Yesterday marked Ava's first day of preschool. Sure, she went to Plug & Play last year for a morning a week, but it was a mixed age day care of sorts, with a bit more structure than a daycare. This year, she's attending an actual curriculum-based preschool three days a week, with full on themed days and labeled school supplies and a Christmas and spring show and I LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT ALREADY!!!!!!
As it turns out, so does she! We had taken her to meet her teacher last week, which went great, but she was definitely nervous about starting school. I feel like she was overwhelmingly excited up until the night before, but she tossed and turned last night, calling out for me on multiple occasions. We read "The Night Before Preschool" and "My First Day at Nursery School", and talked about her fears, but she was still nervous about what was going to happen and meeting new friends.
When it came down to the wire, though, she did great. We arrived early, and so I let her show off her school and playground to her nana, which helped to distract her from her fears and helped her to get excited for the day. It worked wonders on easing the immediate tension, and then when it came time for me to walk her into her classroom, she was hesitant, but ready!
She walked in with her backpack and lunchbox, and I put her stuff on the hook and in her cubby, and I pointed out a potential friend playing with Legos on the floor alone, and prompted her to go say hi to try to get the ball rolling on easing her anxiety. She caught on, though, and proceeded to get a bit shaky-lipped and say, "I love you, mommy!" repeatedly as she inched closer to me at the door. I told her how much I loved her, too, and that I would be back and she would LOVE preschool, and then left before we both had meltdowns. Thankfully, though it was touch and go for a second, neither of us shed any actual tears.
Here she is with her teacher, right after we walked in:
Clearly that bow didn't last for long :) And what would a post about going to school be without the obligatory what-I-packed-in-her-lunch picture? Heart-shaped PB sandwiches, cherry fruit leather, carrots, fruit skewers, applesauce, and Angry Birds graham crackers. YUM! SO glad she's going to a school where she can have peanut butter - woohoo!
And here's Ava with her nana, who's in town for the week for the baby showers and beginning of school :)
I was so excited to pick Ava up, and the feeling was mutual. She ran up to me when she saw me - she was getting her picture taken for my ID to scan for pick up - and gave me the biggest hug around my waist (can we call it a waist at this point?) and her first words were, "I had a great day at school!" YES!!! Such an amazing thing to hear, especially when followed by, "I missed you, mommy!" Aww, I missed you too, baby bear! One of the other first things out of her mouth was, "I made four friends!" As a shy kid in my school years, I'm SO grateful that Ava is a little social butterfly and makes friends so easily. She talked about playing with her new friends and making a friend with a "baby" on the playground (anyone shorter than her - which is everyone, LOL), and also how there was someone in her class who cried when his mommy left until he "throwed up". Aww. So glad that Ava took the first day in stride, and also that her teacher and teacher's aide both reported that she was "the sweetest little girl" with great manners! Score one for mama :)
How was everyone else's first day of school? And - what are some good dairy-free lunch ideas to mix things up? I could see it being easy to fall into a lunch rut :)