This has turned out to be a big week in our house for little Sarah!
Since she is stuck with me for entertainment, and doesn’t yet fully appreciate my sense of humor or dry wit, we felt it might be a good idea for her to have some socialization time with kids her own age, a couple of days a week. So, she started ‘school’ (aka daycare) and it has gone about as well as can be expected for someone who hasn’t had away time from us or other family members.
A few weeks ago we began to get her mentally and physically prepared by reading books about going to school. We got Maisy Goes to Nursery by L. Cousins, I Love to Go to Daycare by S. Admont, and a Going to School Sticker Book by Usborne First Experiences. We even got a couple of books about separation, including Owl Babies by M. Waddell and The Kissing Hand by A. Penn. She loved them!
We talked about school all the time and how fun it was going to be. We knew her teacher, so we mentioned Ms. Hannah whenever possible, as well as some of the other teachers in her room…Sarah can even say her name, although her version is slightly British sounding.
She got to pick out all the necessities for her new school: a rain suit, wellies, house slippers, a sun hat, sun screen, and even diapers–because we made a big deal out of all of it! We also went for a couple of hours last week so that she would have an idea of what this place was all about and meet Ms. Hannah. I was with her of course, to help her ease into it!
She was always so excited to read and talk about it and seemed ready to go to school. I guess she didn’t fully appreciate the mommy going away portion of the day.
Tuesday was her first day, so I waited until after breakfast to take her. Everything started off smoothly. We showed Ms. Hannah everything we brought. Ms. Hannah showed her where to put everything. Finally, I started to say goodbye and Sarah caught on that I wasn’t sticking around to play. Cue above picture.
Ughh, that face and the tears that came soon after are the worst. Fortunately, I had gone through this once before when I went back to work, so I was mentally prepared. But still, there’s nothing more guilt inducing than it being your fault your child is emotionally crying. (Okay, there are worse things, but not at that moment.) I walked out, and proceeded to call a couple of times to make sure she was doing okay. I’d also like to point out that Matt is currently in Turkey for 12 days, so he’s missing out on all this emotional stuff! (He better bring me back something pretty!)
Overall, she cried, she got blankey, she held on to Ms. Hannah for dear life, she stopped crying, she kinda let go of Ms. Hannah when they went outside (but held on to blankey), started getting weepy (their words, not mine) again, and passed out on Ms. Hannah’s lap right before lunch. That was the scene when I walked in to get her. When she woke up and saw me, she smiled and asked to go outside and play. No joke, her first words to me were, “Mommy, outside?” Little Stinker.
This place is great though…it’s a pretty, large, old Victorian house, turned into a private nursery/preschool. They are very outdoor oriented, which means she’ll be outside a lot, even if it’s rainy (why we needed rain suit and wellies)–they also have this great outdoor area that even I would love to hang out in all day. This is a great thing since she could spend her life outside and be content. Once she does settle in, I have a feeling they will have trouble getting her to come inside!
The child to teacher ratio is better here than in the states, so they have 4 teachers in the room. The kiddos there seem so happy…and sweet, one of the little boys came up to Sarah during one of our visits to say hi, and gave her a hug. Awwwwwwwww!
We will have to get used to a couple of things, like, they seem to eat all the time. Breakfast is at 8:30 (a bowl of cereal), snack time is 10:00 (fruit, biscuit, and juice), lunch at 11:30 (main meal of the day, so it can be anything from fish pie–no joke–to Indian food), and then high tea is around 3:45 (this is like a light, early dinner for kids, so it can be anything from soup and bread to egg/cheese sandwiches), AND each of the main meals come with some type of sweet item. She may actually begin to gain some weight just by going to school.
I think she’ll really thrive here, once she gets used to the mommy/daddy leaving part. Every person we’ve met is so extremely caring and seems to have her best interests at heart. And, starting in September, one of the neighbor kiddos, Eilidh (pronounced A-Lee, she’s Scottish, hence the spelling), will be starting in her class. I’m sure that will be fun for them both!
As for me, what am I going to do with my time? I have no idea. I have a little bit of guilt for not using the time to work, but seeing as I can’t really get a job over here, I have to figure out what I’ll do! Matt thinks I should read, take naps, go to places that aren’t really child friendly, basically, enjoy my ‘me-time’. He’s amazing! I may use the time to work on this blog a little more, since I got yelled at by friends that they want more UK life!!
PS–Day 2 (i.e. today) is going better! Drop off was still crappy, but I just called a bit ago and she’s ‘quiet, but not weepy’ and actually participating in little activities. She is still stuck to Ms. Hannah like glue though….baby steps I guess!