We are so very excited with Button... she started Preschool with a roar; and boy, did she give her teachers a fright! My daughter is LOUD and strong-willed (despite the blonde hair, blue eyes and coy smile), she knows what she wants and she didn't want to be in Preschool without 'my Mummy' those first few weeks!
But a month down the track, and while I still get the 'don't leave me Mummy' initially, I know it is only a matter of moments after I have left that the tears have gone, and a big smile is plastered over that cute little face. I have hardened up somewhat, and those tears no longer hit me in the heart to the same degree... I still have the odd moment, and I still go straight home and am almost on 'tenderhooks' awaiting 'that dreaded phonecall'! But so far - the only phonecalls I have had have been the wonderful ones, the 'she is doing really well, there is no need to worry' phonecalls. I had a message like that this morning when I got home - Button had woken early, and in full-blown tantrum mode, so was already yawning by the time we arrived. I had mentioned this to one of the teachers, and said if she was a bit fragile I'd pick her up earlier... but it turned out, there was nothing to worry about - and I SO appreciated the message as I am also tired, thus feeling a bit fragile myself!
I so want to be a fly on the wall, and be able to just sit and watch her without her knowledge one morning (and without a young toddler trying to throw himself out of my arms)... But I have been very blessed, and a couple of times have been able to watch her discreetly for a few moments before she has seen me. She is happy - she loves it, and today she was even with a different teacher to her usual one! So I can see she is slowly branching out, and feeling more secure in her new environment... she has three little friends that she 'hangs out' with regularly, two of the little girls I have seen, but the other little girl is in the older class, and I have yet to meet her - apparently she is quite a little 'Mother' and very nurturing, often taking the new kids under her wing and 'looking after them'! Button would love this, as she is also quite a nurturing little soul, and would appreciate what this older girl is doing for her (unconsciously perhaps, but still...)!
She currently does two mornings a week from 9am - 1pm, but from next week we will be putting her in three mornings a week... We have found the big gap between Thursday and Tuesday tends to throw her a little, so we feel Mon / Wed / Fri would be easier for her, and help her to feel more secure and settled quicker.
My sister-in-law did a lovely post, talking about the first time she left their son at Preschool... I remember reading it at the time, and wondering how I was ever going to be able to leave my girl with strangers as well. And while I experienced that same mix of emotions she talks about, I have found (as she did), when you love the Centre you have chosen for them and know you have made the right choice by them - it does make it a little bit easier. Button has attached herself to one of the staff members, who is a lovely lady; and I feel very comfortable leaving her there - even on those tough mornings! We need to start encouraging her to branch out and deal with some of the other staff soon, but right now it is all good! I love how the Centre encourages this - the Head Teacher can see this special bond, and encourages this to continue until they feel the child is secure enough to cope with other teachers. As a Mum, I really appreciate knowing they have taken this into consideration, and in order to make sure my daughter loves and gets the most out of Preschool, they are happy to accommodate these needs.
What I also love about this Centre, is that they are genuinely interested in us as a family, and me as a parent as well! I was told the other day, that if I needed to leave our boy with them for a few hours now and then (they are registered for babies also) they will happily have him there free of charge for me... one teacher would just look after him, like a baby-sitting type service. As we don't have anyone near by who can babysit for us, this is quite appealing - not for anything on a regular basis, but for those unexpected moments, or just those extra things you just don't have time for as a busy Mum (you know - exciting things like doctor and dental check-ups)! They also do a lot of things that encourage family and community involvement, this week it was a bake-sale:
(and apparently my gluten-free & dairy-free biscuits were the first to go)!
And next week they are celebrating Matariki (Maori New Year), and have a little performance on Monday morning (coinciding with Button's first Monday) which we are all invited to attend.
I was really worried that the teachers wouldn't give Button a chance, wouldn't really make an effort to get to 'know' her - as she was such hard work those first few weeks. But I can feel the love and acceptance now, she is worming her way into their hearts and they all seem to adore her already... she hugs and kisses everyone goodbye, she even called out 'I love you' on Tuesday as she left. Today one of the teachers said to me they keep asking her how she is 'just so cute', they want to know her secret! It really does this Mummy's heart good to hear lovely things like this - she has been a challenge at times, and she doesn't do well in crowds... we see the wonderful loving little girl at home, but she doesn't always show this elsewhere; and it feels like she is judged harsher than she deserves sometimes (but maybe I am just a paranoid Mum; who actually knows)! It is hard to put into words what I am trying to say here - but suffice to say, I can feel there is a love and acceptance of her and all she is, at this centre. They see what we see, and I am thrilled with this...
And I know, that I know, that I know - this is the right place for her, and it is the right place for us! We will all grow through this time, as a family and as individuals... it is a first for us; she is our eldest, our first-born, and it is hard letting go and allowing others to really start to influencing her on a deeper level - but it's okay, she is okay!