Like, real PreK - five days a week, all day long.
Her first "school" experiences began at a young age - 12 weeks old - because I was working full-time. She attended what I referred to as "school", though we all knew it was daycare.
Right before she turned two, T and I made the decision for me to go part-time - I missed my girl too much! So she attended a toddler preschool five days a week for four hours, and we spent every afternoon just the two of us.
And then, when we moved to GA in January of 2014, a huge dream of mine came true - I was a full-time, stay-at-home mama. We spent all day, everyday together. That fall, she attended a two-year-old preschool program, two days a week for three hours. And then this past fall, she attended a program at the same church, three days a week for three hours.
But this - tomorrow - is so different. It's like actual school... an awesome program at the university where T works that really and truly prepares kids for kindergarten. And yes, we are choosing to have her attend this program, therefore choosing for her to be in PreK five days a week from 8:00-2:30... and we know it is the best thing for her. But it is so hard to imagine her being gone so much!
She is my girl.
Because CK turns five in just two months, she really is ready for this program, and I know she will absolutely love it and absolutely thrive. But again, she is my girl - and I really and truly am going to miss my little sidekick. <3
Because tomorrow starts such a big chapter in her life, we decided to have some much needed mama/daughter time. A whole twenty-four hours, to be exact. We shipped E off to spend the night with his aunt, uncle, cousins, and Meme in ATL for a night, T was out of town for work, and so it was just CK and me in girls-only-mode.
We had a dinner date at the restaurant of her choice - "The one with the salad bar, Mama!" - and did a little shopping before hitting the hay on Tuesday night.
Then Wednesday, we were up and running and ready to take on our girls' day. First, though, she had a playdate at a friend's house because I had to attend a grown-ups-only orientation at her new school. But as soon as it was over, I scooped her up and we headed home for pedicures and to finish a blanket we'd been working on.
You see, she has to have nap/rest time at her new school, which she's pretty nervous about. So we decided to make her a very special rest-time blanket that would help her feel safe and loved. She got to pick out the two pieces of fabric all on her own - Disney princesses and Paw Patrol, of course! Which is so, so perfectly her. And it warms my heart to think of her snuggled up with her blanket on her little nap cot in her new classroom. <3
We then headed to one of our favorite lunch spots - ChickFilA - and filled our bellies with chicken nuggets and fries before it was time to go meet her teacher.
She happily skipped and talked the whole way to her school, but as soon as we entered the classroom she squeezed my hand tightly and became incredibly shy. I could see the nerves in her tight-lipped smile, and see how overwhelmed she was in her big brown eyes. But she put on a brave face and spoke softly to her teachers, took several pictures, found her cubby, and explored her new playground. So all in all, I'd say it was a success! It makes my heart ache to think of her being uncomfortable and scared tomorrow when we leave her in that big new school, all alone... but I also know she will never learn how to have courage if she never has to be brave...
We finished up our girls' day with a trip to Belk so she could help this big ol' pregnant mama pick out some new makeup, and then to our most favorite spot - Target - to shop for school supplies.
I promise I'm not being all social-media-perfect here, but it really was just the best 24 hours. E requires a lot of attention these days (hello almost 2? hello incoming molars? hello who-knows-what?), and CK is just so understanding and patient and helpful... it was awesome being able to focus on just her, to have real conversations with her and laugh and be silly and soak up each others undivided attention.
I cannot believe she's almost five, cannot believe she starts real, big-girl PreK tomorrow... and still cannot believe she's mine. She is such an incredible little girl, a little girl who makes me so proud each and everyday... a little girl who is getting too big too fast, but still does so many things to remind me that she's still just that... my little girl.
Tomorrow you have a pretty big day... your last year of preschool, and your first year in a new, big girl PreK classroom! You're going to be gone pretty much all day, everyday, during the week... and my heart aches because I really am going to miss you so, so much. But. BUT. It is time for you to start flying on your own, my girl. It is time for you to see what the world has to offer outside of the walls of our house. I'm not sure who is going to miss you more - your little brother, or me - and I can guarantee that we will both be SO excited to pick you up each and everyday! But I know without a shadow of a doubt that you are going to rock PreK, you are going to learn so much, you are going to love every minute of school, and you are going to change everyone's life simply by being exactly who you are. <3
To the moon, my sweet CK...