Nemo started preschool.
The first day was only an hour, and I stayed with him, more like an open house than an actual first day of school, but that's how our school does it. They ease the children into school, with the first day only an hour with mom or dad, then the next two days only 1.5 hours, then the next couple of weeks 2.5 hours. Those who choose can do enrichment, which is another 1.5 hours where they eat lunch, hear an additional story, and play some more. It's a good approach, especially for the 3 year olds, extraspecially for kids who haven't gone to any kind of daycare or spent much time away from Mom, like Nemo.
So, anyway, I stayed that first day, and all went fine until Nemo wouldn't share a train. An old, Fisher Price circus train from back when I was a kid. All the kids wanted it, and Nemo wouldn't share. I gave him several warnings, but he stood his ground, so I had to step in and remove The Train of Contention so other kids could have a chance to play with it. And oh, was that a bad move.
He wailed. He cried, he rended his garments, he howled the injustice of it all to everyone. In hindsight, I think I should have let his teacher handle it. Two minutes after I took the train away it was cleanup time and then circle time. Nemo refused to sit with the class for circle time, and didn't really calm down until well after the story was over and circle time ending. He eventually started paying attention, and when the toys came back out after circle, a little boy who had remembered that Nemo wanted to play with a different train came over and handed it to him to have a turn. Remarkable considering that they're three. Three year olds don't share. He was fine after that, taking turns nicely with this other boy.
The first day on his own he was fine at drop off, and his teacher said he had a "few moments" but overall was fine. The second day, though? He clung to my leg, he cried, he pulled away, he did NOT want to go into that classroom. Unfortunately this class has a lot of criers, so he's unduly influenced by his peers. I know he's in good hands, it's the same preschool that the other kids went to, so I just gave him a big hug and kiss and told him I'd be back, handed him off at the door, and left. They told me at pickup that he was fine after the teacher showed him and another boy (the same one that handed him the train) how to put a car through a tube and then they played together for a long time, notable to her because three year olds don't play WITH anyone else. Beside, yes. Not with.
Over the weekend, we talked a lot about how he's a big boy and he will have lots of fun at school with his friends including Bill (not his real name), the boy he plays with a lot now, and how Mommy will be back soon to get him. He was fine for several days, so I thought we were adjusted. Apparently not. Yesterday at dropoff he did the same pull back and cling to my leg and cry thing. And I left near tears myself, wondering how he'd handle the transition to another classroom for enrichment.
According to one of his enrichment teachers, he was fine, smiley and fun. I wish I could get inside that big head of his and find out why he's pulling back and crying. Is he scared of something there? Doesn't like the teacher? Just wants some more one-on-one Mommy time? Was another kid mean to him? Is he just too used to not having to share his toys?
I don't know the answer. But I hope we figure it out soon, because even though I know he's in good hands and it's for the best, my heart breaks every time I walk down that hallway, his cries echoing in my ears.