So anyway. Thursday was the big day, and Ellie was psyched. We talked up school so much beforehand: we watched all the "Daniel Tiger Goes to School"-related episodes we could, we read books, we talked about exactly how her day would go, we played in her classroom and met her teacher at orientation the Monday prior, we did test runs with her lunchbox, we bought new school clothes and shoes and even a fancy bow for her hair. The night before her first day, we also gave her a locket with pictures of Eric, E.J. and me in it so she could wear it and look at our pictures if she got lonely at school. By that time, she could hardly wait to put all that prep work into practice.
I woke her up around 7:15 a.m. on her first day and even though she was definitely asleep when I went in, she leaped out of bed and was ready to GO. She started singing the song that Daniel Tiger sings when he gets ready for school ("Clothes on! Eat breakfast! Brush teeth! Put on shoes and off to school!") and we did exactly that, in that order. We got all dressed first thing, and then stepped outside for a quick picture. She looked so sweet, and so grown up!
What a big girl!
When we went back inside we ate breakfast, brushed her teeth and then she got her sunglasses on and basically sat on the couch and waited for the rest of us to be ready. I still had to get dressed myself, and E.J. actually slept in that morning so I had to wake him and feed him his breakfast and get him dressed while Ellie patiently waited.
Finally, the moment was upon us. We gathered up her things and headed out!
Luckily, we live only about a three minutes' drive from the school, which will probably serve me well considering that since becoming a mother of two I am basically chronically late. We got to the school right on time and went up to her classroom door to wait her turn to go in.
Ready to start her day! (You can kind of see her cute hairbow here - it looks like a pencil!)
When it was her turn, Ellie put her snack in the snack bucket and then greeted her teacher, who had us pause and took a photo of us before taking Ellie's hand to lead her into the classroom. Once Ellie had her teacher's hand, she didn't want to let go and so I didn't even get a goodbye hug! She did give me a kiss at my request then walked right in the classroom, and never looked back.
I watched for another moment before heading back to the car. It all happened so fast! I expected a big hug and a tearful goodbye (on my part, not hers) but we both really did just fine.
I spent the next few hours running around with E.J., but made sure to be back at her school just before pickup time. Eric also left work in time to be there to greet her, and when she came out the door and saw him, she was thrilled!
She spotted Daddy!
She and E.J. were also very happy to see each other. I think they missed each other!
He had been crying, but broke into a big grin when he saw his big sister!
Of course, I was happy to see her, too!
Happy to be back with my girl!
When the teacher's assistant called Ellie to come out at the end of the day, she told me Ellie was very sweet (but I mean, duh), and Ellie seemed to have enjoyed her day. She wasn't particularly forthcoming with details (three-year-olds, am I right?), but she did say she wore the Aurora dress (in the dress-up corner), played on the playground and spun in circles. She also came home with two pictures, one of which was a self-portrait (the first time I've seen her draw a person!) and the other was her writing "Ellie," she tells me.
Ellie's self-portrait! I think she shows true talent, don't you?
This is how she writes Ellie, apparently. It's either a work in progress, or she's already got the illegible doctor scribble down and can start writing prescriptions any day now!
And that was that! She goes twice a week, so she'll be back for her second day tomorrow. She seems excited to go, so I assume she really did enjoy it. I figured she would—I just really had the feeling she needed some interaction with her peers without me there. I know she'll do great.
And as for me, I'm okay too. I was really emotional about the whole thing leading up to the first day, but then I managed just fine on the actual day and now I'm just trying not to dwell. It's a big thing for us, though. Considering I have been lucky enough to stay home with her for her entire life, this is the first time she's really doing something away from me; the first time there's a part of her life that I really don't know much about. It's the first step in letting go, I think, and it's so hard to believe we're here already. I know it will be good for her, but man. It just went so fast.
My grown up baby girl