Friday, January 11, 2008

Back to School & Happy Birthday to Me!

After a very long Christmas break, Riley started back at preschool on Tuesday. She seemed so excited to tell her teacher and friends about all the cool gifts she got for her birthday and for Christmas--she spent 10 minutes the night before deciding what she should take for her first post-break show-and-tell. She decided on her walking dinosaur and was practically giddy with anticipation. Unfortunately, the euphoric mood didn't last long. As I dropped her off for class, she began using the "whiny voice" and tears welled up in her eyes. "Mommy, I just want to go home," she whimpered. Several minutes (and several blow-ups) later, I left the school with Riley wiping her teary eyes and reluctantly accepting her teacher's invitation to have a seat with her friends.

What happened? I wish I knew! Riley's been attending preschool since last October and seemed to really be enjoying her time there. I was so worried when I dropped her off on her very first day of school--I just knew she would fall apart (and me right along with her!). But, just the opposite happened--she immediately began taking to the children in her class and drawing with chalk provided by the teacher. I gave her a hug and a kiss, told her "bye" and turned to leave expecting the tears to flow...instead, I got a cheerful, "Bye, Mommy!"

Riley's very first day at preschool!

Every day since those first days has been pretty much a carbon copy until a few days before the Christmas break. She suddenly started getting very clingy and wanting me to stay with her. She needed more and more reassurance that I would be back for her just after lunch and even wanted to know how many hours she would be staying at the school. Tears came more and more often, but we both managed to brave through it all. The long break for Christmas only made things worse--Tuesday morning she really started to panic when I dropped her off. I just wish I knew how to get things back to where they were!

Her teachers say that the minute I'm out of sight, she's fine. She's playing and laughing and getting along great with all her friends. Hopefully, this trend will reverse itself very soon and I can drive away from the school guilt-free.

Riley and Madison at the school's Halloween party.

Riley and her friend Arwin at the school's Thanksgiving dinner.

In other news, I celebrated my birthday on Tuesday (#34!) and had a wonderful day with Charles and Riley. After we picked up Riley from preschool, we drove to Pappasito's Cantina in Marietta and had an awesome meal. Of course, Riley blabbed that it was my birthday and I pleaded with our waiter not to embarrass me by making me wear the huge sombrero that is the standard humiliation for those celebrating a birthday. He agreed, so I got a delicious dessert presented to me after the meal and turned only slightly red when he and the other staff sang a birthday song. Our waiter later informed me that I got out of wearing the sombrero because their camera was out of film to capture such a proud moment in my life!