Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Calling Dr. Freud...and other, more important things

So a few days ago, as we were getting ready for our day, Ethan asked where Daddy was (he generally does this on a Monday, after 2 days of unadulterated "daddy time"). I explained that Daddy was at work. Ethan was thoughtful for several moments, just watching me wash my face and brush my teeth, and then brushing his own teeth. As we were picking out his clothes for the day (hello--primadonna! "Not that shirt! That shirt. I don't want to wear brown pants. Blue pants!), he informs me that "Daddy's not daddy. Ethan is Daddy. Daddy's not daddy. Daddy is Ethan." Apparently our long list of potential names for Ethan when he was a fetus was missing one option: Oepidus.

Since I told Husband out this little revelation of Ethan's, he's been making the cats test his food before he takes his first bite...you know, just in case. I'm certain, though, given the words of Ethan's declaration, that he has no desire to actually do away with Husband per se, he simply wants to dress him in diapers and make him to go bed at 7pm.

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In other news, last Thursday was Ethan's first day of pseudo-preschool! I don't want to get all vklempt and wax too poetic about it, because it is 2 hours, one morning a week and I am on the premises the entire time. I'll save my hand-wringing and "where did my baby go???!!!"'s for mid-June when he starts going to school every freaking morning of the week. (I can't breathe. Where the eff is my brown paper bag??!! Every morning?! What are they trying to do to me??!!!)

Yeah, there'll be a lot more of that that come June, but for now, I'll simply tell you that Ethan was over the moon about going to school like a big boy. He made me pack his Thomas back pack with cars and trucks and books (and then forgot it in the car) and he smiled patronizingly at my camera every time I begged him to say "cheeeeeeeese!" Yes, I brought the camera into the class--I informed the teacher right away that I was, indeed, that mom. Fortunately, we were the first ones there (out of 4 kids, 2 of whom were sick and no-shows that day), so no one but the teacher and Ethan were privvy to my snapping photos.

Ethan's first order of business was to whip up some "meatballs and cupcakes" (at least they weren't meatball cupcakes) at the kitchen play station. Delish. Then he decorated a square of fabric with a picture of himself and a bunch of stickers (this is apparently going to be one square in the world's smallest quilt--the other 3 kids also decorated their own squares). After that, it was time to go outside to the play ground. Oh, how Ethan loves the play ground. Tricycles, trains, houses, art easels, sandboxes and shovels up the wazoo.

The class is called "Transition" (which calls to mind labor--isn't transition supposed to be the shortest and hardest part of labor? I wouldn't know, what with useless reproductive system and all and that whole c-section business, but that's what I've read). My understanding going into the class was that the parents would stay with their children in the class room until such a time when both parent and child (emphasis on child; I guess parents are expected to suck it up) are comfortable separating and then the parent stays on the premises, but is expected to go sit in the lounge area and read or chat with other parents. Fine. I figured that the actual "transition" would happen sometime mid-March. That until that time, I'd hang out with Ethan and help him do the activities, and slowly extricate myself from the situation, moving farther away each class until I could pop out of the door without him noticing.

Well, Miss C, his teacher, had other plans. As I watched Ethan run around the playground with his classmates, oblivious to my presence, she approached me and said, "Now would be a good time to separate." My heart caught in my throat. "Now???!!! Seriously?!! But it's the FIRST day!!! You crazy lady, you can't take my baby away from me that easily!!! He's mine!!! Mine!!!! I will cut you, bitch!!! Back off!!"

Is what I was thinking in my head. Like the crazy lady I am. But outwardly I squeaked, "really? okay," and proceeded to pick up my bag and shuffle to the lounge area across the parking lot from the class room building. The sound of toddlers' laughter receding into the background, Ethan's voice swirling with all the rest of them.

I sat down in the lounge, took some deep breaths and enjoyed the silence. I realized that this is the beginning of a huge part of Ethan's life--his academic life. This is the part of his life that will take him away from me for bigger and bigger chunks of time each year until I find myself packing him up for college. This year (and probably for the next few), he will be making me cute little art projects, playing in the sand and eating paste. And making friends. As time goes on, there will be homework (which, at least in terms of math, I'll only be able to help him with until about 3rd grade....maybe), after school activities, sports, music, friends, jobs, girlfriends. Slowly, he's going to start making his own way in this world and find his own identity.

I expected to find myself a puddly, weepy mess over this realization. Considering I was ready to go 10 rounds (in my head) with the teacher when she had the audacity to suggest I "separate," I figured this particular "me" time in the lounge was going to lead to a hyperventilating, sobbing mess of a Sarah. But it didn't. Instead, I felt so proud of him and so much happiness for him. Even more so than when he was growing in my belly, I felt the awe of having had a hand in creating this amazing being. And that fact that I get to watch him become who he's going to be? Well, that is just amazing to me.

So instead of reducing myself to a blithering pool of tears, I checked my email and Facebook and soon another mother joined me. We chatted about our kids, both colicky, both awful sleepers, both neeeeeeeeedy, and yet here we were, at 10am on a Thursday, sans kids, and basking in the glorious freedom of that time. We checked our watches frequently and asked each other over and over as 11:30 approached, "should we go back now, do you think?"

We found our kids, again outside (they manage to fit two outdoor play times in their 2-hour schedule--I love it), playing with jungle animals in the sandbox. While I was kvelling (and face-booking) in the lounge, Ethan had been, among other things, making a construction paper sun for the "weather wall" and listening to Miss C read stories and sing songs.

We go back for our second day tomorrow; Miss C said that sometime the separation anxiety doesn't kick in until the 2nd or 3rd day of class. So we shall see. But he's already talking about school again today, so hopefully tomorrow, I will find myself, coffee and book in hand, lounging in the lounge while Ethan gets to work on being Ethan.


I totally forgot to snap a picture of him before we got in the car to go to school....so here he is IN this car, ready to go to school.

His sun.

Preparing the table for a little "meatball and cupcakes" snack.

His cubby. My baby has his own cubby.

7 comments:

Becca said...

Awww, big boy!! Charlie's been going to day care part time since he was tiny, but I just bought him a backpack because he is going to "school" in August and that KILLS me! How could he be so big he takes a backpack to school? I hope today goes great! Coffee and Facebook time sounds awesome.

Jane said...

The picture of the cubby choked me up. I think I will bawl when Penny gets her cubby.

Amy said...

The cubby is awesome! Way to go both of you. And every day at 3? I AM JEALOUS.

FemaleDrama said...

That is such a sweet honest story. I can't wait to meet the little guy. When do I get to meet him? when? when?!!!

Sarah said...

So cute!!!!

We had our first parent teacher conference today, and I thought I was going to pass out from the adorableness of it all.

Good work lounging :)

Emi said...

Tooo sweet.. You should be a very proud momma...

DG said...

omg!! "I feel ya!" such a big step. seems to early to separate to me too!!!!!