In about a month, Arlo will begin a really great preschool program for 2 year olds. After surviving all the drama that is preschool admissions in the Washington, D.C. metro area (that's another blog post) we now must deal with something even harder: our first-time separation.
I'm a stay-at-home-mom and we've never used a nanny or Mom's Day Out program or part-time daycare or Sunday school class. The Hubbie and I do use babysitters a couple of times a month for weekend dates, but at most the babysitter will tuck Arlo into bed and then hang out in the living room surfing the net or reading until we get home. The only night Arlo and I spent away from each other was the one night I was in the hospital for Elsa's birth. That nearly killed me.
This is the preschool of my dreams - half Waldorf, half Montessori, wonderful staff, sugar-free and peanut-free snacks, lots of outdoor time, lots of singing, and teachers that speak Italian and Spanish to the children - this was our first choice. And we jumped through hoops to get him in, including attending an orientation, completing the mandatory visitation of the classroom, filling out the ten-page application (picture included), attending a class with Arlo for what can best be described as an interview, and attending a parent-teacher conference.
I'm not sad about his growing up and moving towards independence. I am ready for a break from juggling a toddler and an infant for thirteen hours a day and I look forward to alone time with Elsa. I think I am just worried about a bumpy transition. It will crush me to leave him crying at school. I worry about him feeling abandoned. I really hope he loves preschool.
To prep Arlo, I bought a book a few days ago called "D.W.'s Guide to Preschool." D.W. is a character from the PBS show Arthur. Neither Arlo nor I watch that show, so we didn't know D.W. before picking up this book, but the book has become a favorite of Arlo's nonetheless. She talks about circle time, playground time, snack time, craft time, and all the other fun stuff they do at preschool. Arlo asks me to read this book before the 1pm nap and before bedtime every day, and he asks lots of questions.
In one month my baby boy will start a three half-day a week preschool program and somehow we'll navagate this separation of our lives, this rite of passage.
And then in two years we'll figure out the whole kindergarten thing.