February, 18, 2019.
Little did we know that was going to be a huge landmark for us and a major victory. That was the first day the twins didn’t cry at all at the preschool. Every other problem disappeared, and a tsunami of happiness hit us. It may not sound like much, but it really was. Around here, kids usually begin preschool – or kindergarten as we call it – when they are 3 years old. My twin boys are born in October and preschool starts in September, so they were ready… in theory. As with any of my other concerns (and they were many and various), I asked around and read about other people’s experiences. And it didn’t fill me with hope, not the very least. There were so many stories about kids screaming for months before accepting their new activity. Not to mention the cutthroat replies and emotional blackmail.
Leaving my babies with strangers
I was also worried because the twins were very attached to me, even dependent I could say. I didn’t mean for that to happen. Quite the opposite, I wanted them to be brave and independent, but that ended like any other plan I had made about them… not my way! Still, I had a small ray of hope. I thought that because they had each other, the transition would be easier, they would feel less abandoned. Abandoned! Yes, that word created a deep scar in my soul. It broke my heart and twisted my brain to leave my small, sweet babies with strangers. Just like any other parent feels, of course. Except they weren’t babies anymore, no matter how hard it was for their stressed out mommy to accept.
Drunk with joy and optimism
Part of the stress was finding the right preschool for them. We had decided we didn’t want a private one, because those provided by the state were better from our point of view. But there was a lot of competition to find a place for them. It felt so ridiculous to compete like that as if they were applying to Harvard. We get so agitated and fight our way into something our kids don’t even want. And it’s just the beginning, I don’t even want to imagine what it would be like when they go to school. Anyway, the place was chosen, the bags and lunch boxes were bought, the enthusiastic speeches had been repeated for weeks in front of a not so warm audience. And then the first day came. And it was amazing! Our twins saw all the toys and the other kids and didn’t want to go home. We went home drunk with joy and optimism.
All hell broke loose
And then came the second day and reality kicked in. Of course they loved the first day, it was like a visit at the playground. And, most importantly, WE were there with them. When they saw we had left, all hell broke loose. What followed was an intense experience for everyone. They cried, they screamed while twisting and kicking on the floor. We tried leaving them only for an hour, until they got used to it. It didn’t work. And then their teacher had the right idea. She suggested we kept them at home for a month, until the other kids adjusted, and maybe when they didn’t see others cry anymore they would accept it easier. And it worked. Well, they still cried but only for a few minutes when we left. I was right about one thing, though. Having each other really helped. When the teacher said they took each other’s hands and went to the back of the room to play together, it warmed my heart and broke it at the same time. My two little ones standing by each other, facing a
strange new world.
Kids are awesome
There was another thing that really helped. The other children! These days, my boys cannot wait to get there, and I saw why. Their classmates great them with such joy, they hug them and are actually happy to see them. It seems because they are the youngest ones, the others take extra care of them. What can I say? Kids are awesome! I like to say that to the other parents, so they can feel even more proud of their children. Finally, thanks to a group effort, preschool is a happy place for us!