E and I have made a big transition lately. Well, not so much for me, as for him, but three days a week I go to work and he gets to attend preschool!
I wasn’t looking for work outside of my few-hours-a-week fun, evening job, but suddenly I was offered a job in the office at the preschool my mom teaches at (and I attended as a child!) I was told that they needed administrative help and that E could join the other babies in the nursery while I work. A decent paycheck, and a chance for E to be with other kids three days a week? It was too perfect to pass up! Also, I still get to “stay home” with him 4 out of 7 days, so it feels like the perfect balance for us.
When I was pregnant, we talked about how great it would be if E could attend preschool a few days a week after he turned one, so when he was three months old, we put him on the wait list at the preschool that’s run by the college that my husband works at. However, their wait list is so long, and the school so popular and exclusive that we didn’t put much faith in him getting in when we wanted him to.
The job offer came around just two weeks after his first birthday, so it was great timing! It’s a nice, private school with sweet teachers and my mom and I can check on him any time.
I worried about the transition for E because he didn’t know anything other than being with me all the time. I’d taken him to library play groups since he was tiny so he’d been around babies and adults he didn’t know, but I was always THERE. Now I was going to be dropping him off and leaving him (although I’d really just be down the hall…)
He really didn’t do badly though. At first he’d cry pretty hard when I’d leave, but his teachers said it didn’t last long because he was soon distracted by toys and friends. Now he knows what’s up and will usually try to glue himself to my legs to prevent me from leaving, but he’s gotten used to his teachers, and will sometimes even go to them when they hold their hands out for him in the morning.
Generally, we get to the school a little early and he hangs out with my mom and I in the office for a little while, then I walk him down to the nursery. I find that it’s a good strategy to just go ahead and strap him into a highchair and put his breakfast on his tray so that he’s busy while I slip out the door. He’s with his class from 9:00 to 3:00. Throughout the week they go to a music class, a gross motors activity class, and take rides in a buggy that holds six babies at a time.
I try to check on him once an hour, if I can peek through the door without him seeing me, and he’s always happy and playing. I’m lucky that he’s such an adaptable little guy.