Lucas has started Preschool!!! This is a big deal for him, and for us. It’s been quite the journey to get where he is now, and for being in an orphanage less than one year ago to now being in an American school, well, it’s a BIG deal!! 🙂 We are so proud of him! He’s jumped through some major hurdles to be where he is now!
This all started when Aiden began first grade this year a few months ago. Lucas and I would walk Aiden to school and pick him up, everyday. When we would get back to the house after dropping Aiden off, Lucas missed his brother, and wondered what he did at that place called school all day. I read Lucas a few books about what school is about, and showed him some pictures of some of the things you do in school. Lucas began to understand that school is a fun place, where you learn and have fun. He wanted to go with his big brother to school everyday. Lucas became very very interested in this school thing. Everyday about the time Lucas was done napping, it would be about time to go pick up Aiden from school. It never fails, after every nap the first thing Lucas says is, “eeee-den mommy? Pik ut eee-den, mommy???” I answer, “Yes, we’re going to pick up Aiden!”
This is how Lucas would wait for his brother after school, everyday:
Once Lucas spotted his brother, he would start yelling for him, “Eeeee-Den!!!!!!!!” jumping up and down with excitement! He just made me laugh. After that, Lucas would want to see all his papers and sit intently listening to all the details of Aiden’s day. I could see his face fill with excitement when Aiden would start explaining the things he was doing each day in school. Lucas didn’t understand everything, but he was still excited to hear about it! I began thinking that maybe Lucas is ready for school, to be around other kids. This made me nervous. For many reasons.
I just didn’t think Lucas would be ready for any type of school setting because I wasn’t sure he would know enough english yet to communicate well with teachers if I wasn’t around to help decipher what he is trying to say. I was also concerned because this would also be the first type of interaction with other kids where he isn’t in an institutionalized environment, and let’s face it, survival in an orphanage in the middle of Africa is VERY different than an American school. I was also concerned that he would feel different than the other kids, not only because he is a very dark African, but because he couldn’t speak english very well. I just had all these fears for him. We have to learn to help him cope in his environments outside of the home, and it was time. It was time for this.
So we found a wonderful part time preschool (only a few days a week for 3 hours) and a few other boys in his class who looked like him, which I could tell made him feel more comfortable right away. We are thankful for this preschool, and it’s staff. They really took the time to listen to our concerns, hear Lucas’s journey, and help us with everything as we transitioned into this new experience for Lucas.
He was ready, eager, and excited to start school!!!!!! He was just so so excited, he lead my hand all the way to the door, knowing right where to go!
He let go of my hand, and started walking in front of me, so excited. My heart sank just a teensy bit at how quickly my little boy is growing up. Too fast. Just like his older brother. They just grow up too fast. At that moment, I knew we were making the right move starting him in preschool. He was ready.
Or so I thought! We go all the way in his classroom and he puts his bookbag up on his hook, and at that moment he realizes…mommy is about to LEAVE! Panic strikes his face. Oh no. This isn’t good. I was prepared for this, before all the “I’m so excited…ready to leave and go to school…I’m letting go of your hand now and walking into school by myself” business!! What?! Now I don’t know how to handle this…he starts crying. Like shear pain crying. Ok, we’re leaving, mommy can’t do this, and I can’t let you cry, we don’t HAVE to do this, my poor baby, as I start to leave with him, he realizes that he now doesn’t want to go, and I’m so confused. I just don’t want to hinder our attachment and bonding by leaving him crying telling myself “he’ll just get used to it” like I would have done with our biological child…well…Lucas is different than a biological child, with attachment issues, neglect, abuse, trust issues, etc. I can’t let him cry, and be scared, and just “get used to it”, so now what do I do!? I just tell him that I’m not leaving, if he wants to stay and play then he can and I’ll sit in the corner and I won’t leave. I did this for about 30 min. and he walked over to me, and securely said to me, “Mommy, bye bye, Lucas ok”. Heart. Melted. Wow. He did it. We did it. He conquered this fear. He overcame something so scary for him, and felt secure enough to tell me he was ok now and I could go, because he knew none of the other mommies stayed. He is so smart, so brave, and such a blessing to us. I just had to share his First Day of Preschool.