So, September. Last year, at not-quite two, Buzzy wasn't eligible for most preschools in our town, but I wanted her to have a constant in her life when the baby arrived, so I found a Mothers' Day Out program run by a Baptist church that met two mornings a week the next town over.
I guess it's not surprising that the Baptists went for full immersion from Day 1. On her first day, she met her teachers, all of her classmates, and the world without mommy all at once. She was crying when I picked her up--and not because she wanted to stay, but more because she couldn't keep it together for one more minute. She was in tears at every pick up for the next five weeks. Just when I was ready to pull her out of class, she settled in. Buzzy eventually ended up enjoying herself, most of the time, but I never thought she wholeheartedly loved it, and I always wondered if I was wrong to keep sending her.
This year, I looked for something closer to home. We were lucky enough to get a lottery spot at a lovely preschool run by the Presbyterians. They eased her in slowly. First, just she, Greg and I went in to meet the teacher and see her new room. Her first morning of school lasted only an hour, and only four of the eight children attended at once. When her first full morning rolled around, she had already grown attached to her teacher and the felt board. At pick-up time, the other children ran to their mommies, hugging their knees and brandishing their artwork. Buzzy glaced up at me and returned to the felt board. I couldn't get her to leave.
What a difference a year makes. We're both older and more experienced. I think we're also better suited to the kinder, gentler introduction. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that she loves school, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. But I sort of miss the knee-hugs.