Audrey had her first day of Montessori school a few weeks ago. She goes 5 days this year, 3.5 hours each day. We made this decision in the spring..although we liked her preschool last year, we had done a lot of research on the Montessori method, toured the school, and ultimately decided that we wanted to try this school out and see how we like it.
The school does a 2 week long "phase in" schedule, which is basically just a modified schedule for the kids. So the first day she just went in for a half hour to see her classroom and meet her teacher. The next couple of days were one hour, then the next few days were 2 hours, and so on until we reached the full 3.5 hour day. They suggested the students bring a plant to their classroom so they can have the responsibility of taking care of something living, and to "beautify" the environment. Audrey and I went to the garden center and she got to pick out a little plant that she liked and she got to choose where in the classroom to put it.
On her first day (after meeting her teacher) we dropped her off out front of the school and that was it...she walked in with the teacher and left us in the dust! JJ was very upset to see her go. I didn't realize until that moment that her leaving for school would be an adjustment for him too. He probably doesn't remember last year that she went to school, and after having her home every day over the summer, it must have been scary for her to just get out of the car and leave. He sure does love his big sister!
And that brings us to the next thing. JJ is now going to Montessori school as well, twice a week for 3 hours. With everything going on with Nathaniel (that's a whole other post), it has been really hard on the kids. They get very little attention from me most days. I had hoped that with Audrey being in school, JJ and I would have more one-on-one time since he doesn't nap in the mornings anymore. I figured yeah, I'd put Nathaniel down for a nap after we drop Audrey off at school and then its all me and JJ time after that. Well, that isn't happening. Instead, we drop Audrey off and listen to Nathaniel cry the whole way there and home. Then we all come inside and I immediately turn on the TV for JJ so that I can tend to Nathaniel. Most times that means taking him upstairs in an attempt to get him to sleep, then coming back downstairs and walking/bouncing/jiggling him trying to get him to settle or fall asleep, feeding him, changing him, and on and on...and point is, JJ gets nothing. No attention. No cuddling while we read a book. No playing. Just TV or playing by himself while I handle The Baby That Never Sleeps. He eventually does fall asleep but by that point I'm frustrated and stressed and have a short fuse and while I try my best to wipe the slate clean and treat the "big kids" fairly, they just aren't getting what they should be getting from me. SO ANYWAYS...we decided that JJ could benefit from being in an environment where he doesn't have to listen to crying and can do more stimulating activities than watching Little Einsteins.
He went two days last week and his third day was today. Teacher says he's doing great! He and Audrey get out of the car together and hold hands walking into school. SO cute. He doesn't even look back to check on me and doesn't cry or anything! Teacher says he is very confidant and sure of himself. That makes my mama heart happy. I really think this experience will be good for him. He's never really spent much time around kids his own age since most of our friends are actually Audrey's friends. I have seen him with some other toddlers and..well..he's kind of rough. He pushed a kid once over a train even though he already had like 4 and the other kid only had one. I don't want a bully baby. Those kids aren't fun. And I don't want him thinking the whole world is what exists at our home...lots of baby screams, fighting with his big sister, etc. yeah, so this will be good, this will be good. I'm obviously still trying to make myself comfortable with the fact that my baby boy is already out of the home and in someone else's care.
Audrey is still adjusting as well. We talked all summer about the fact that she would be going to a different school this year. She toured the school with us and we drove by it a few times and talked it up. She seemed ok. But once she started going for a couple of days, she realized what "new school" actually means. Her old friends aren't there. Her old teacher isn't there, nor her old classroom or her old routines. This must be tough on a 4 year old. While she says that she has fun at school and never has anything bad to say, she also still says she misses her old school and wants to go back. She asks about her "old" friends daily so we are making an effort to see them pretty regularly for playdates or picnics. I reached out to the mother of a girl in Audrey's class whom she says she talks to and eats snack with. We are having an after-school picnic/play date next week, so hopefully seeing someone from school outside of the classroom will make her a little more enthusiastic about being there.