Last night, as we were chatting about starting school, Tobin asked whether I could stay with him the first day. As succinctly as I could, I said that I couldn't but he was going to have a great time, and then I'd be back before he knew it. Then this morning, as he hugged Matt good-bye, he told him he was "a little nervous." When Matt asked what he felt nervous about, Tobin quipped: "Just the whole thing." :) As we got ready this morning, he said a few more times that he was nervous, but he said it in a very matter-of-fact way and didn't seem to fret further. He humored me by posing for some pictures before we left the house and was full of smiles. We even survived a last-minute outfit change necessitated by Evan attacking Tobin's unmanned orange juice (by crawling across the coffee table, no less!). Our ride to school was really normal, with both boys singing their silly car songs.
When we got to the school, he walked right to the bathroom and washed his hands, then went over to his cubby where I found his name tag and safety-pinned it to his back. He went right into the room, where he was greeted by the assisting parent who had him "sign in" and then directed him to the classroom, which was strewn, much like our living room floor, with all manner of Duplos. Tobin jumped right in and started playing. I chatted with another parent and took a few more pictures before I went over to kiss him good-bye. Never really looking up from his blocks, Tobin again asked me if I could stay. I said I would stay a few minutes but I needed to go soon and I would be back in just a little while. I paused for a moment more, watching the kids play, and then walked out. And that was that. The whole experience was simple, low key and pleasant. I think I must still have lingering trauma from numerous difficult daycare drop-offs when Tobin was much younger. So I did fret that he might suddenly have cold feet and really not want me to leave. After all, this is really his first significant time away from home since I started staying home with him two years ago. He's been talking for months about how excited he is to start school, and how he's going to tell his teacher things like he knows his numbers up to one million but he can't count that high because it would take too long, and how he's going to be a basketball player for his school (the school does have a nice gym), etc. All this was a good indication that he would enjoy school, but I knew that it would be unfamiliar to him at first and I just didn't know how he'd handle it. He seemed comfortable and confident this morning, and it just made me so happy--and relieved. I know it might not always be this easy for him, but this really seemed like the best start to the whole experience I could hope for.
It was fun to pick him up and revel in him proudly showing off a giant paper fish and telling me that his favorite part of the day was when they made birthday crowns, and how he fell and scraped his knee on the playground gravel but was okay, and how he did learn something today and it was how to sit "criss-cross applesauce," and how he liked his snack of grapes and "graham cracker sticks you dip in cheese." (Huh?)
On top of an awesome first day of school, Tobin also had his first soccer practice ever today. We registered him for soccer last month and were wait-listed and then got on a team but the team had no coach, so it all seemed tenuous enough that we didn't really mention it much to Tobin in case it fell through. But then yesterday, we got an email from the coach saying show up for practice today . . . with shin guards! Matt went with Tobin to the hour-long 5pm practice while I stayed home with Evan and finished getting dinner ready. Unsurprisingly, Tobin loved it. And apparently, he took to it rather well. The team had a little scrimmage at the end of practice and, as Matt tells it, Tobin's team won 2-0 with Tobin scoring a goal and having an assist. Yay!
In the course of one day, I feel like our lives have changed dramatically with the introduction of preschool and (kinda) organized sports into our lives. Today felt like a really happy day. And though I have moments when my heart aches from watching my boy grow, I mostly feel excited about what's ahead for him and us. Like I said earlier, at dinner, Tobin sighed and said, "Today was a big day for me." And then he deadpanned: "I need to go to bed before Evan." Ha! As it turned out his plans for going to bed early included instructing me "to not let him clean up too much stuff" during his usual pre-bedtime clean-up time and forgoing UNO games, which Matt and I were told we were free to play after he went to sleep. But he still wanted his story time with Daddy . . . and actually did stay awake for one UNO game. I think that little exchange sums up Tobin well. He's self-aware, clever and independent, but he still treasures those special times with us. May that always be so.