The muppets are advanced individuals â€“ they already have one degree, having graduated the NICU at age negative 3 weeks actual age. Besides, not only are they just about 15 months actual age (they turned one over Memorial Day weekend), Thursday is their 1 year adjusted age. (And given our familial background, education is in our blood. Itâ€™s never too early to start; itâ€™s never too late to finish â€“ GrammaJ is now in her sixth decade of consecutive school years.)
I am aware that some may view this as nothing more than a fancy daycare. But there is an official curriculum and they are attending an education institution prior to their standard school years: pre-school.
Plus, acceptance into the toddler program negates the need to be potty-trained prior to proper preschool. A major plus!
Jon and I attended orientation last week, mostly to fill out approximately 8,752 pieces of paperwork, but also to hear the dog and pony show touting the schoolâ€™s mission. We also got to meet their teachers and visit the classroom, like a real honest-to-goodness back-to-school night. (The muppets, and their fellow Class of 2028 classmates, are part of the Toddler Class; their school is currently K-6.)
Last night, after the muppets went to bed, I went label crazy. Everything in our house now bears â€œStreamâ€ â€“ from shoes to bibs to caseloads of ziplock bags (which will henceforth carry carrots and bananas for lunch and breakfast). This morning, we got the muppets ready â€“ complete with embroidered lunch boxes â€“ and off we went with a backpack replete with six extra â€œemergencyâ€ outfits and a case of diapers.
At orientation the staff requested parents not stay long during the first week of drop-off. They shared that although children may exhibit strong separation anxiety, once their parents are gone they will begin to bond with their new friends and teachers.
Jon and I dropped off the muppets at 7:30 this morning. Search immediately sat himself down, firmly placed his thumb in his mouth. He looked around and discovered a bucket full of bouncy balls, which grabbed his attention. â€œTOYS! SO MANY TOYS!â€ Destroy eyed his brother with fascinated interest.
Neither muppet gave us a secondary cursory glance as we departed. â€œPeace out, yo. Iâ€™ll be here with all these cool new toys.â€
As we walked back to our cars so I could head to work, Jon smirked. â€œSo how long until you call to ask how theyâ€™re doing?â€
By 4 p.m., I was thrilled that no one had called to let me know that our double-troublemakers had caused enough mischief to get themselves expelled.
At the end of the day, the Toddler teachers shared that our boys had done really well. They let Jon know that they would bring the boys to him, but he decided to â€œbootie upâ€ and talk to the teachers. He turned to Searchâ€™s page in the attendance binder and signed him out, then flipped to do the same for Destroy.
Attached to Destroyâ€™s name was an â€œIncident Report.â€ Day 1 and we have our first Incident Report.
According to his teachers, Destroy is, wellâ€¦a bit rambunctious. The brothers have very different personalities, with Destroy being the more adventurous (and louder) of the two. Destroy spent the day barreling around the room attempting to climb everything in his path. At one point he toppled off a little blue chair, which in turn flipped over onto Destroy â€“ cutting him above the eye.
What is this? The preschool mafia initiating the young â€“ sporting a shiner from day one to make his bones?
Destroy apparently also showed interest in the plastic Little Tykes Cooking Kitchen playstation. Rumor has it, it fell over on him no less than three times as he valiantly scaled the heights of its cupboards.
True to form, lunchtime was a favorite activity for Destroy. Todayâ€™s report stated that Destroy â€œenthusiastically enjoyed his meal.â€ Unfortunately, after devouring the (not insignificant amount) food we packed in his shiny new lunch box, he moved right along â€“ trying to enthusiastically munch on his neighbors snack. (It remains unknown whether said neighbor was a brotherly type with a lack of inhibition to bite any encroaching lunch poachers.)
Naptime occurs on mats. Since we first received the daily Toddler Room schedule, I have been obsessively curious about how they are able to convince 12 toddlers to sleep on mats. This past weekend we visited family down in Southern California and naptime consistently ended as Destroyâ€™s little head popped up from behind his Pack-n-Play. â€œREADY TO PLAY! LETâ€™S GO DO STUFF!â€ Mats generally do not come equipped with restrictive boundaries.
Somehow magic envelopes the Toddler Room and on mats they rest. (That or the staff is professionally trained to exhaust small children.) The muppets slept for two of the three designated nap hours. Upon awakening, both were instructed to remain on the mat â€“ presumably to rest for the remainder of naptime.
(Tangent: Whoâ€™s with me in proposing that corporate America needs to seriously consider naptime. I promise to stay on my mat!)
Search sat back down, began sucking his thumb, and simply stared â€“ searching out these new surroundings. Destroy made a break for it, repeatedly. A battle of wills ensued as one of his teachers plucked my little destroyer up and put him back on his mat. Rinse and repeat.
When Dad arrived for end-of-day pickup, Search broke in to a broad grin â€“ toddling (impressively steadily) toward his father with arms outstretched. Destroy looked up, acknowledged Jonâ€™s presence and resumed playing.
Tomorrow is Day 2 of preschool. The muppets will learn social skills: sharing is caring, walking, talking, and arts and crafts. But best of all, the sandman claimed both boys to slumber and dream in under 30 seconds.
Thereâ€™s plenty more to explore tomorrow! (Weâ€™ll be sure to pack band-aids.)