It was an exciting morning in the Leong house. Hope had her first day of Preschool!!
We didn't think it was going to happen. The church we go to has a Preschool and Hope LOVES going to church and seeing her friends on Sundays (as do we!). When I had the thought that she might love going to the Preschool for a couple mornings a week, I was too late. All the spots were taken. I added our name to the wait list... but as September grew closer, I stopped thinking about it and figured we'd send her next year.
But we came home from our Hershey trip to wonderful news! A spot opened up and Hope could start right away!
We literally could have started the next day. She had already missed the first two days... but starting the very next day was too soon. We had a "first day of school outfit" to buy... and a backpack to choose! Priorities, people!!
I ordered an irresistible backpack with butterfly wings - which seemed perfectly appropriate.
Hope loved everything about it. The sparkles, the zippers, the wings! As soon as I put it on her, she ran around the house wearing it saying, "I'm a butterfly, Mommy! I can fly!" I bought the backpack from a company called "Bixbee" - and they donate a school bag filled with supplies to a child in need for every backpack purchased. I love companies that give back!
This morning, Hope decided to sleep in. I pulled the blanket off of her... pulled the lovie off of her head (which is exactly what her brothers used to do, too!)... tickled her feet... took this photo with a bright flash... she would NOT wake up. Finally, I resorted to turning on the lights and picking her up - fearing that this aggressive wake up would mean she'd be grumpy on her first day of school. As soon as I put my hands under her to lift her - she shot up with a start. And a smile! "It's time for school?" she asked.
We enjoyed a little breakfast and chatted about what she might do today and before we knew it, it was time to go.
I feel like I'm "supposed" to be very sad. And many wondered if this morning was hard for me - if I cried - if I will know what to do with myself. I have to be honest - I'm not sad at all. For many reasons... and I'll tell you why.
First - Hope is two. She will turn three in November, but she's two. Clearly I am not looking to start her on the road to a college scholarship or anything. If she didn't get in, I was happy to wait until next year. But I feel this is a fun opportunity for her to spend a few hours in a place that she already loves making new friends and learning fun things! I think since this was a choice we made, we aren't sad about it.
Second - I'm really not sad at all to see her spread her wings. I'm THRILLED for her!! Hope is my most independent child which means that I've really experienced the full spectrum. Gavin was completely dependent. Brian was somewhat independent - delayed in some developmental areas - and was quite shy. Hope is very independent and seems almost ahead in her development (based on our own family history). When your first child is completely dependent and you work so hard to help him do anything on his own - it changes your perspective. I am so, so thrilled when my children want to do something themselves... or when I see them overcoming something - a fear, a social anxiety, etc... or when I watch them make new friends. I really feel like I'm giving Hope an opportunity to fly - and that doesn't make me sad one bit.
The last reason I'm not sad? It's a tad bit selfish. Since Gavin's death, I have had anxieties about using babysitters for several different reasons. We tend to do everything together, which I love. But... I also need time to take care of myself and it's not always convenient to bring a child along. It's only a short time that she's in school, but I've already scheduled an appointment with my eye doctor... my rheumatologist (which is desperately needed)... the car dealership to get an oil change. It will be nice to have a few hours a week to get things taken care of. Like Mommy, for starters. Knowing she's happy, in great hands, learning and having fun? I'm definitely not sad about that.
It was a bit weird when I realized that today was my last first day of preschool! But that doesn't deserve tears... that deserves a hand clap! I want my children to grow!
I loved watching Hope's confidence as she walked into the building.
And by walk I mean RAN! She was so excited!!
She walked right down the hall...
...and stood right outside the door.
It took seconds for her to say hello to her teacher, hand over her backpack and join a group of classmates she had never met as they played. That is some enviable social confidence, Hopi! I need to learn a thing or two from YOU!
Hope has two teachers, Miss Meghan and Miss Alicia, and they're both very nice.
I'm sure it won't take long for Hope to warm up and be her true self with them! Hopefully they'll find her as much fun as we do!
When I picked her up at the end of the day, I had glowing reports. No one could believe it was her first day - she just slipped right into the already established routine seamlessly! That's just how she is at home - she adapts well to change and just goes with the flow. I love that about her. She also did her first art project - making apples by painting with actual apples. She hasn't stopped talking about it!
As a treat, I took her to a local Learning Express store to celebrate her big day. She had fun roaming the aisles, oooing and ahhhing and playing with some of the demo toys on the floor.
We left with a fun sticker book to do together - and the new confidence that comes with being a "student." Hope feels like such a big girl now that she goes to school. I love seeing her so happy and excited!
When we got home, I decided to interview her about her day. If you're ever wondering what Hope's personality is like - this is a great example. Sure, she has her moments of two year old screeching and being a pest during Brian's homework time... but 90% of the time, this is Hope...
I feel so lucky to be this little girls Mommy. One of my Dad's favorite quotes is: "There are two gifts we should give our children. One is roots and the other is wings." Today we gave Hope her little wings... and with those brave little wings, she flew!