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Yesterday was Little Dude’s first day at his new school.

After the last day at his old school Friday and a wonderful birthday party for his fourth birthday over the weekend, the big day was here.  Little Dude’s first day of pre-kindergarten.

I’ve been anxious about this for weeks, doing my best to prepare Little Dude (and myself) for this day.  LD has been very excited, counting down the days on the calendar with me and asking to drive by the new school each day.  Yesterday, first thing he did when he woke up was to climb in bed between me and Big Dude and proclaim with a big smile, “Today is my first day at my new school!”

It made me excited that he was so excited.  Maybe he is getting this more than I thought.  Maybe this transition really will be that easy.

I kept watching for signs of anxiety as we went about our morning routine.  He ate breakfast like normal, had hot cocoa like normal, played with toys like normal, got dressed like normal.  As I watched Little Dude breeze through the morning like it was any ol’ day, my anxiety was mounting like a thunderstorm.

Is he really going to be ok with this change?
Yes, of course he will.
What if the new school misplaced his paperwork and somehow he’s not on the list for the class?
You know they’re expecting him because you called on Friday to make sure.
What if —
Stop.  He’s fine.  It’s fine.

I didn’t want there to be any glitches, any extra issues to deal with in case Little Dude started to have a hard time.  I wanted to focus on being there for him and helping him any way I could.   I was wishing that there was a way I could absorb any difficult feelings he was having about change and leaving behind his old school.  While that is not rational or helpful in his development in any way, it’s that mom instinct to want to protect my baby from harm.

But Little Dude seemed to have embraced that he was starting a new journey.  He got dressed in his Buzz Lightyear shirt, put on his Buzz Lightyear backpack, picked up his Buzz Lightyear lunchbox (complete with new Buzz Lightyear thermos), grabbed his favorite purple sunglasses, and walked out the door.  When had my little boy become a big boy?

Once at the new school, he was happy and eager to go into his new classroom and start exploring.  We found his cubby, we found the hook for his backpack, we scouted out the bathroom.  He went right over to the toys and pulled out a microphone to sing into to.

I stood watching the other parents and kids filing in, checking in with the teacher, finding cubbies.  I wondered if any of the other parents were having the same internal debate as me, anxiety warring against common sense even though their child seemed perfectly at home already, zooming cars and piecing together Mr. Potatohead.  Realizing they were a parent to a Little Kid, not a baby, not a toddler.  A Kid.

Ok, now I was starting to get a little frustrated that I had all this anxiety and LD wasn’t needing any type of reassurance.  Can’t I get at least one ‘I’m gonna’ miss you, Mommy?’  Come on kid, throw me a bone.

And he did.  He turned to me, pulled me down for a kiss and a hug and a high five, and told me he would see me after school. So I gave him the biggest squinch ever, waited for Big Dude to repeat the same kiss/hug/high five ritual, and bravely walked out of the classroom.  Big Dude put his arm around my waist and held me tight as we walked out.  He even stayed next to me while I stopped at a spot around the corner where I was hidden but could still see into the classroom window.

Interestingly, Little Dude’s day actually ended up being a bit difficult.  He was shy and apprehensive about introducing himself and meeting new friends, but he loved recess and coloring with a yellow crayon.

This morning, on the second day at his new school, all of my anxiety was gone.  I was embracing this day as my big boy had the last.  Little Dude and I walked to his classromm hand-in-hand.  His little grip got tighter as we got closer to his classroom. “Momma?  I think I need to stay with you today.”  We kept walking.  “I have a fever.”

I stopped and bent down.  I felt his forehead, knowing before my hand ever touched his skin it would be cool as could be.  “Oh, baby, I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time this morning.”

He threw his arms around me.  “I’m gonna’ miss you.”

“I’m gonna’ miss you, too.”  I held onto him tight.  “But I’ll be right here after school to pick you up and to hear all about the fun things you do today.”

He took my hand and went into his classroom.  We put his lunch in his cubby and his backpack on his hook.  His bright blue eyes were a little shiny as he kissed me and hugged me goodbye.

“I’m so proud of you, my buddy.  You’re such a big boy.  You’ll have a wonderful day, I just know it.”  He high-fived me before slowly making his way over to two boys who were playing with cars.  I waited a minute, then got up to leave.  He ran back over for one last hug.

“You’ll be just fine, my baby.”  I put him down and left.

So my big boy really is still a little boy after all.  He’s ready and willing for new adventures, but he still needs his mom by his side.  And he still needs my hugs.

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The Guilt Goddess

Giving guilt a voice one post at a time.

I am your average guilt-ridden mother of one (or 2, if I'm being honest and including my husband), trying to balance running my own business, running my household and now writing a blog. Someday I hope to have vanquished all of my myriad pangs of guilt and be living blissfully free from moment-to-moment. But, until that time, my guilt will live here.

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