A year ago I was a mess at the knowledge that in a year--so now--Baby Chickadee would be in preschool. My fat, barely-a-toddler who had just begun talking would leave me for two and a half hours on two mornings a week for preschool. My heart could barely stand the thought.
But fast forward a year, a year with a daughter whose attachment to me is profound and intense, coupled with the not mutually exclusive facet of her personality that delights to be with other people, and my heart changed. That girl needed to get out of the house.
It plays itself out like this: when we are at home, she is constantly touching me. She is in my face, talking to me and chattering, touching my leg or my face or sitting on my lap. And if she’s not on my lap or touching my face then she is holding my hand as we walk from one room to the next, saying, “I hep you!” when I’m changing over laundry or cleaning the bathroom or cooking on the stove. That level of in my face is taxing on this mother who relishes time to be in her own brain, to think through her day and make her plans, to turn off thought and simply listen to the radio while driving and running errands. With Baby Chickadee, there is no time to turn off thought.
BUT, she also loves being with other people. Her attachment to me has not thwarted her ability to play with others. One time after we dropped off G and Little Missy at school she heard me turn on my blinker in preparation for making a left onto our street and she shouted from the back seat, “No! Not dat way!” Because “that way” meant she’d be at home alone with me.
I think her constant need to be with me is from her constant desire to be entertained, and I’m the person at home with her, so I’m the person who has formed that entertainment bond with her. I read with her, I snuggle with her, I watch TV with her. I am always with her.
And so: preschool. It is a good thing. Time to play with others, to learn from someone who is not me or her father, to allow her mother time in her own brain, it is good. She’s been looking forward to it, brother and sister have talked it up, she’s had her backpack and lunch box (which she doesn’t need but you better believe it is in every first day of school picture I took) ready for over a month. That girl was ready for preschool.
The first day came and she happily waited in line to get into her classroom, she not so happily sat on her seat, she obligingly waited for the teacher to call her name so she could get up and come to me at the door when the first day was over. And then I carried out my sweet, fat-faced little toddler with my face buried in her cheek.
And it was good. My baby is growing but it is good.