Then and Now

At pick up from school yesterday afternoon, one of the regular afternoon caregivers ("girl whose name I don't even know") brought her over to me from another room and put her coat on while I gathered up all her belongings. Even though I was right there, Caroline kept on smiling and gently touching girl whose name I don't even know. I smiled and said, "oh, Caroline loves you!" Her reply was "Oh, I love her to pieces!" She gave her a little squeeze before handing her over to me and saying "Have a great night, see you tomorrow!"

Last week when I picked her up one afternoon, she was busy cruising around a play table with another little girl. I stood just inside her classrom watching her for a few minutes before I called her name. I like to do that sometimes at pick up. Seeing her engrossed and so completely happy makes me feel great about her being in school those three days. When I did call her name it took her a moment to look up because she was so into her table game. She casually turned to look in my direction and when she realized it was me, dropped to her knees and crawled over to me. When I bent down and picked her up she smiled her little scrunchy nosed smile and looked at the caregivers in the room. It looked like she was sying to them, "Hey look, my mom's here, can you believe it!?!?!" It was so sweet.

This morning when I dropped her off at school, she went right to Sara who immediately handed her this little whale toy that she likes to chew on all day long. I unpacked her bag, stated that she may love lunch or hate it, and was on my way with a little kiss and a wave.

In the beginning I was so frantic at pick up or drop off. In the mornings I would rattle off a thousand things; she has green beans today, she may hate them so I also gave you applesauce oh and she hasn't pooped since yesterday and on and on and on. In the afternoons I would have to force myself NOT to run into the center to pick her up, seeking her out as soon as I walked in the door like some terminator style robot feeling as if as soon as I got her in my arms that I had saved her from further torture. Times have changed people.

These days I casually put her on the carpet in the mornings if the girls hands are busy and simultaneously ask how their weekend was while fishing out a box of little people to busy her with. In the afternoons I find that I am pausing to watch her interacting with the kids or playing quietly by herself, watching the little girl she has morphed into seemingly overnight. School it turns out is a very good thing, not torture at all. In fact on some days that I am home with her, I wonder if she might have had more fun if she had been at school. I suppose I need to work harder at finding fun things to do together, take more trips to the library play area a couple towns over, and get her out of the house more. If someone had told me in the beginning that I would have such affection for her school, her teachers, her classmates (even Hannah!), I would have laughed out loud before I burst into tearful sobs. School has become such a positive part of her life.

I looked at Baby Luke this morning, sitting in the swing, a solitary tear drying on his cheek from an earlier bout of sadness. I bent down and touched his foot and told him, "It's ok buddy, you are going to absolutely love it here soon, I promise." and I meant it.

What's Caroline Eating Today?

Chicken Nuggets
Grilled Cheese with Hearty Grain bread, American Cheese, and Pea puree (hence the love or hate!)
Pirate Booty


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