hazel goes to school

conspiratorial cousins, originally uploaded by kelanew.

(photo: Hazel and Lilly join Eva at the girls' preschool, celebrating Eva's crossing over ceremony.)

Hazel just started preschool this month. I debated starting her this fall -- after all, she's only just turned two (Eva was nearly three). It would be for 6-7 hrs/day twice a week (Eva started with 3 hrs/day). She'd have to eat lunch and nap at school (Eva didn't do that until she was 4). But as I've often had cause to discover and rediscover, Hazel isn't Eva (in that shocking way that one person consistently is not another person). I suppose it's only natural to fall back on your previous experience, never mind that a sample size of n=1 never led anyone to valid conclusions. And indeed, Hazel is her own kid.

We had two visit days, during which I stayed with her, and they went fine. In fact, both times I had to pretty much drag her kicking and screaming out of the place. No wonder she feels at home there -- she's been there more or less two days a week since she was negative 2 wks old. She knows the place; the playground (where the best swing is located), the teachers, and many of the kids. In fact, the only time she cried during the visit days is when an overzealous friend of Eva's decided to "help" Hazel a bit more than Hazel strictly wanted to be helped. Well, and I guess the time she got her arm stuck on the submarine climby thing. I helped her loose her wedged elbow and calmly sat back at my do-not-feed-the-animals perch ten feet away, and she went right up to a teacher and they dealt with it together, and she was almost immediately fine.

No surprise, then, that on the first day (arriving late, after a detour to the pedi to determine that Eva's pink eye was from her newfound love of underwater swimming, not in fact from pinkeye) Hazel was off and playing happily before I could even set down her lunch box. "Hey you, come back here and give me a hug and a kiss!" I reminded her that today, Mama was going to go, but that I'd come back after lunch and nap. "Mama always comes back... right Hazel?" (I've been feeding her that line for a few weeks now.) She looked right at me and said "Okay, bye-bye, Mama. I see you later." A perfunctory second kiss, and she was off.

Huh. I mean, I know this is Hazel after all (same baby who used to squirm for me to put her down so she could crawl or toddle over and entice my friends or their husbands to hold her instead), but come on. I was in a bit of a daze, not quite able to comprehend my child-free state -- it was, I realized, the first time in my entirety of motherhood someone other than a close friend or family member was watching all the children I had (okay, except for the two days of preschool Eva had before Hazel was born, but I was so pregnant I mostly just napped the whole 3 hours). I went home, burst into tears in Larry's arms, then asked him out to lunch. We ate -- there was an actual waiter and everything! -- and

[Wait, Hazel -- who is recovering from a hellish week hosting the coxsackie virus and is now feeling better and wide awake at 10 p.m. -- just ambled over to announce playfully: "Mama, I find a very scary ("beh-wy skeh-wy") robot. I need-a nuggle you. That scary robot go'n step on my foot!" She laughed -- she was just pretending, after her adventure in the dark hallway. She's bouncing off the walls, happy to be feeling better. She was so very miserable all week... okay, now as I'm typing this, she's "riding my horsey" and asking for nummy bed at the same time; can't decide if she's wide awake or tired. "You finish your 'puter, okay Mama? Finish your 'puter."]

Anyway, quickly: I arrived at school to pick her up after our lunch, and no fewer than four people told me "oh, Hazel was crying!" "wow, Hazel sure wasn't happy"... hey! What?! As predicted, she was not a fan of nap. She's accustomed to nursing to sleep for nap and bedtime (and, you know, when felled by the mean ol' coxsackie, when she couldn't even tolerate sips of water but would nurse, thank goodness) -- so I knew adjusting to school nap would be a trick. Other than that, she had a grand old time, and again, I could barely entice her to leave. The next school day she slept, and next, she slept without crying first. She'll adjust -- and she loves every other moment of being there. If only she could actually *go*... she's been sick twice already in her first three weeks of school. Same happened to Eva, which I had blocked out of my memory -- scarred as I was by it, in part because a virus Eva caught from school during her first month is what hit newborn Hazel, and what caused the horrifying image of the face of my 18-day-old baby as she endured a spinal tap to be forever seared onto the back of my eyeballs. (Yes, I know; I said I both had blocked it out and had it permanently seared into my memory... but that's exactly what it is.)

Next week, she'll go back. Eva will then be in Kindergarten (another post, to be sure). Too bad the girls only got to overlap by 3 days (would have been 5 without illnesses), but already, Hazel is on her own path, and ready to venture forth. I don't know if I'm so ready for that, but time freezes for no mama. Or so I'm discovering.


Amanda Fowle said...

Oh, these second girls are a different ball game, aren't they?! With waiting lists and such, I'll be faced with starting Mary Elizabeth at preschool much earlier or much later than Caroline (due to winter versus summer birthdays). Right now, she's on the list to start in the two year old class, but I'll play it by ear. She certainly wanted to stay at kindergarten today when we all visited the classroom. :-) (I have you on my Google Reader Feed...seems like I'm a stalker, eh?)

Kristy said...

Hi Amanda! Not stalker-ish at all; If not for google reader, I don't think anyone would find my poor long-neglected blogs. (Another aspect of second children -- Eva was hyper-documented, Hazel ... not so much.) Anyway, your comment made me smile.

Kindergarten -- can you believe it? Remember our blanket babies at AP meetings? Seems like just yesterday, and a lifetime ago...