory and got all excited about the pictures she'd colored, and about the "What we did today" list on the white board, and her new friends - one little girl reportedly got a tissue and wiped her little tears for her, and another girl patted her on the back every time she cried, how sweet is that!

When we said, "Wow! You made a tornado?!" one of her new friends took us over to show us the two-soda-bottle tornado machine. Meanwhile, Peeper was putting on her own coat and starting to talk a bit about the things she did.

On the way out, Mrs D told her that next week is going to be Fairy Tale week, and that they'll be talking about Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood, and then told her that her favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz, and she can do a really good impression of The Wicked Witch of the West.

(She read the letter!)

By the time we got to the elevator, Peeper was admitting that she had "a widdle bit of fun" when she wasn't missing us, and we'd assured her that we'd missed her too, but had also had fun, because you can do both! At the same time!

As we were walking out the door, I told her that we had a little first day of school surprise for her in the car. She said, "What is it?" and I told her she'd just have to wait and see. She said, "I bet it's some candy!"

Smart kid.

Ah, that's better!

When we got home, she watched some videos and decompressed a bit, and then told me quite a bit about her day (with a lot of prompting) and was sounding much more positive about it.

I told her that, on the first day, it's harder, because she didn't really know when we were going to come get her, but that next time, it will be easier, because she'll have a better idea what to expect.

She seemed to buy that. I hope she's still buying it next Wednesday morning.

Oh, and lunch? She "nibbled a few Goldfish" and this is what came home:

But, within a couple of hours, she'd eaten all those Goldfish, plus the rest of the bag, a couple of bites of hot dog, a cheese stick, some Cheerios, half a yogurt smoothie and a bit of apple sauce. And most of a cake pop and most of a bag of mint M&Ms.


  1. Way to catch up on not starving Peep!

    It would have been wonderful if she had had a totally terrific time, but you know, the being unhappy, but still having some fun, seeing that you came back, etc. is probably all a good learning experience. It sounds like it was, overall, a sucessful day.

    And yay for having wonderfully empathetic little friends!

  2. Google "My Mommy Comes Back" (that may not be the exact name, but if you search you'll find it) - it's a great little video, should be available on youtube, that shows that you always come back to get her. Let her watch it a few times, it will help!

  3. My Mommy comes back, she always comes back
    She always comes back to get me.
    My Mommy comes back, she always comes back
    She never would forget me!


    It was on a "Baby Songs" video (VHS, of course) that Frappa LOOOOVED when she was 2 or 3.

    Thanks for reminding me about it!


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