Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Preschool Program and Graduation

Today was Markos' last day of preschool. Wow, how this year has flown by.  Seems like it wasn't that long ago that we were just beginning to weigh the pros and cons of sending him to preschool & daycare for the socialization he was craving vs. how it would impact our attachment as a family.

We definitely made the right decision to send him.  He loved going to school and playing with the other kids.  He has learned a lot and is definitely much better prepared in many ways to start kindergarten next year.  And, I really needed a little time apart from Markos' continuous motion and questions for my sanity (and to complete my Grad school work).  When I was able to have time for myself, the time that he and I spent together was so much nicer.

We were very blessed with a preschool and teachers who were extremely patient and caring and willing to work with us/Markos with regards to whatever he needed during this transition time.  Mrs. L celebrated with us and shared with us when she noticed changes and growth in his behavior.  For instance, when he first started preschool, he was still very set in that orphanage mentality of "everyone must get EXACTLY the SAME thing".   A few weeks ago, she excitedly told me that she almost started to cry during snack time about how far Markos has come because she looked around and noticed that all the kids were eating a bag of chips from one of those variety packs and they all had different chips but Markos hadn't complained or whined about it and was happily sitting and eating his chips while others ate their cheetos or doritos.

 I can only imagine the patience that it took to work with a room full of preschoolers while answering Markos' continual questions about EVERYTHING, attempting to get him to sit and pay attention, AND using paint and clay and all that other messy stuff that I hate to use at home. 

I did have a little bone to pick with her but forgot to mention it today, so Mrs. L if you're reading this, I'll have you know that the other day, Markos was yelling and screaming (for no real reason, just playing and being loud) and I told him to stop yelling and he said, "Well, Mrs. L. said I could!".  I said, "she did not."  And he continued to insist, "Yes ,she did!!  She did, Mom!  Mrs. L said, 'well, you can yell at home but not here'".  Thanks a lot!  ;-)

As for the end of the year festivities, the classes did a Spring Program last night with lots of songs sung, hand-motions, and a slide show.  It's strange how easy it is to think about how far you've come but forget that these hurts run deep and they will take a long time to heal.  As cute as all the kids looked (and Markos did look mighty sharp!), I ended up sitting and fighting back tears the entire program.  He was so excited for this night.  He knew these songs and sings them all the time at home.  Then, he walked up front with these new friends of his and he got that same scared look on his face that I remembered from his farewell ceremony.  He mostly stood the entire program, looking dead-pan out at the audience with his hands in his pockets, barely moving his lips and all I could remember when I saw this:

and this...

Was this...

The same lack of participation and just standing there, afraid, and mostly frozen in place after the nannies insisted that he get up with his friends at his farewell ceremony and sing some songs for the 'parents' who were there (just us!).  He didn't want to go up with them.  He just wanted to stay on my lap next to Eric and watch, but they pushed and made him stand there.  It was all I could do then to fight back the tears, too.  I remember desperately wanting to run up there and snatch him up and bring him back to my seat so he could just relax and watch with us.  After all, how many farewell ceremonies had he already had to participate in as he watched his friends, one by one, leave the orphanage while he waited.  Waited for his family to come.

Praise God.  Last night was different.  He didn't have to get on an airplane later that night to go to a new home where he knew no one, everything was different, and he didn't speak the language.  Nor did he have to see one of his friends head off for a different country.   Last night, after the singing was over, he got to drink punch and eat cookies with his friends.  Then he got to pick the restaurant where his family -- his FOREVER family -- would eat.  (Some of us were not thrilled with the choice of Chick-fil-A, but no one complained!).  Then after we ate dinner, we stopped for ice cream, as a family, because it was a celebration.

Our baby boy finished preschool!  He has grown so much - mentally, physically, and intellectually!  Kindergarten (and riding the school bus), ready or not, here he comes!!