This was my daughter’s second first day of school really; third or fourth if you count her baby baby school, where she started going to “class” when she was about 18 months old! Last year wound up such an epic fail, though, that I was really nervous about today.
She did FINE. She was playing in the play kitchen of the classroom when I turned to leave, and I caught her eye. Her lip had a teensy little tremble. I smiled, said, “You’re fine! See you soon, love you,” and left.
She was fine!
I was late to pick her up. I think this probably moves me officially into “worst preschool mom ever.” (I am not comparing myself to crazily abusive moms or anything like that, just NORMAL moms!) To be fair, if you do lunch but no extra class you pick up at one time, lunch and an extra class, another time, no lunch or extra class, a different time. So it’s no wonder I was confused, right? It won’t happen again!
On the downside, my girl had an accident while she was there. She really doesn’t have accidents very often anymore, although sometimes I kind of wonder if we aren’t a bit too accepting when she does. She knows it is totally fine to have an accident. Not saying that she wants to, but I think when her options were “interrupt two adults to go potty, or keep quiet and have an accident,” she chose not to interrupt. She gets a little intimidated by unfamiliar situations like that. I guess they had her go in a bathroom to change, poor thing was wearing tiny clothes that did not fit when I picked her up! So much for her adorable first day of school outfit!
So after school when she wanted to play (shudder) Barbie, I decided to use play to help her work through some of these situations. With the dolls, I was able to create a school setup and have one of them be scared to ask to go potty. Bella, as the teacher, told my doll: “You can go potty whenever you need to; and it’s ok if you have an accident!”
Then I had one of my dolls hit her doll, so she could practice what she’d say if (when!) that happens. Then we roleplayed her asking to play, and a girl responding meanly (just happened recently), and some things she could reply.
Barbie is not my favorite toy. I don’t ever play “prince rescues princess,” with my daughter; she knows I don’t like it and won’t play it. But if I can use the dolls to help her work through some difficult situations, that is fine! I think this can be a really useful thing to do and you don’t have to do it with Barbie, either; it could be any toy your child enjoys, even cars or trains or whatever they like best. I don’t think this will necessarily work after one time, but doing it many times can help kids verbalize difficult situations so they aren’t so scary.
As a mom at the park pointed out to me last week, I can’t always be there with her. I won’t always be there with her. I need to provide her with tools she can use when I’m not around, and trust that she will be ok.
I think now it’s my turn to roleplay pretending that my girl is ok without me, because wow is that hard for me to do!