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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The night before.


Tomorrow a whole new chapter in your life begins. Somehow the sweet, tiny little baby we brought home who turned into a shy, quiet toddler has become a confident, smart, kind and funny big kid who can't wait to start kindergarden.

Every time someone has asked you if you're excited you've answered, "A little bit. And a little bit not." There's still some of the cautious girl there. But you have also told me that on the first day you're just going to look around, find someone nice and they will be your first friend. And that's the new confidence that you've found. I hope you'll be able to hang on to both.

I hope that you will have fun, and explore and make friends. I hope that you will ask lots of questions and soak up as much as you can. I hope you will listen to your teacher and be polite. I hope that you will always be as sweet and loving and generous as you are now - that getting bigger and being out in the world doesn't change that. I hope that if you see someone who needs a hug, you will offer it to them. And I hope you will always know how much we love you, and how much our time together has meant to me.

Because I am so thankful for the privilege of spending the past five and a half years with you. For getting to have dance parties and dress up days and afternoons at the pool. For all the morning snuggles and mid-morning snacks and the millions of stories we've read. For getting to watch you become Rory's best friend and hero.

I will miss having all of that every day. I will miss our quiet afternoons while Rory sleeps. I will miss the constant barrage of your chatter, your questions, your artwork and your love notes. It's hard for me to let you take this next step into the big, wide world all by yourself. But I know you're ready. I know that this is going to be a wonderful, exciting, amazing year for you.

When I tucked you into bed tonight, I told you to remember these three things...

School should be fun. Always look for the fun, even if you can't see it at first.

Sometimes things are tricky, and they might take awhile to learn. But if you keep trying, and you work hard, you can do anything. (Just like how you taught yourself to swim this summer.)

You will make lots of friends. But always remember to be kind to everyone, not just the people you are already friends with. That's the best, most important thing you can do.

Lily Sophia, my big girl, you are sweet and smart and funny and amazing. Everyone is going to love you. And at the end of every day, Mommy and Daddy and Rory will be waiting for you. And we will be proud of you, always. Good luck, little one.

Love always,

Meet the Teacher.

The day before her "real" first day was Meet-the-Teacher-day. We got to see her classroom.
Find her seat. (And meet a new friend - Natalie, who is seated next to her!)
We found her cubby.
And Lily showed off some of her favorite things in her new classroom... Like the housekeeping playset.

And the book corner.
And we gave her new teacher this - one last gift from MUMPS.
(Please note that her favorite toy is "books", her favorite game is "pretend", her favorite books are "Magic Tree House" and her favorite thing to do is "cuddle". Oh, and if there's one thing she wants her teacher to know, it's that she likes to sing songs!)

Marbles, and the end of summer.

On the last day of summer vacation, I told Lily she could pick what we did, and (Shocker!) she wanted to go to Marbles. So we did. Marbles all morning, lunch outside and a walk to get ice cream. It was pretty much the perfect day with my girls.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

(Not) her first day.

Kindergarden has a staggered entry, which means that in the week leading up to the first day of school, small groups of kids go in for a shortened day to sort of practice. Lily's first day was a full week before she actually started, and until the night before, I was able to convince myself that it wasn't really her first day. But that night we laid out her clothes, and packed her supplies into her backpack, and got her lunch ready. And I realized that she was totally going to her first day of kindergarden.

And Lily? She was so excited!(Rory was excited too, in the window!)
Little girl with a big backpack!

Hi Rory!
Hey! Rory!
So happy.
So excited!

Rory had to get her backpack too.

Lily and Daddy.
Lily & Mommy.

All ready to go.
Walking in to school.
Her first big kid school.Lily was very excited to see that there were buses at her school. And then wanted to know when she would get to ride the bus. (Not for awhile, Sweetpea.)
We were a few minutes early, so we stopped to play on the playground for a couple of minutes.

And then it was time to head in.
Waiting to check in.
This was Lily's one moment of nervousness. I thought I had to leave her at the end of the hall, and she caught me wiping away a tear and got worried.
But I was wrong, and we were able to walk her in. To her KINDERGARDEN. CLASSROOM.

Lily walked right in like she owned the place and said hi to her teacher. As she hung up her backpack, her teacher asked her about the tag on it and Lily launched in to "That's just on there because a couple of weeks ago we went to Amsterdam." Awesome. And then she sat right down and started coloring.
I kissed her goodbye, and that was that.
On my way out, after I had turned away, I totally started to cry. Lily's teacher, who I already love, smiled at me and mouthed, "It's okay. She'll be fine. Call me if you need to." And she gave me this.
I was very grateful for the smile and the kind words. It made leaving so much easier. Well that, and Lily's complete confidence and calmness. She's amazing.

When I got the playground that afternoon to pick her up, Lily came running to me with a big smile and an even bigger hug. Her teacher told me that she had a great first day, that she was a good listener and very polite, and that she was so glad to have her!

On the way home, I learned that Lily had made several friends, but she didn't know any of their names. Also that they pretended to be cats. And that there were lots of the same books in her classroom that we have at home, but some of them are on the shelf that only the teachers can touch, so she didn't get to read them. She was also very excited to report that "I got to eat in the cafeteria, even though I brought my lunchbox! And I'm going to bring my lunch every single day, if that's alright with you."

When we got home, I found this in her backpack. A self portrait with her full name. When I asked her how she knew to write her last name (with lowercase b's), she said "I just used my nametag as directions!"
Then there was this picture, which she immediately told me she still needed to finish.
And there were all these shapes, which is what she had been working on when we left her.
Waiting for us at home was this bouquet from Auntie.

With this note. (I love you, E!) Lily and her lilies.By the time we got home, Lily was pretty much all talked out, but she did call Daddy and leave him this voicemail:

"I had lots of fun at kindergarden. And, um, I really liked my teacher. And I'm really looking forward to next time. Bye!"

Seems like a pretty good first day. Lily seemed to think so too. The next morning, the first thing she said to me was "I got my lunchbox out for you!" She was totally disappointed to realize that she had a whole week to wait until her "real" first day.