This morning we went to the preschool (P's old school, also where A is going this fall) for a summer playdate. Several families showed up, as well as most of the teachers. It was great to see so many people, to meet one of the children in Ambrose's class this fall, and to get to catch up a bit. It was also great to see Ambrose interact and enjoy the school a bit. But the best part? Watching P.
P, like just about any child who has had a lot of painful separations in his early years, is very worried about the permanency of separation. For your typical American child you would probably see some separation anxiety, but for a child who has lost so many people and places and things, a child who lost an entire existence (food, language, culture, family, etc), separation means a lot more. So understandably the end of preschool was a very big deal to him, and though I've tried very hard to help him understand that A) he can always go back for a visit, and B) he'll make new friends and be okay, it's been hard.
I told him about the preschool playdate a few days ago and ooooooh the anxiety! His emotions have been swinging all over the place this week.
And yet, this morning? He was calm. Very, very calm and placid. He still huffed about a bit when it was time to turn off the TV and get dressed, and he was certainly impulsive and worried, shoving random items in his mouth without thinking (a nervous habit). And he even told me at one point that he didn't want to go to the school if he couldn't actually *go* to school. He wanted to go inside with all his friends and read books and play and draw pictures.
But a walk around the block before we left seemed to cool him off a bit, and he obediently got in the car and buckled himself in. And ooooooh was he excited when we got there!
The swings! The firemans pole! The big yellow slide! And OMG a swimming pool and bubbles and beach balls and... yaaaay!
We were the first family there which worked out well for us. The kids got to get reacquainted with the space before they got to see people again. I had forgotten their swim clothes but the preschool director helped me out by finding some extra clothes for them so they could splash in the pool. They played with bubbles and water and friends, and while P had a few shy moments he mostly just played and laughed and splashed about.
Oh, and food. There was watermelon and pretzels and my boys probably ate half of it!
P's former teacher commented on how calm and grown up he was acting, and he really was. I swear for awhile there it was almost like he was glowing. He was just so... peaceful.
He was happy, truly happy. The fact that life goes on and people can come back into your life was being reaffirmed for him then, and man was he excited!
It made me flash back to last summer, when he was all out of sorts for weeks and then we went to a preschool play date and he saw his teacher. Just like that time, it was like a huge weight just lifted right off of him.
It's like, little by little, he's starting to believe that this is a happy world, that people can leave and come back, that maybe he can trust us when we say he can just relax and enjoy his childhood. And he is relaxing, considerably. No, not as much as your typical American child, but he's not the bundle of raw nerves he used to be.
So all in all this morning was great. Great friends and fun and just a wonderful feeling throughout. And they totally crashed in bed after all that outside play! Two hours and they're both still out! ... or actually there goes the baby now.... ok, guess I'm done here!
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