For the past few months I could sense a shift in Lucas’s behavior and needs. I felt it in my heart that it was time for him to interact more with children his age. I knew he was ready and as much as it killed me (no, really) to realize just how fast he was growing, I was certain he would thrive in a new environment. Thus began our search.
Now for all my NYC mamas (and really – mamas everywhere), I don’t know how you do it. Besides the obvious emotions of not wanting to let my baby go, I had major sticker shock. $20-30k a year for my two year old? Call me naive but I had NO idea that I was supposed to be paying the cost of a college tuition for my toddler. I want the very best for lucas, there’s no doubt about that. But there had to be an alternative. I felt stuck. Frustrated. So because I can’t afford the going rate in my neighborhood for a preschool education did that mean I would have to sacrifice quality teachers? A clean, safe environment where I would feel confident leaving my son? It just didn’t seem fair. This fueled my fire and resulted in hours upon hours (ok, weeks) of research and visiting several day care and nursery programs in our area.
We finally decided on a program that we loved and could afford. Before we made our final, executive decision, I took Lucas with me to visit. The first time we explored the school and I got to speak one on one with his future teacher. She made me feel at ease and Lucas loved her. On the second visit Lucas was able to participate in the classroom and joined in on dance time. He was in heaven! I mean, the kid loved it. Not that I’m entirely surprised. Lucas is extremely social and a total people person (I take full credit for that one ;). When it was time to leave homeboy threw an epic tantrum. His teacher was so understanding and reassured me that it was fine, and well, at least he didn’t want to go! His new teachers are also going to assist in potty training and weaning him off the pacifier. What more could I ask for? Truly!
So this morning we arrived at 8:50am. I switched him out of his wet snow boots, put on his sneakers, and headed to his new cubby. As I was hanging up his coat he ran into his classroom and didn’t look back for me. My heart sank. I followed him in and actually yelled “Lucas! BYE!” He looked back and gave me a weak “bye”. Crushed. I was crushed. I left to drown my sorrows at a nearby Starbucks and returned at 11:30, 1/2 hour before pickup, and planted myself in front of the observation window. He was eating lunch family style with his classmates. He looked so darn happy you would have thought he was having brunch in Disney World. He was SO happy. He was beaming. I felt a sense of relief wash over me.
When I walked into the classroom to pick him up he shouted “mama!” and proceeded to give me a tour of the play kitchen and all the yummy wooden produce. I’m feeling pretty confident about the rest of the week. On Thursday he has a Valentine’s Day party and I volunteered to bring the apple juice. We’re only one day in but so far Lucas and I are loving this nursery school thing.