After much fretting, we have decided on a preschool for Boy, who turned 3 a few weeks ago. We are very fortunate to have a terrific nanny, but Boy needs more interaction than he gets at home and Girl needs to be the center of attention a bit. There are kids in our neighborhood, of course, but they are largely Estonian speakers and that doesn't work so well for Nanny (or for the kids, at this point). As we prepare for this transition, I'm having a teensy bit of PTSD, flashing back to the knot in my stomach as I'd walk up the stairs to get Boy at daycare, wondering how many people he had maimed that day or how many toys he had thrown. I don't want to set him up for failure again, and I'm not sure I could take more instances of listening to how naughty and how unwelcome my little boy is. It was really awful.
To prepare Boy for preschool, we've started dropping the phrase "When you are at school..." into our conversations with him. His reaction has been swift, with declarations of, "I no go school. I bad." or "I don't like school. I stay home." The former is particularly hard to hear. It reminds me of just how much I can't screw this up for him: two bad experiences in a school setting will sour him to the entire idea, and that's a lot to undo.
This morning we took him to meet his teacher and play for an hour. The school is quite small, with about thirty kids divided amongst three classes. In the summer, one or two teachers watches a mixed-age group in the morning. It was slightly chaotic, in a mostly pleasant way--kids were playing, the teacher was interacting, etc etc. Boy loved it, begging to stay when we told him it was time to walk to the bus stop. The rest of his day went well, and he repeatedly mentioned that he liked school and wanted to go again. It was a great start.
At bedtime tonight, I optimistically, enthusiastically, and completely foolishly asked him if he was excited to start school on Monday. His answer? "I no go school. I stay home."