What in the world will I do with the three hours?

            My baby starts preschool today.  He is ready, this much I know.  He may only be two, but he talks like a three-year-old (in this family – go figure).  He is socially confident, unconcerned with bidding me adieu as long as there are toys and peers to be had.  He will go to and hug pretty much any adult, a concern for security but not for separation.

            Yet, he is still my baby.  I can warn them time and again that he has very high caloric needs, but I don’t think they believe me when I tell them he probably needs to eat more than they do.  My only concern when choosing a lunch box was to find one large enough.  Will they remember when he is running out of control and pushing other kids that he probably needs to eat?  Will he remember to tell them?

            Will they notice when he has a poopy diaper?  Will they take him to pee in the bathroom?  I trust the school, but in a class where he is the only one beginning to potty train, will they let it fall by the wayside?

            Will he push the other kids?  Having a first child who is small and vulnerable to bullies, it horrifies me to imagine my second child will become one.  Will they be strict enough?  Or will he be too busy having fun and not need to create entertainment through violence?

            This is the first in a lifetime of nest-leavings.  I know this.  I know that he will be OK and will have fun and hell, it’s only for three hours.  But, this is the first.  For the rest of his life, he will be leaving me.  I have to trust him to find his way and trust the world to let him find it.  And I have a hard time trusting either.

            Perhaps I should have felt this coming from the day he refused to breastfeed, long before I was ready.  But, we never feel it coming.  And sometimes it feels like we have babies just to give them the power to break our hearts.

            I just hope he leaves enough food at snack time for the rest of the kids.

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On a totally unrelated topic: Our former babysitter recently got married.  She is Colombian, living in Bogota.  We are flummoxed as we try to choose a gift.  We would send a check, but is that appropriate in that culture?  Does anyone know?  Plus, will it be hard for her to cash it?  Any other suggestions as to a nice gift for a woman whom our boys just adored?  

19 responses to “What in the world will I do with the three hours?

  1. My youngest just started preschool last week. He is three, but he has been my baby. He also, grew up too fast for me to keep him a baby. Verbally, socially, physically he has worked hard to catch up to his siblings, leaving me little time to enjoy the baby he was. I hope yours has a great day!

  2. I have come to believe we have babies to overflow our hearts and to break them at the same time.

  3. I totally agree with you that babies break our hearts, but their independence and capabilities come from our love and nurturing of them. I would like to keep my little baby a baby forever but then I’d never get to watch her grow and learn and become her own person. But, yes, it is hard to let go!

  4. And I’m on the far end of this one as my oldest had its first day of… gulp… college. Which we both enjoyed except for our mutual feeling of extreme age and maturity (justified for me on the first, less so on the second I’m afraid). Watching those first tentative (or eager) steps had mixed emotions. Watching them fly now? Fantastic.

  5. It IS sad until you realize he’s safe and having fun there. Then those 3 hours will go by way too fast for you to cram in all the things you want to do with that wonderful ME time that all mom’s need and deserve!

  6. I hope he has a wonderful day, and even more that he doesn’t crash and burn for you at home. Enzo starts tomorrow, and just as I was showing him where he’ll be going in, a boy was being dragged in the door, screaming. Whoops.

  7. Aw, it’s so hard letting them go. He’s going to do well, as you know, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch them grow up and away.

  8. “sometimes it feels like we have babies just to give them the power to break our hearts.”

    yup. as a friend once siad to me… ahving a baby is like foprever deciding to keep your heart outside of your own body

  9. You know, I think I ate about 1000 more calories a day at age 2 and 3 than I do now. And trust me, I’m not depriving myself now. 🙂 Good luck with the transition!

  10. Isn’t it amazing ALL the things we can worry about when our kids start school? At my son’s kindergarten, they had a little “welcome tea” for the parents and kids before school started, which included telling parents and kids where to drop off the kids for school–because they didn’t want parents anywhere near the classroom the first couple of weeks. I guess we aren’t unique in our concerns.

    Re: gift for babysitter. I have no idea culturally what is acceptable. I know it is fairly easy to Western Union money down and then the exchange happens automatically. That still might be weird, though. Good luck figuring it out!

  11. We haven’t done what Ben is doing yet. But I can see it on the horizon.

    Yesterday my child sat with the “big kids” and ate his meal by himself. This morning he put on his own shoes (unprompted – he just decided I wasn’t moving fast enough). He played at the park and did not need me at all, really. He’s learned to negotiate steps and slides by himself. I think I forgot, while the newborn was busy growing into a baby, that my baby was growing into a boy. It keeps surprising me.

  12. Nice picture frame? I always go with that when in doubt. I mean, everyone needs them right?

    Somehow I bet he’ll be fine and you will too.

  13. What a huge step! And 3 hours to yourself! Wow!

    My sister studied abroad in Colombia… I will ask her about the gift question and get back to you.

  14. 3 hours. You’ll get over the sad part of it. You’ll get used to the routine of it. The next phase will be better than the last, but you’ll hold the last one in your head forever as a special time when he was home.

    The 3 hours, however, will disappear into thin air, and you’ll never believe they were “yours” at all.

  15. Emily, I emailed my sister and unfortunately she had no insight as to a good wedding gift. She did say, however, that she’d guess money would be a welcome gift in any culture, especially one with a depressed economy. Good luck.

  16. Ah, your heart is walking around outside your body, I see. Mine too. I’m a crap gift giver, so even if i had an idea for you you should ignore it.

  17. I felt exactly the same when my son set off bravely for his new school, aged 13. I wish I could say the leavetakings get easier, but they don’t really. I try to think about how essential it is for him to separate from me with joy and confidence, but those first few free hours do drag a bit, all the same. Sending hugs.

    Do you have photos of your sons with the babysitter that would make up into a nice little album for her? You could send it along with a cheque and have all your bases covered, if you see what I mean.

  18. Oh the heartache. A friend of the family once told my mom that life is just one big goodbye. It certainly does feel that way at times.
    *sniff, sniff*

  19. Re: a gift for your former babysitter – I wouldn’t suggest a check – they can be difficult to cash in another country. But perhaps a money order or wired money. I agree that pictures of the boys would be absolutly appropriate. Maybe a letter from you and your husband about how much she meant to your family, with pictures/art from the boys. Or maybe something local to your area – a unique piece of art, a wall hanging, beautiful quilt, something like that. Since she knows your family so well – personal items like that will mean a lot I’m sure. Good luck!