first day

first day preschoolSo today is Mateo’s first day of (pre) preschool. He’s part of an adorable twice-weekly program for neighborhood kids. It’s fun knowing that he’ll be making new friends, probably the kiddos who will be at his future birthday parties.

Today though was not so fun. Today Mateo was the loudest screamer in the class. :/ He had an hour orientation last week; he cried then too. This morning he was very clingy. But he told me he was going to play with “kids” and “new toys.” :) Unfortunately we had to keep going over the part where I would go and then “come back.” He kept asking “mommy come too.”

Here he is ^^ proudly carrying his lunchbox and backpack before we left. He said bye to all his trucks (always necessary, ha), and we had high hopes, but sigh, complete meltdown at the drop-off. Honestly, this is Mateo. He’s loud, he puts up a good fight. He’s quite whole-hearted in whatever activity he’s up to (whether eating, sleeping, playing, or today crying). He’ll get over it and it’ll be great.

Things are a changin’. Mateo has been in a part-time nanny-share for nine months with his buddy Lawrence. He’s grown up so much being on his own and socializing. But last month Lawrence started his own pre-preschool. Then Auntie moved out to go to school, and today it’s Mateo’s turn to start his own “school”. He is constantly talking about people “going to school” or “going new home.” He’s still trying to figure it all out.

It’s so interesting (and sometimes a little heart-breaking) to watch him try to make sense of all the changes. I didn’t think I would feel this strongly. I am not the type of mom who tries to protect him from the world (overly anyway). I believe that children are incredibly adaptable and we shouldn’t add our baggage and fear to their experience of life. As long as you’re behind them, they figure it out. But it’s hard sometimes. And that’s the thing, isn’t it.

Yesterday we met up with my sister (AKA “auntie”) at a festival. She was with a friend, and just the timing, we only over-lapped 10 minutes. Mateo was so excited to see his auntie. She lived with us for his entire first two years of life (that post) and he misses her. It was so cute watching him try to get her attention and show off. He got so excited and then so, so sad when she had to go. He was pulling my hand and starting to panic because I wasn’t chasing after her. And then he got over it.first day - auntieThe thing is, I’m having a hard time getting over it. I don’t mind him being upset because he can’t eat whatever he wants, I don’t care if he doesn’t want to go to sleep, or if he’s jealous of another child’s toys. But it’s hurting me that he can’t have his auntie/big sister and I can’t give him that extra attention and love he’s craving.

I’m so thankful for a dear friend who talked to me before I fell asleep last night. She reminded me that the sooner kids experience disappointment, the easier life will be (and really, said with no cynicism). That learning to love, and learning to miss is a beautiful thing. You know, I believe that. It’s just hard to remember when it’s your baby in front of you.

And that’s just it — life is a never-ending series of changes. One door closes, another opens. This time now — when we really can protect him and give him a safe place to fall–is the best time to learn. I want my boy to be adaptable, trusting, loving, and strong.

Sigh, I wish I was another mother (in the feed of #firstdayofschool) who had a child skipping into class. Nope, that wasn’t my boy this morning. I do know however that he will grow to love his little class. And I know it’ll be great for him.

Oh, it’s interesting and so new to be a mother to a little boy and not a baby.

Please send me (and Mateo) a little love though while we figure this one out.first-day-you-got-this-kiddo

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16 Thoughts on “first day

  1. Angela:


    I give him 1 week until he’s obsessed with preschool. Maybe 2, but I think 1. He will be making all the kids laugh too. He’s a ham AND he’s a mini you. He’ll be a hit!

  2. Angela:

    Sidebar, his lunch box is as big as he is and I’m sure he ate everything. haha.

    • Tom Neill:

      AND he’s eating while carrying it! :)

    • yeah, he might be the only two year old whose lunch box weighs five pounds every day, ha. :)

  3. Rachel:

    He was so sweet sleeping in the corner. I can’t wait to see how he fits into the class.

  4. Meghann:

    Lucas has his first day tomorrow. I can’t believe that they’re already doing ’1st days of school’. Where did our babies goooooo?!?! Love the blog Henna!

    • aww, Thank you Meghann! Oh man, seriously…how did we get to “first days” already?!

  5. kate:

    This was a really wonderful, heartfelt post. I’m not a mother, but my sister is about to be one, so I’ll be “auntie” pretty soon, and many of my friends’ children are Mateo’s age. I imagine how you’re feeling is exactly how I would feel, and how many other mothers feel. I like to think it’s what makes us empathetic, loving, supportive people. ;) It seems to me that you understand that there are challenges for him growing up–for both you and him–but it can probably be surprising just what those challenges turn out to be, and when. But just reading this post, your thoughts struck me as quite wise, even though it’s a series of new challenges and experiences every day, and the actual “doing” can seem difficult. Anyway, I agree with Angela–he’ll be begging to go before long! ;)


  6. ah lovely lady we’re sending you the biggest hug from our way.
    change can be rough at times, and i swear little ones deal with it better than us!
    here’s a little story for you…
    when i started nursery my mum would literally need the teachers to prise me away from her as i would cling on to her so tightly screaming my head off all the while. i would eventually be hauled in kicking and screaming (how embarrassing for my poor mother!) while my mum would be reduced to tears in the playground. this continued every time she took me, the teachers assured my mum that as soon as i was inside i was as happy as could be. my mum was not convinced so they said they would leave the window blinds open so she would be able to have a little peek in but not be seen. so the day started like any other, me screaming, sobbing, howling. five minutes later my mum sneaked round to see me sat down laughing, smiling and chatting (what a tinker!!) exactly how the teachers had described. from then on my mum dropped me off, knowing i was perfectly fine even if i did get upset, and then bam i stopped all the drama and i couldn’t get in there quick enough.
    i think the idea of the ones we love the most living us for a little while is so distressing but once a pattern is established and they realise they’re not leaving forever, they soon settle in. mateo is champ and this will be him in no time at all.
    you’ll be just fine too, seeing your sister thrive in college will reaffirm that change is good and for a reason. the bond you all have is amazing and although locations may change, the bond never will.

    • We’re just waiting for that routine to settle in. Truly, I know he’s fine. He puts of the goooooood fight, but really he’s not traumatized. Those poor teachers though. He’ll scream all day and then happily tell me about it after. :/ Hopefully he gives into it soon cause I KNOW he’ll have a blast. He loves playing with kids and having teachers and routine and he can be such a funny kid and a sweetie. OH, so true…I’m already just loving seeing how happy my sister is at her university! And I know that I was part of making her transition into adulthood. Pretty cool stuff. :) Miss that girl though! thanks for this comment btw. I love getting a whole story in the comments. You’re awesome. :)

  7. wow just saw the length of my comment…essay much!!!!

  8. Awww, I am sorry to hear that Mateo’s first day of school wasn’t exactly as you pictured. He will realize that pre-pre-school :-) is a lot of fun and make friends. Before you know it, he’ll be sad to leave and happy to come back. Hang in there … this too shall pass.

    • Oh Mateo. Silly boy. Hopefully I’ll have better news to report soon. He’ll figure it out! :)

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