That's right. Grace starts "preschool" tomorrow morning. She is enrolled in a kindergarten that is 5 minutes from our house (after much research, our pick was also the closest to home!) and will be the youngest student in the school. Grace will spend three mornings a week in a class with six boys between 18 months and 2 1/2 years old. There are two teachers in the class and when we visited two times she seemed to like them and their classroom.
Our decision to enroll Grace so early comes from our desire for her to be exposed to more and to socialize more than our life in Nairobi has allowed so far. As her Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule is now she will get to do horse riding, music and movement, physical education and have library time in addition to regular play time outside and her classroom "theme" activities (this term the theme is "farm animals"). It is a Christian school so she'll also get some "Christian Education", where they talk about love and forgiveness and patience and respect through Bible stories and songs. We know many other expats - UN staff specifically - who send their children to this kindergarten and are very happy with it.
This has been a very difficult decision for me to come to terms with, even though I know that it is truly the right thing to do so that Grace is challenged and learns to play/share with other children. I can definitely feel that she has moments of boredom at home alone with me now and I hope this will help her develop even more (note: we are also having a small playground built in our teeny-tiny garden this week so that she can be outside more when we are at home). The educator in me knows this is the right thing for Grace, but the mama in me is sad that my baby is starting to leave the nest already! We also strongly believe that it will help Grace's adjustment to having a sibling if she has a bit of her own "schedule" and routine before Rocky's arrival. And, it will give me some scheduled time alone with Rocky which I am sure we will both appreciate when the time comes. But again, as I was packing Grace's bag for school last night, I was sobbing!
So her school bag is packed and hanging by the front door...
and this might be our little girl now, at the ripe old age of 19+ months...
(sporting new "special occasion" pajamas for the night before school!)
...but all is I can see when I look at her is this tiny little baby who I absolutely never want to let go.
There is no doubt in my mind that Grace will have a great day at "school" tomorrow, and I certainly hope for that. I, on the other hand, might need a stiff drink...scratch that, a pint of Ben and Jerry's, to wait out the three hours until I can pick her up again!
I promise to report on how we both do...
p.s. Happy happy birthday to my mom (yesterday) and Kristoffer's dad (today) and our niece Nikoline (also today)! Nikoline is the big 1-0 today - we hope you had a great time turning double digits!