After the predicted heartbreaking farewell of Joseph's first day of school in the YMCA program, and the discovery that when I came to pick him up about 20 minutes early he was playing nicely... they told us at the end of that first schoolday that the program would cease to exist in less than two weeks time?
You can imagine how absolutely horrified I was, not as much because the program closed on us, but because they did not communicate this until AFTER the first day of school. With only four children enrolled they did not know this was a possibility the wednesday before at orientation? Or even that very morning when we went through all the difficulties of leaving our little boy in their hands for the very first time?
As upset as I was, I didn't have much time for anger, instead I had to find a new preschool program that still had a place open after the first day of school. Putting Joseph in preschool was not some offhanded decision. We truely considered his needs, his likes and dislikes, and what we wanted as a family. What I did not want was for Joseph to be away from mommy five days a week. Unfortunately, it seems that most preschool programs now operate on a five days a week basis. At two years old, he just seems to be too little for that. Luckily, I managed to find a preschool that still had openings. I read over their website, their core and value statements, their policies... and then I made the call. Unfortunately the answering machine picked up. The next day however, my beloved husband and I dropped by and found everything the way we wanted. A christian environment, experienced and kind staff, small groups and a lot of understanding, plus a two half day program.
So today, we repeated the heartbreaking scenario that every parent who sends their child off to school knows. Joseph cried as if we abandoned him in the desert. And of course we felt very bad. I kept my cellphone close by but resisted the urge to call the director who did her rounds every 35 minutes to hear how he was doing.
When I picked Joseph up, he was crying, but the teacher, Miss Mina, said that he had only just started crying together with some of the others when the first parents came for pick up. Aparently he had great fun. And... she had proof! Not only was there the picture Joseph had made (until you are a parent you can't really appreciate the loveliness of some random yellow lines on black paper!), there were the shapes he had glued, and the fingerprint he had made with paint, which had then been altered in a fish! And on top of that all... there were lots of pictures made with the digital camera in which I could see a smiling and very busy Joseph. When they told me they had played with bubbles outside, there was no more doubt in my mind. He had great fun.
That was confirmed when, upon leaving the building Joseph said: "Bye bye peaschool" "fu (n) peaschool!"
I am certain there will be some crying again next monday, but after a few more tries, I have the feeling he is going to ask about peaschool on days when it is 'just mommy!'.