Sunday, June 1, 2008

Gearing Up for Preschool

Harper is getting excited about starting preschool in mid-June. After some agonizing and hand-wringing, we've finally made a decision and we feel good about it. Harper will be starting preschool at "Stepping Stones" in just a few days. She will attend on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Last night, while on our way to Porterville to celebrate my mom's birthday, E's birthday, Uncle Steve's birthday and Father's day (talk about combining occasions) Harper got my attention and I turned around in the car to find her eyes full of tears. She said, "Mama... you said that after Uncle Steve's birthday and Grannie's birthday I would start preschool and we're celebrating them tonight. I have tears because I am happy that I am really going to start preschool soon!" Ethan and I couldn't believe it. We've cried with joy before and talked about how sometimes tears mean lots of joy-- they don't always mean sadness. Apparently she's learned or experienced that feeling first hand and school is something she's been longing for and it's finally here.

Yesterday I read a short piece online about the joys and frustrations of parenting. One of the joys listed was seeing yourself in your child. I do indeed see myself in her sometimes (not to the exclusion of Ethan's influence... as Grandma likes to say, "That's so Danielle..." I am aware that being a learner is quite consistent with her other set of genes. She comes by it naturally, as they say.) I just remember how I'd consume the workbooks my mom would splurge on when I was young and between grades. I would long for school in the summertime boredom-- both because of the slow, hot hours and because I so longed for the challenges and the socializing I missed at school. My mom would sometimes buy me little workbooks to bide some time and they'd resemble the handouts we did at school. I would inevitably finish them within a couple hours and be left hungry for more.

I can see myself in her constant longing-to-learn and it is part of being a parent that I hadn't counted on. I really did start this adventure with an open mind and heart, open to the possibility that my kids may be totally different than I am and educated by my marriage and teaching experiences about how to communicate through those differences. I have to admit though, that it is so much easier to have a few things in common. I feel like I know where my girl is coming from, and I feel gratified to know how to meet those needs. She's a learner, and I try to give her more and more to learn each day, always aware of where-she-is and trying to give her just enough challenge to remain interesting along with just enough success to feel like a little smarty boots.

E and I just wanted to share that we're all excited over here. I got Harper's calendar set up at her artist table and she marks off the days and can see how close we're getting. Preschool marks a new chapter in the girl's life and we're all so happy about watching her navigate this one.

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