"I'm not going!"
Up until quite recently, this was Anna's response each time we talked about preschool. She turned 4 this past March and so we signed her up for preschool 3 afternoons a week, starting in September.
Now, I'm not completely surprised by Anna's reaction. Like her brother, she is often slow to warm up to new things. Therefore, my usual course of action is to take lots of time for her to get used to anything new. I started talking up preschool months ago....
"Anna, I wonder what you'll have for a snack at preschool?"
"Hmmmm, what color do you think your locker will be?"
"Anna, do you think you'll sing 2 or 3 songs at circle time."
We got along pretty well like this for awhile, and I thought we were making progress. But, it's when I pondered who her new preschool friends might be, that Anna stopped me dead in my tracks - -
"Mama," Anna said, looking up and eyes brimming with tears, "What if the new friends don't like me?"
At that moment, my mama-heart shuddered, and every socially awkward moment of my own childhood flashed before my eyes.....
Oh my sweet baby girl.
Well, obviously we talked about how lovely Anna is. And how her new friends would like her very much, because she is a good friend. And that everyone might be a little scared about meeting new kids. On and on it went.....We talked about it for days. (okay, we OVER-talked about it for days. Mama-excess on this one for sure!)
Then, a few days later, we took a little field trip that made all the difference. A little trip that we actually should have taken months ago. (duh!) As luck would have it, Anna's preschool is just a block and a half away from her daycare. So, we parked at daycare and walked to preschool. Street construction kept us from getting too close, but we checked out the playground and we could see the front door and the windows to her classroom. And somehow, that's all it took. I could almost feel Anna exhale. It's as if she finally let out the big breath that she had been holding ever since we started talking about preschool. It just wasn't so scary anymore.
And then this week - - well, we sealed the deal. New shoes. And not any old pair of shoes, but Sketchers. Big kid shoes, like her brother.
It was official. Just like Cinderella put on a glass slipper and became a princess, Anna put on her new shoes and became a preschooler....
Gratefully, the conversation at our house has now shifted from "I'm not going." to "How many more days until I can go?"
I'm sure we'll still have nervous moments ahead. But, I think with new big girl shoes on her feet, Anna really is ready to take the next four-year-old steps, right into preschool.
Oh my sweet baby girl.