Wednesday, August 29, 2007

First day, new classroom

I'm home from dropping Z. off at her first day in her new, infant-free day care room. Everyone but Z. is 2 1/2, and Z.'s half-birthday is Sunday. There was no changing table in the classroom! Wow. A bright new era dawns.

Since A. doesn't start back at school until next week, we dropped her off together. Dropping her off was fine. The room is beautiful, and the teachers had the best, most fabulous toys out for first-day drop-off distraction. The other three kids from her infant-toddler room were already there, so all the promised people were reassuringly present. The assistant teacher was floating last year, so Z. already knows her well from when she covered in Z.'s infant-toddler room. The head teacher blinked at our cloth training pants, but it was only a blink: "okay, we've had cloth before." And the binky-free trip to school went unprotested. Really, nothing could be better.

Except every waking moment of the eleven hours that led to getting her out the door. Z. usually goes down around 9:30, after her bath. Recently, she's been getting up about once and needing to be firmly directed back to bed, but she does go and that's usually the end of it. She's been under the weather for a few nights, so she's been getting more cuddling down, and I think that, on top of a late nap, was what set us up for disaster.

Last night, she popped up seven times between 9:30 and midnight, with tears and coaxing and threatened time outs each time. When I got to bed at 12:15, A. was in Z.'s bed, and Z. was doing everything she could to keep her Mommy in bed with her--in other words, to keep herself awake. I took over, and it was more of the same with Mama until I dredged up the Cuddle of Last Resort.

The Cuddle of Last Resort is a cold-season manoeuver, for when Z. is too stuffed in the nose to sleep flat. I get myself propped up on pillows and she drapes herself over me. The problem with this for me is that I can't get to sleep when she's touching me and I don't even really get sleepy on my back. We haven't used this one in a few months and she was considerably lighter then--put enough toddler weight on your chest and it gets hard to breathe.

It took her a good 45 minutes in this position before she finally dropped off. I crawled into my own bed at 1:30. The alarm went off at 6:00. We got Z. to school at 8:30, and it's only a four-block walk. It was pretty much solid tantrums--about getting out of bed, about eating breakfast, about finishing breakfast, about ponytails and hairclips, about teeth-brushing, about another book, about getting dressed--until I cottoned on to what she was saying:

"I'm too cwranky to go to school."

Yes, everyone, I set us up for this morning's mess by keeping her home when she was cranky last year. I am still paying for that one.

Lucky for us, Z. is proud of being a big girl. When she was finally cuddling in Mommy's lap, I told her that when she was one, it was okay to stay home from school because she was cranky. I told her what wasn't strictly true: that when she turned two she started going to school even when she was cranky.

And so, we coaxed her into her training pants and her shorts, got her new librarian shirt on her, re-did the ponytails, got the sugar bugs off the teeth and the sandals on her feet.

She's off at school. There are no babies in her classroom now. She's not a baby anymore.

And it was my turn for tears walking back down the hall.


Magpie said...

Oh, cwranky-pants girl. It's so hard to watch them get bigger. Where did the baby go?

Mine wakes up and asks "am I going to school today"? When she asks that, I know it's going to be rough getting her fed and out of the house. Because if she asks that question, she doesn't want the answer to be yes.

Good luck to Z. And to you and A. of course.

niobe said...

Was Z worried about or looking forward to her first day in the new classroom?

S. said...

Magpie, I know, I know! How did this happen to my roly-poly girl, that she got so long and lean?

Niobe, Z. has been looking forward to her new classroom since the day *before* she left school in June. All last year, she would stare longingly into this big-kid room, which is the classroom nearest the playground entrance, so she was thrilled to learn it would be hers. The problem was the leaving Mommy behind part.

jo(e) said...

Oh, change is stressful! I hope things start going smoothly from now on.

S. said...

Jo(e), judging by the 4-o-clock pickup and the trip for ice cream afterwards, we've got a few days of working out the kinks still ahead of us.

liz said...

Oh dear. Big hugs. Big, big hugs.