Nearly a year ago, I went from stay-at-home mom to full-time working mom. With that, my son Jacob (2 years and 9 months then), went from stay-at-home kid to school kid. The first year of school had plenty of eye-opening moments, most of them good.
[Related: Cast My Fear]
Here are the 10 things we learned when our little bird left the nest:
- It’s awesome to have a village– Our circle now includes trusted teachers and other staff who know Jacob and who are helping him grow and learn.
- His teachers are so much better at keeping him occupied– I took Jacob to Little Gym classes, the library, the museum and swim lessons. We went on errands and he watched TV or his iPad (we use screens and devices without shame, but that’s another post). I did what I could to support his learning and we had fun, but I am not a teacher. At school, though, there is always something to do. There are fun activities and crafts. Circle time with music. Learning letters, shapes and numbers. They plant things!
- When in Rome, the little ones will do as the Romans– There’s no motivation like having 10 other kids doing it, too. Can we talk about potty training? My child was stubbornly against it. Then, enter school and very patient teachers, he miraculously got the hang of it. Go figure. Also, getting him to try new foods is a little easier thanks to his friends. Speaking of…
- It’s so exciting to see him with little friends– and to hear the stories once he gets home about who did what. Oh, the drama.
- There are a lot of icky bugs out there– The down side of school? colds and other viruses. Seriously, the bugs that get passed around are ridiculous. They come with vomiting and diarrhea or fevers and hives. Parents are not immune to all of them. I learned this firsthand. It’s just awful. And this leads to…
- That feeling of dread when the school is calling in the middle of the day– Yeah. No explanation needed. This sucks. No one wants to know their child’s school is on the phone. Ok. Back to being positive. On a good note…
- Every holiday is a big deal— and there are T-shirts at Target for each of them– Every. Holiday. Even Dr. Seuss Day. You will also get a corresponding craft and there is usually an activity. We enjoyed a Halloween parade, Christmas Party and an Easter egg hunt. My absolute favorite craft was my Mother’s Day gift. I will cherish it for the rest of my life.
8. I discovered more about his personality– I learned Jacob is a go-with-the-flow type of kid. We had a few tough days, but overall, he adapts well to change. I am so relieved about this one! I am also floored at how well he behaves at school and the good feedback I get on his behavior. At home, he is a little more rambunctious. That’s the nice way to say it, right?
9. Mondays and long weekends have the same effect on kids– Just because they have fun and there’s always friends to play with and something to do, doesn’t mean they always want to go to school. Sometimes, they just want to stay home and stay in bed. Getting him up and at ’em is especially challenging on these days.
10. I don’t have to baby him– At 3-years-old, he is capable of so much. This year, I had to let go just a tad, trust his experienced teachers and let him be more independent (within reason). It has been a fun ride.
[Related: RGV Preschool, Schools and Childcare]
I realize this is a very pro-school list, but we had such a great first year (minus the icky bugs). I think we all got a little stronger and tested our boundaries. It was tough to leave my baby. But, his first year out in the world was a success! He’s got a long road of education ahead. Let’s hope this positive attitude surrounding school continues for years to come.
Jacob and his first teacher ever, Teacher Kayla!
Did you first-year mamas have a good year? What would you add to this list?