1. Painting. Picked Max up from school today (he he, doesn’t that just sound so grown-up? For him, I mean….and I guess for me too!) and immediately thought “Oh my GOD! Why is he bleeding from his ear?!” Closer look? It’s just orange paint, and glitter. Max loooves to work on art projects at school, and Mommy looooves that he makes a royal mess on someone else’s floor.
2. Rice Table. As in, uncooked rice in a huge tub. With two year olds sifting, pouring, and spilling it all over the floor…I mean, in the tub. Again, hooray for messes, that’s how they learn. On someone else’s floor.
3. New friends. We ran into Max’s new friend E and his mom and dad this weekend. Max immediately started yelling “E!!!” and the two of them chased each other around the restaurant for a good 20 minutes, shrieking with delight. At school last week, another mom came up to us and said “So this is the Max my son keeps talking about!”. Apparently there is now a group of 3 or 4 little boys who do everything together in class. Is it bad to be thankful that Max is part of the 2 year old “in crowd”?
4. WE BELONG. These are our people. I chat with some of the other moms in the courtyard at pick-up and drop-off, and it’s nice to be sharing a common experience. Making new mom friends is like being in Junior High all over again. Everyone is a little depressed, you’re not feeling like your best self, and you’re dying to find just one true friend who really understands you. After learning the Politics of Play (don’t worry ladies, if you’re reading this it wasn’t you I’m talking about in that post!) during Max’s first year at Day One, I was sad about leaving my hard-earned new friends who **sigh** really GOT me and made this whole parenting thing so much easier….and having to start all over again. But I suppose it’s easier the second time around. More like college. You have a little more self-esteem, and you know how this whole “be a friend to make a friend” thing goes down.
5. MAX belongs. He calls his teachers by name, and they greet him with a huge hug and a big smile. They stop me in the hallway to tell me how much they enjoy him, and I am thrilled that his true personality is shining through here.
6. We belong in the “Jewish Way”. Now I remember why I felt so strongly about sending Max to a Jewish preschool. I think back to the workshops that I used to teach about adoption, and how strongly I felt about never wanting your child to feel like they were “the only”. I don’t want Max to ever feel like he is the only kid without a Christmas tree, or the only kid who doesn’t go to church. What’s even better? In this school, every single child helps to make challah for Shabbat. And every single child learns the same Hebrew songs at circle time. And Max’s new friend E. has a Baubee too. When we talk about our traditions, our religion, and our culture, these people know exactly what we mean.
7. Max has an independent life, seperate from me. He eats what he wants for snack. He falls on the playground and someone else scoops him up and gives him a hug. It’s hard to be out of the loop for 3 whole hours, but I know it’s great for Max.
8. Max is a preschool ROCK STAR. The first week he cried and threw up. Both days. Sometimes twice a day. But he recovered well, and they haven’t had to call me to come pick him up. They’ve called other moms, but Max….Max hung in there. THIS IS A HUGE WIN. This kid impresses the hell out of me.
9. The second week he still cried, but on Thursday he didn’t throw up. And he had a smile on his face when I picked him up.
10. Today? No tears AT ALL. My brave little guy let Teacher L. hold him when I dropped him off, and with Teddy in one hand and a whole lotta guts in the other, he had an AWESOME day. I am fiercely, fiercely proud of my amazing boy.