Initially, we went through a stint of "I don't want to go to schooooooool" tantrums that made me question the whole thing---is he too young? too small? are the other kids intimidating or bullying him (impossible to imagine, given the kids in question). Am I a bad mother for jumping on the "my 3 year old HAS to be in preschool or he won't get into Harvard" bandwagon?
Turns out, it was nothing a little pre-pre-school apple juice at The Coffee Bean couldn't fix, so clearly it wasn't a deeply rooted aversion. And pretty soon I started hearing all about Miss Claudine (the teacher) and Devon (his pre-school sweetie), and filling up my refrigerator door and kitchen window sill with paper butterflies, painted rock ladybugs and waxed-paper stained glass windows. So Ethan was all good.
And me? I got two hours, every Tuesday and Thursday to drink my coffee (translation: chai tea latte, always), sit on a comfy couch and chat with the other moms. I want to say it was a tough transition for me and that I was intimidated and overwhelmed by having to be "on" in front of a bunch of new people---I figure if it was a bit of a struggle for Ethan, I should have shared in that in some way, a kind of sympathy angst. But it was too fun to gossip and chit-chat and way over-share with these women.
At the end of class, the moms sigh one last "oh, it was so nice to have two hours off" sigh, gather up our things and walk across the parking lot to the bank of classrooms, the peals of our kids' laughter and the chatter of their voices all around (oh, the corniness of it all!). On one particular day, Ethan caught sight of us walking towards the gate and announced to everyone on the playground, "OUR MOMMIES ARE COMING!" If melting hearts make a noise, it was audible right then. Perfectly happy without us, but so excited to see us again.
There have been a few glitches along the way. A Passover puppet show sent Ethan into a downward spiral of histrionics (the puppets were more than life sized and WAY loud) and I got called out of my happymomchat mode to go cuddle some sense back into him. Miss Claudine pulled me aside after one class to let me know that Ethan had acted out to get attention when she was working with another little one. His favorite thing to do? Throw something across the room. Thankfully it's not "beat the snot out of a class mate."
So as I emptied out his cubby today, gathering all the left over art projects and changes of clothing, I was sad. It was a short era, but it was an era, nonetheless. He, on the other hand, really had no idea---he just wanted to play with daddy's car keys.
I shouldn't be too emotional, though. If this was one era ending, the next one begins in a month, when Ethan starts his first true pre-school class, Monday-Friday, 9am-12noon. Oh yes, folks, that's what I said. Five mornings a week. FIVE. That's like almost enough time for me to start feeling guilty about being a stay-at-home mom. Almost.
What do I plan to do with all. that. time? Well, I really hope to be lying on the bathroom floor, dry-heaving the morning sickness away, and napping, for at least the first month or two. But, should that not happen, oh my. Blogging more than once every two weeks, maybe? Going to the gym on a---gasp!---regular basis. And here's an idea---cleaning my house to such a degree that people could actually just drop by unannounced without my being utterly humiliated by the condition of our sty. A cross between Amalah, Martha Stewart and Jillian Michaels--that will be me. Right? Sure.
But anyway, let's do a little "end of an Ethan era" retrospective now by looking at some pictures of Ethan from February to now. You'll note that one thing is clear: we've not cut his hair since Transition class started. We are so torn between "long hair hippy freak" Ethan and clean cut Ethan. Sigh.
In the class room on the first day of class. If I remember correctly, he was "cooking a salad" for me. Ew.
Ethan's first Tot Shabbat service, in April. Perhaps a smaller yarmulke? I think so. And maybe next time mama could tuck in the shirt. Sheesh.
Rocking out at the Skirball Cultural Center at the Noah's Ark exhibit. What you don't see here is the old-school air guitar that Ethan managed to wow the crowd with. The kid knows his air guitar.
Ethan and Noni test the "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policy at their local hang-out (the couch). Good thing the management is easy-going.