Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Whole New World

Elan started preschool last week.

First day of preschool

Which of course left me asking: How has my baby become so gigantic?

It seemed like yesterday he looked like this, and I already thought he was so grown-up:

June 2009

Some parents start their preschool search before their child is even born; some research during babyhood; some figure out their top choices and get on waiting lists the year before they want their child to start. And then there is us. We started our search in August. Whoops. The thing is, we didn't really know that we wanted to move Elan, for a variety of reasons, including the fact that we were all happy with his daycare/nursery school and we couldn't imagine taking on more costs with Mikhail only semi-employed doing contract work right now.

But out of the conversations we had with the parenting coach we saw a few times earlier in the summer, we started to wonder whether Elan would be better off in a more stimulating, school-like environment. If he were more challenged at school, would he be a little less demanding of constant interaction at home? We doubted we could get into a good preschool with school about to start -- weren't they all supposed to have years-long waiting lists? But we decided to go ahead and do some research, sandwiched between all the August travel, on preschools that are walking distance from our house (since having to drive to and from daycare was becoming an issue for our one-car family). We figured it wouldn't be time wasted, since we were planning to move him next year at the latest. And lo and behold, there was one spot left in a great preschool, and through some major luck, we can afford it. And so a few days later, Elan started preschool.

It's amazing when a sequence of events opens up like this, when one action leads to another, and another, and lands you at a destination that seems so meant-to-be you hardly have to agonize over a decision. One of my mothers-in-law (I have two) calls this a flow. We were so lucky to find a flow on this. A conversation that can take months, if not years, was over in a few short days. Decide on preschool: check.

Now, of course, we have to adjust to preschool. It's going pretty well so far. No screaming or crying at drop-off. Elan seems hesitant, excited, overwhelmed, engaged - emotions change rapidly over the course of a day. We are all a little discombobulated as we figure out new routines. Leaving his daycare was sudden, and while we're not completely sure how that transition will ultimately play out for Elan, it's been a little heart-breaking for Mikhail and me. Our little boy is growing up. And though some days might seem never-ending, it's happening so fast.

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