It is so, so, SOOOO time. I was filling out the teacher questionnaire a few weeks ago and paused when I got to this question: "What's your reason for sending your child to preschool?" We're sending her for lots of reasons - socialization with other kids, having fun, figuring out how to function in a group setting, learning new things, directing her constant line of "why" questioning to anyone else but me. But first and foremost? We're sending her because she needs to learn to separate from me and still feel confident.
Because this picture is a more accurate representation of how she was really feeling this morning.
|Clutching Invisible Kermit in her left hand reallllly hard. Awwww.|
She's been in no-parent gymnastics for two weeks now, and I was shocked - shocked - when she lost it after five minutes of the first session. She cried and cried until the coach brought her to me, and then I had to stay in the gymnasium (instead of watching through the window like every other parent). It's not so much that I minded; I was just so surprised. She loves gymnastics and barely looked my way during her summer classes. But she was feeling, as she put it, "really nervous" ("noy-vus") about having me sit outside the gym. So inside I sat, and I started feeling a little nervous myself about how preschool was going to go.
Sure enough, Rowan started crying as soon as it was time to leave this morning. It was a pathetic little whimpering sniffle, and she tried to hold it together. Then her eyes welled up and she wailed, "But what if I really, really, really need you? Then what will I dooooo?"
BUT. She did it. I had to stick around for the morning anyway to help with some paperwork stuff (it's a co-op model, so all the parents have jobs to do throughout the year), but I tried to exit the actual classroom as soon as I could. We played together for a few minutes before circle time, where Rowan sat on the little gathering rug facing away from the teacher so she could see me. She was stone-faced and didn't sing a word of the circle time song, even though she's been singing that same song for a year and a half at her toddler Mommy & Me classes; she just stared at me with her lip trembling. One of the dads who was assigned to help in the classroom for the day saw that she was struggling and kindly offered to have her sit with him, but she didn't even acknowledge him (even though she played with him every week all summer at our preschool play dates). Finally, she couldn't hold it together anymore and cried for me to sit with her. I did, and she calmed down. She got involved at the rice table after circle time, so I left to start helping with paperwork. Soon enough, though, another helper mom carried her up the hall to me, and she was sobbing. Poor girl.
She ended up going longer and longer stretches without needing to check in with me, and honestly, the morning turned out all right overall. She colored a special preschool crown, she played with play dough, she listened to a story, she ate snack, and she swung on the playground swings until I came outside to pick her up. She didn't cry when she saw me, and she told me that "preschool was so fun, Mama!"
Thankfully, she was the only kid having separation problems today, which meant the teachers didn't have to comfort a bunch of crying three-year-olds. Two of the helper moms in particular were especially nice to her and wonderful with her, which made me feel so much better. Oh, and *I* didn't cry at all, much to my surprise! I know she'll love it eventually. My thinking is that every kid has a "task" they need to work on - language, attention span, climbing, whatever - and Rowan's is separating from J.J. and me in social situations. She'll do great. In a few weeks. :)
Aaaaand just to turn an exhausting morning turn into an exhausting day, we had a dermatology appointment at the hospital after her quick nap so we could check on Rowan's vitiligo. Have I talked about her vitiligo before here? The summer before she turned one, we noticed that Rowan had patches of skin on her left arm and shoulder that were whiter than the rest of her skin. I thought maybe it was eczema (since she seems to have inherited my stupidly-sensitive-skin issues), but she ended up being monitored for vitiligo. Basically, with vitiligo, patches of skin lose their pigmentation. It's believed that Michael Jackson had it, which is why his face turned progressively lighter over the years. Sometimes it's associated with autoimmune disorders, and it can get worse with time (and can become embarrassing, especially if the patches are on the face...hard for self-conscious tweens and teens to deal with), so we've been going to dermatology every six months to check on her spots.
Rowan used to be afraid of going to the doctor, but she's not anymore. She was laughing with the docs while they examined her skin with a blacklight. Her main dermatologist dropped the news that they don't think it's vitiligo; they think it's more like a birthmark, just the way her skin was made, which means it's unlikely to spread any further. Great!
Then the doctor said she wants to make sure the hypopigmentation patches aren't associated with tuberous sclerosis. That's a potentially much suckier diagnosis - it can cause developmental delays, seizures, and benign tumors on the vital organs and brain. Since she doesn't already have developmental delays or behavioral issues and is generally in good health, the doctor was optimistic that the patches are essentially birthmarks. Still, her kidneys, eyes, and heart need to be checked for growths and abnormalities to rule out tuberous sclerosis.
So after a quick flu shot (just to make the day EXTRA fun), we were sent down to radiology for a kidney ultrasound. Spoiler alert: her kidneys look perfect, but we do have future appointments with ophthalmology (wow, I did NOT know how to spell that word) and cardiology, just to be thorough.
|Waiting to be called back and sporting a mask, thanks to a runny nose.|
|We had THE best radiology tech - she was so good with Rowan,|
and even let her "take pictures" of her belly with the wand.
By the time the ultrasound was finished, we'd been at the hospital for hours and were pretty tapped out. J.J. and I took Rowan out to dinner and heaped tons of praise on her for being so patient and brave all afternoon. She picked Sottini's, her favorite...that's my girl!
|"This is our table, Mama, because it has three chairs for each of us!"|
Meanwhile, a friend commented on my Instagram post about Rowan's first day of school and suggested that a little Washtenaw Dairy might be in order. Right. On. Especially since we barely got to spend any of this gorgeous fall day outside.
|Superman ice cream, natch.|
|Fairy door at the ice cream store.|
|Finishing her cone together.|
So - exhausting day? Yes. But I'm closing out the night feeling hopeful, both that she'll adjust quickly to preschool and start loving it, and that her hypopigmentation is just that and nothing more. Oh...and hopeful that the rest of the week calms down a little. A lot, actually. After all, someone's turning three years old this weekend! Good vibes only.
(P.S. Here's how Rowan processes stuff: singing in her crib at bedtime. Check out tonight's tune, a song from her old music class, sung over and over and over for about a half hour:
Translation: "...your mommy and daddy do. Sometimes you go to the baby-sitter's house, and sometimes you go to school! But who comes to pick you up? Mommy and Daddy do. Whoever takes care of you comes back, because they do love you." Awww.)