Lukie’s first days at Wanda’s

Lukie’s long-awaited first day at peuterspeelzaal (pre-school) was yesterday. We’ve all been very excited for this day to come, so it was with great anticipation that we biked over there for his first day.

Two redheads in a bike

He has, of course, been there many times before. Daily as a baby to drop off and pick up his big sister, and here and there during the last school year when Eloïse went back op visite. On recent visits it’s been hard to get him out of there at 2:00 when all the parents leave.

Ian and I both stayed for the whole first day to watch the proceedings. Eloïse got to play at two of her friends’ houses while we were there. He was a bit shy to start, but not terribly so. But after his second day he still hasn’t spent more than a few minutes in the large sandbox, which was his sister’s favorite place to hang out. I was sure that he was going to go straight for the water table that comes out once the parents leave, but while he has looked at it with great interest he has yet to spend more than a couple of minutes at it. One problem is that he’s been wearing sandals and he really doesn’t like to get sand in his shoes. There’s a rule that shoes have to stay on at school so we’ve got to remember to put him in closed shoes tomorrow to see if that remedies the problem.

Right when he was starting to talk, it was very very cold here and there was ice everywhere. We were frequently warning him about not slipping on it. Then we went to Egypt were I guess we were warning him about slipping on the sand (on dunes, for example). He took to calling sand “ice” from that point on. So now he says that he has ice in his shoes. Sometimes he gets it right, but more often than not sand is ice.

Instead of the sand and water table that Eloïse gravitated towards, Lucas has taken an interest in the cars, trucks and airplanes. Here’s a movie: Lukie plays with a truck. Lest you think he’s a real man’s man, note his dress-up clothing selection in subsequent photos. He’s taken a sudden strong interest in “blue-tiful” dresses and skirts. As I type now he lies asleep in bed with one of his sister’s outgrown pink skirts on. Boys will be boys.

I think the reading of the book was perhaps a highlight of the first day for Lucas and today he was quick to invite himself back up to the couch area where Wanda sits to read the book. On a normal day being chosen to sit next to Wanda for the book is a big honor that the children must be chosen for; I guess she’s just made an exception for him these last days since he’s just beginning. This particular book involves a lot of yelling of “STOP!” and “TOOT-TOOT!” and he parroted that every time Wanda read those lines.

Lukie, Isha and Sophia sit with Wanda as she reads the book of the day

At the end of the school day yesterday the bikes and scooters were out and Lukie tried a tricycle. To my great surprise, he was able to pedal it! It only took him a few minutes to get good enough to actually go around the room unassisted. Here’s a movie: Lukie’s first day on a tricycle. I remember that it was well into Eloïse’s time at peuterspeelzaal that she acquired this skill.

Today I left for an hour, ostensibly to buy popsicles as a treat for him being so brave to stay on his own. He wasn’t at all keen on the idea of me going and tried to come with me, but when he realized that he could wave bye-bye to me, something that he has been talking about frequently, he came around to the idea. I’m told that he never cried and had a great time while I was gone. When I got back, I came upon the group just getting ready to paint. He saw me after a couple of minutes and immediately burst into tears. Clearly the stress of being left on his own for the first time with people that he doesn’t know well took all that he had. He’s hardly been left at all with people that he does know well, after all.

After a good cry and few minutes of snuggles he was ready to join back in with the painting and the rest of the activities of the day.

Ethan, Amelie, Lukie and Boyd get artistic

Tomorrow Ian will take him to school, as I have an appointment. I suspect that Ian’s departure will be easier for him. We’ll see if I’m right. Hopefully he won’t melt into a big ball of wailing baby as soon as I pick him up. Even if he does, I feel very confident that within a few days he will be an old pro; he does, after all, have the best peuterjuf in the Netherlands!

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