Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ian "Work"

I didn't even think to take a first
day of school picture! So frazzled.
This week held a major first for our family. It marked the first week that Ian would spend a few hours away from home and in a "school" setting. A little more than a week before he started, I received an email stating that we had moved off the waiting list. Until then, I thought he wouldn't have a spot until at least January.

Even though I had a week to mentally prepare, I wasn't quite prepared for the emotions that would kick in on that very first day. Sure, he's spent time in other people's care before. Normally it's friends or babysitters who have been hired to watch children while the mamas are in MOPS, etc. For some reason this was a very different feel.

Ian and I had discussed how he would be going to "school" and that he would see Iris and lots of other children and people. We talked about things that he'd be doing while he was there... playing with toys, reading books, singing songs, and going on the playground. He was prepared.

Thanks, Jess, for snapping this picture!
As we walked in the door of the classroom, a picture of Ian as a newborn, swaddled and in my arms enveloped me. A baby who was incredibly dependent and needed me for it's nourishment and comfort. I snapped back out of it and into the classroom. I watched as my 23 month old held my hand, granted, but walked into the room with confidence. He stood there taking everything in and then listened to each of my directions as I explained the steps that I needed to take (label his diaper, place his sippy cup in the bin) and then wash his hands at the sink, as I stood by his side.

When finished washing hands, he stepped down from the stool. I asked if he would like play and he said, "No." Fair enough. Would you like to play with the trains? "Yes." We walked to the trains and I asked if I could give him a kiss, which he obliged, and then I said goodbye. He didn't watch me go. He was still taking everything in around him.

This boy was so far removed from the boy swaddled in my arms. This boy understands that he is secure and loved. And this boy willingly separated and enjoyed a few hours of "school."

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I choked up and tears brimmed in my eyes. What a remarkable lad we have raised so far. I'm in awe of him daily.

Without a good plan for what to do during my three hours without Ian, I decided to make it a truly sentimental morning. I went to Target, bought a journal for our new baby, and sat in the Starbucks and wrote Ian a four page letter. I bawled through the whole thing. Tears of joy, mostly. But also tears of incredulousness at the thought that almost two years have already passed us by. We are just so crazy-in-love with this kid.

Then I sat and wrote our new baby the first letter in his/her journal. The time couldn't have been better spent.

I rushed through the grocery store getting a few essentials before the excitement of getting Ian overtook me. When I got there they said he'd enjoyed himself, continuing to take it all in, and really enjoyed the sand box outside. His only hiccup was when our friend Chris came to pick Iris up early. Ian ran and gave Chris a big hug and then welled up with tears after he left. Fortunately it sounded like the teachers handled it beautifully and gave him the task of putting away the kids' water bottles. He loves to help and sort.

Reunited at last!! We both survived the first day. I shed WAY, WAY more tears, I'm sure. I even bawled telling Jim about it during Ian's nap. By now he's had two days and I did far better the second day. The teachers said that he was a champ and had a great time.

Later on the first day, Ian asked where Jim was. I told him he was at work. Ian responded quickly by saying, "Ian work," sticking his chin up slightly with pride. We've had a similar conversation a couple of times since. It's the cutest.
It's going to be a good year! Ian loves to be social and I think this will be really good for him. I will be productive during the time that he's gone to ensure that I am more present during the time we are together. And, by the time our baby arrives, Ian will be so comfortable there that it will be "his place." The new baby and I will have a few hours twice a week to do errands or bond. As a family, we are really excited about this opportunity and so grateful that Ian transitioned well.

Here's to a new beginning!

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