Turning three means many mile stones for our little boy. Not the least of which is the fact that he transitions from Children's First, the therapists he's been using since birth, to the care of our school district.
I've spent months fretting over the fact that my little boy will be picked up at our doorstep by a giant school bus, whisked into the arms of strangers, and off into an unknown school with new, much older and larger classmates. It's been nerve wracking to me to allow my toddler to branch out into the big new world on his own. No longer will I be driving him to his therapies, signing him in, washing his hands, walking hand-in-hand to circle time, opening the door, and making sure he is settled before I scurry away to revel in my 2 hours and 15 minutes of relative silence twice a week. Now, I will be waving to him from my porch as they lift him into the bus (he is too short to climb the stairs himself) and close the big glass doors behind him. From the time he leaves my home until the time he returns into my arms, Jacob will be gone a whopping 4 hours and 15 minutes, four times per week. Thursday will be his last day with everyone he's known all his life, and on Monday, he will be thrust into four times more work/play time than before.
Honestly, I've spent months freaking out about this scenario. Finally, last Friday, I got the opportunity to go to Jacob's new school, meet his therapists and his teachers - at the Middle School. Crap. Really? The middle school?
As soon as we hit the parking lot and I unstrapped Jacob from his car seat, he was pulling at my arms, trying to make it to the sidewalk. His face lit up as if he knew where we were and he wanted to explore. The second his tiny little feat hit the asphalt, he was in a run, heading for the sidewalk, which he stepped onto before running again. I hustled to keep up with him, and herded he and his big sister through the entry way filled with glass doors. He giggled loudly to hear the echo of his voice in the brick walls and linoleum landscape, causing several faces to turn to the source of the noise and break out into impulsive smiles at his infectious grin. As we waited for our escort, Jake ran from chair to chair to pile of papers, to the window, then more papers, systematically exploring every square inch of this new space with interest.
Soon Shannon arrived with a grin on her face, only to be greeted with an excited grunt from Jacob. He managed to obediently hold my hand until we were half way down the hall before all the brightly colored doors, lockers, and artwork got the best of him. He yanked his hand from mine and ran as quickly as he could, giggling and yelling with excitement with his big sister hot on his trail.
After a few moments, we managed to wrangle both children into the correct room. When Jacob crossed the threshold into his new learning environment, he didn't even stop. Instead, he increased his cadence from excited to hyper as he darted from toy to toy before settling on the items he preferred the most.
After almost an hour long meeting with the staff, it dawned on me that Jacob had been relatively quiet in his play and discovery time of the classroom. Success!!
But it wasn't until it was time to leave and he was running away from me, tears streaming down his face because he didn't want to leave, that I realized that all those fears and concerns that had eaten away at me for the past several months were a waste of time. Jacob is going to be juuuuuust fine. The only thing that's going to upset him in this transition? Coming home to mamma. :)