It’s Igge’s first day of preschool. I’ve worked as a preschool teacher on and off for 17 years so you’d think I’d be prepared. I know the routine; it’s practically the same all over Sweden. Igge’s bag is packed. In there, there’s a water bottle with a built-in-straw, there are two spare outfits, water proof clothes, a million extra socks, hats, gloves and a suit to sleep in (the kids sleep outside at this preschool) and of course a set of super warm outdoor clothes since winter is still hanging around. Everything is marked with his name. The pram is packed with diapers and contact info and a “safe toy” and a blanket that smells like home. All is prepared. All except me. The anxious part of me has already fantasised about this; Igge begins preschool, gets new friends, starts school, gets cool friends, starts to get embarrassed over his dorky parents, starts college, meets a girl, gets his driver license, begins university as far away as possible and then he’s gone.
Alright, I’ll take one step at a time.
I’ve been sleepless for two nights, worrying about Igge starting preschool. Believe me, if I had the choice to wait for another year I would, but we need to save parent leave days for the summer, since the preschool isn’t open then. So now it is what it is and I will learn to like it. I’m not worried about the first three days at the new school; I’m going to be there with him all day. It’s when I have to leave him that worries me, but I’ll handle those emotions then.
So, today’s the big day. The first day of preschool. The first day of being in the rat race for the next forever of his life. Poor guy, he has no idea. Vegan-Dad is also joining today which is nice for me; it won’t be quite as boring to watch half a dozen one-year-olds walk around the room aimlessly, laughing or crying spontaneously without any visible reason. We set the clock for 6.30 am and started the new era nicely and calmly with serving Igge a bowl of porridge which he grabbed with his hands and smeared all over his face and hair. I was trying to clean that up at the same time as I was trying to make sure he got something in his belly but apparently it was more fun to use breakfast as a face mask. After having to shower him, which wasn’t a part of the new morning routine, Vegan-Dad and I both had to chase him around the apartment trying to put clothes on him. He’s recently discovered the enjoyable feeling of flying around in his birth suit and has become a persistent opponent of clothes.
Oh shoot! We haven’t showered, had breakfast or put on our own clothes yet and the bus leaves in 15 minutes! No need to go in to what we looked, smelled and felt like when we got to bus stop. At least the first born child-prince was fed, clean and dressed in his best designer outfit.
We arrived to the preschool, about 45 minutes earlier than we had to, it showed out. We started by arranging his spot and putting everything important into place. Vegan-Dad and I both have worked in preschools for a long time and we are equally annoyed with parents who don’t keep their children’s boxes and spots neat. How hard can it be? In there it should be a water bottle, indoor shoes, maybe a teddy and two sets of extra clothes, nothing else. They shall be neatly folded so they’re easy to find for the staff and placed in order of use. Simple.
After OCD-ordering Igge’s things in his box we entered the playroom, where there were four teachers and one other child. Igge went berserk. All those toys and no competition – what else can a 14 month old ask for?! He was so busy jumping in “The Puddle” (a soft, blue wrestling ring where they hold circle time), and collecting all the biggest balls he could find, that he didn’t notice that the rest of the class was arriving. Once he noticed that the room had filled with other children I thought he would be curious about them but no. All he wanted to do was to jump around in the puddle holding his balls. Yes, I know how it sounds. Yes, it was just as funny as it sounds. It made his hair electric as well and when the sun shone in on him he looked like a seriously deranged scientist with crazy hair, holding two enormous cloth balls, soaked in sweat from throwing himself around the wrestling scene and laughing a weird, horse-like laugh. No other child came close. They did observe him from a safe distance, but no one “shared their toys” with him, so to say. I don’t blame them. At least Igge had a blast. He laughed his way through the first day of preschool. Didn’t make any friends but didn’t care either, so I guess it’s all good.
Tomorrow we’ll be back and we’ll see if it goes just as well as it did today. Maybe there’s one brave child who wants to make contact with my insane wrestler of a baby.