First day of preschool for Benjamin yesterday. He has been so excited, ever since the boys started school again in September. Every day he asked when he would be going to school. Every morning he put on his backpack and walked with the boys to the bus. He also tried to get on the bus every morning and was disheartened each time I told him he wasn't going yet.
Finally the day arrived. He was still confused that he wasn't getting on the school bus with the older boys in the morning. Half an hour later (and quite early, but he wasn't going to wait any longer!) we made our way on foot up the street to the high school, where his preschool is held. We got no more than a few driveways down when a school bus pulled up to the stop sign ahead.
"My school!" Benjamin exclaimed. "No," I replied "You're not getting on that bus. School is up around the corner." Another ten feet or so and another bus went driving by. "That's my school!" Benjamin cried. Now I realized what he meant. Every morning, when we said the boys were going to school, Benjamin saw them get on a bus. And every afternoon when we picked them up after school, Ben saw them get off a bus. He thought the bus was school!
I realized I needed a quick diversion, since buses are so very cool in the eyes of a two year old, and he would not be getting on a bus for another year. I asked if he was excited to finally go to school. "Will there be cars?" he asked. An affirmative answer was rewarded with a satisfied look and a quickened pace.
When we arrived at the school, Benjamin ran up and through the door. As he walked down the hall, the teenagers cleared a path for the confident, smiling two year old with a knapsack that went down past his knees and only held an extra change of clothing. When we reached the door decorated with balloons, he marched right in.
My proud parent moment came next, when the teacher asked if Benjamin could find his hook. For the past month or so I've been writing a "B" on Benjamin's drawings and paintings, not really making a concerted effort to teach letters, just putting it out there for him to see. Benjamin surveyed the hand written names by the hooks and pointed to "Brayden" first, and when told to look again, found "Benjamin" right away. Turns out he does know the letter B!
He turned to run toward the toys at that moment, and I had to call him back twice, to hang his bag and remove his sweater. But he was off, not a look back. Sadly, not even a hug and a kiss, but I didn't want to call him back and make a big deal of it, since he was so happy to be there.
James picked him up, but when Benjamin burst through the front door he gave a loud "ta-da!" with arms up in the air and a little jump, and a drawing thrust forward. When I asked if he knew his big buddy's name (all the kids are paired with a teen from the parenting class at the high school) he said "Yep - Noah." He also told me they sang "If You're Happy and You Know It" and played with the cars.
This morning he was all set to go again, but unfortunately it's only Tuesdays and Thursdays, so he has to wait five whole days before he can go again. I'll call the whole experience a success. While a tiny corner of my mother heart wishes one of my kids would want to linger a little longer at home, or be just a little sad to be leaving the nest, I'm much happier that they are confident and secure and ready to face the world.