Saturday, July 3, 2010

Holding Tight, Letting Go

This week, my daughter started a new class at school. Upstairs. Where all the big kids' classes are. (All the baby classes are on the first floor.) I took her to drop her off for the first day of this new class...this class she is in because she started expressing an interest in potty training a few weeks ago, and so we asked when they would start working on it at school and were told she could move to a class upstairs where they work on it with the early training kids.

So she essentially skipped a class, leap-frogged over almost all the kids within four months of her age, and is already upstairs working on potty training. All the other kids around her age on the first floor will move up in August, so it's not that big of a deal, but she is getting a little headstart.

So far, it seems to be going well...she's peed on the potty at school for her teacher a few times. Tuesday night, she peed on the potty at home for my husband (I was working late and missed it). She tells us when she's going poo-poo, but isn't quite ready to try the potty for that yet. She remains completely obsessed with Elmo's Potty Time video and would watch it on repeat 24-7 if we let her.

Dropping her off for her first full day upstairs was hard on me. Physically, my daughter is very tall (probably 36" tall at 22 months) and looks older than she is, so she was the same size as the kids in her new class, but when I looked at her, holding hands and walking with the other big kids to go down to the cafeteria for breakfast, all I could see was my little baby becoming a big girl.

I held it together at school, as I was also learning new things, like where to sign her in upstairs and where to put her bag in her new class. But when I drove to my office, I found myself crying as I pulled into the parking lot. Crying not only because she's growing up, but because I don't want to rush her growing up, so why did I push for her to go upstairs? Actually, I didn't push...I just asked when they would start working on potty training with her class, and things moved rapidly from there. But now, it might be moving a little too fast for Mommy!

Realistically, I do think it will be a good thing for her. I think she might be a little bored in her regular class, where it's a lot of open play between meals. She already knows her colors, can sing the ABC song, spell her name, recognize all the letters and numbers, count to 12, and more, and she loves to learn new things.

Upstairs, the classes are more structured, with fun new activities. Tuesdays, they have Splash Day, Wednesdays, they have music class (she loves to sing and dance!), and Thursdays, they go to a Chapel service, which I'm very excited about (it's a Lutheran Church Day School...I'm Baptist, my husband is technically a Catholic, but not really...all of that is another post). They have structured activities throughout the morning and afternoon with a little time for open play still.

She does know one of the other girls in the class and all the kids seem cute, though it feels weird, because I don't know them the way I know all the kids in her last class, because they've all been together since my daughter was four months old. In August, when all of those kids move upstairs, the class she is in right now will close down and all the kids will be re-shuffled, so my daughter should end up back with her buddies, I hope.

It's such a push-and-pull...I want her to learn, to grow, to be independent, and I'm so proud of her when she accomplishes something new, but at the same time, I want to stop time. I want to put her back in a swaddling blanket wrapped up tight and hold her in my arms and never let her go. I love her so much, more than anything else in this world, and it fills up and breaks my heart on a daily basis. Fills it up with love with every smile, every hug, every moment, and breaks it in tiny little pieces every time I see her becoming less and less of a baby. Doing more and more things without needing me. She's my only child; I'll never have another, so let's just stop the clock. Wind time back. Slow things down.

Right now, I'm holding tight, but I know I have to let go.

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