When Mister and I moved to NYC last summer, we refused to be sucked into the preschool, elementary school, test your child, where's your child going to go to school? What? YOU DONT' KNOW? craze.
We shrugged. We sniffed. We looked up schools. We looked up the tuitions. We rolled our eyes. We said, "But we probably won't be here," and "It's cheaper in California!" We buried our heads in the sand.
We also weren't convinced we wanted to put Bama in preschool. We hadn't, or at least, I hadn't, thought it through before we moved, so landing here wasn't making my thinking any clearer.
Mid-March, the mamas in our music class were all discussing where their kids got in, where they were going. Hmmm, I thought. We did another round of websites, Mister signed us up for an open house. We didn't go.
The music house offered an extended program for kids like Bama, who won't be three in time for the cut-off at most preschools (so she'd be in with the twos), or parents like us, and not really keen on spending $8,000-$15,000 for preschool.
We committed. We signed her up. We put down a deposit. Our friends talked about their schools. I tried not to panic or feel jealous.
The main teacher broke her foot, making it impossible for her to start the year. The music teacher was unsettled. I started to panic. Were we selling Bama short?
Maybe we are, but I took our girl to class this morning in a place she's familiar with to see people she knows. Hello! she said to Margaret, the registrar. Hello! to Miss Crystal, the teacher's assistant who is gallantly leading class for two weeks while Miss Elizabeth is out.
We were a little late, but still had time to take in the "Welcome!" balloon poster with everyone's name. I put Bama's favorite book, fresh clothes, snacks, and dinosaur bag in her cubby. (The bag is a separate post.)
We caught the second half of the story time, which was about a chameleon learning about colors. Then, painting! Familiar smocks and her spot at the art table.
Watching Miss Crystal combine colors. Books like Mouse Paint are helpful, but seeing it in action is mind-blowing!
Papa picked our girl up just before lunch. The first part of class is all art, then the music time (they played instruments today!), then play. The back garden is a beautiful play area with an incredible cherry blossom tree that coats the garden in spring. Lots of shade year round.
Bama is holding her family necklace, which I put together last night. Thanks to Mister for giving me the suggestion (directions from Moomah).
She picked five photos from a stack of 15 or so that I'd printed and mounted on cards. I put those on her necklace, which is floss tied off with beads. The rest are in a small "book" that I tied with yarn and attached to her dinosaur bag. Her necklace has photos of her and Rabbit, her and me, Mister with her and Rabbit, and Rabbit. Uncle Jay, Bird, Bryan, and others are in the larger collection. She wore the necklace the whole morning, I think. It was worth staying up and creating to give her an extra bit of love from us to last her on her new adventure.
My tweet from this morning: We said good bye, I love you. She was engrossed. I cried.
We went to Bar Pitti for dinner to celebrate, and then Mister took her to get a cupcake, to really celebrate being a big girl. Wow. Big steps.