We made the decision for Leah to start preschool just after she turned 2. I was (and am) excited to have both kids in the same place again (they were both in their home daycare together for about 6 months before Caelan went off to preschool). Leaving our daycare provider was very bittersweet since we have been with her for 4 years and she took such great care of our babies in that time. But we are excited for Leah’s new adventure!
Despite having been through this same transition with Caelan last year (crazy that it was only last year – it seems like it was much longer ago!) I had a hard time anticipating what this would be like for Leah. Caelan has never been a clingy child but even he had a rough transition to preschool. He was fine the first two days, but then sobbed at drop off for a week and a half after that. Leah is much clingier so I had to expect that this would be even worse for her. Plus, she is used to having only 1 or 2 other children around at daycare. A class of a dozen, plus another couple dozen kids in neighboring classes and I was sure she’d be overwhelmed.
There is also a huge difference between 2 years, 9 months (Caelan’s age when he started preschool) and 2 years, 1 month (Leah’s age). Leah speaks well for a 2 year old, but she isn’t used to sleeping on a cot or with a pillow, she *just* learned how to drink from an open cup, and she is still a baby in many ways. And she’s my last baby which makes her just that much more of a baby to me, no matter her age 🙂
I dropped her off on the first day of school. She walked in as she always does when we drop Caelan off, this time excited to have her own lunchbox, but still not realizing that I was about to leave her there. When she did realize, she WAILED. I was expecting it and I made my hasty escape, but not without shedding a few tears myself. I know it’s normal, I know she’s going to be fine, but it’s hard to leave your baby screaming like that. Apparently, she stopped crying fairly quickly and went on to have a good first day.
The tearful drops offs continued through the first week, and the second week…Finally now, at the end of her third week, she’s started to do better. She hugged me today and said “Bye!” without so much as a quivery lip. I won’t be surprised if we have a few more rough mornings in the coming weeks, but hopefully now we’ve turned a corner.