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Eliza started preschool! She is attending two mornings a week at a school just a few blocks from our place. Picking a preschool really felt like one of the first real-life parenting decision I have had to make so far. It was stressful! It didn't help that the preschool scene in Berkeley (urban areas, in general) is totally crazy- competitive, expensive, helicopter-parent-y. I also had the option of joining a group of friends who were doing an at-home co-op preschool. But, I decided that Eliza and I both needed this, and so I quit putting pressure on the situation and just looked for the school that would be the best fit. Several of our friends' have sent their kids to this school, and raved about her teacher. And I loved the idea of being able to walk her to and from school, especially with a newborn.

Eliza has been talking about "going to school" for a year now. She was so ready. We tried to make the whole thing feel super special and exciting. She got to pick out a new outfit for the first day of school- a pink tutu dress, of course. She also worked hard to complete a sticker chart to earn a new unicorn "packpack." We gave it to her the night before school, and I'm not sure I have ever seen her so excited about something in her life. Her face lit up like a sparkler, it was the happiest moment.

The night before the first day of school, we laid her outfit out for the next day. We are doing this every night before school, so that our mornings can be a little less crazy, but also because it reminds me of when I was a kid. I loved laying out my outfits, especially for the first day of school. And going to bed feeling all giddy for the year to come. I can only imagine how excited Eliza was, because the next morning I woke up to see her standing in front of me fully-dressed with her backpack on her back... two hours early. She was pumped.

We took some pictures before we walked to school. Sam stayed home a little later so that he could come along. Eliza was so stoked, she walked ahead of us the entire time while we ran after her with our cameras. Pure first-time parent stuff right there. When we got to the class, the room was set up with the cutest stations. Eliza was hesitant at first, but then jumped right in to play. She found a table with some sparkly play-doh. She was excited to get a name tag sticker, and pointed out the bathrooms. (When we came for our school visit awhile back, she was out of her mind excited about the "tiny potties" and "little sink for two people, not for one.")

Several of the parents lingered around the door, as the kids started to get into play. We watched Eliza for awhile, until she said, "I think it's time for you to go now." And, then when we still didn't leave she whispered, "I want you to go home." (Ha!) She loves us, I know it.

After school, we walked to Chipotle and she chattered on about everything they did that day. She got to feed the fish, they sang a song and read a book. They played outside, ate a snack, and made a picture. She had the time of her life.

It's also a bilingual class, so her teacher(s) speak to her in English and Spanish. In fact, on the first day, they greeted her completely in Spanish! Like, a full one-sided conversation. I got a little nervous, thinking that she would be completely lost. But, she seems to be enjoying it. Kids are amazing that way. Some of the students speak English, some speak Spanish, some speak both, and one of Eliza's closest friends so far mostly speaks Mandarin. Her name is Jasmine. She and Eliza must bond over clothes, because Jasmine has had some fun and fancy outfits.

On the first day, Eliza said, "My teachers call me a different name." They were pronouncing her name en español, "E-lee-sa." We talked about how that was her name in Spanish, and she thought it was pretty. When her teachers started pronouncing it correctly, she was a little upset. So, we talked to her teacher after class about how she liked the Spanish pronunciation so they would continue to, and now I hear her singing her name all the time now, "E-lee-sa, E-lee-sa!"

Her teacher is so sweet. I love watching her open the classroom door, and give each and every child a hug as they come in the door. She gets down at their level and looks them in the eyes, one at a time. "Buenos dias, E-lee-sa!" Eliza loves to give gifts to people. She had been talking for weeks about wanting to give a flower to her teacher on the first day of school. So, we picked a flower from our yard, and also a pretty leaf that she liked. She has taken her teacher something almost every day so far- a few flowers, a red leaf, a picture she drew with her magic pencil. It makes me smile.

Preschool has been great so far. Eliza loves it. I love it. Sadie loves it. I walk Eliza to school, while wearing Sadie in the Ergo so by the time I get home she's completely out. As if by by pure preschool magic, I can then lay Sadie down in the rocker and she will stay asleep for a couple of hours. I have been working out, showering, and still manage to have time to spare. The house is sunny and quiet, and so peaceful. If the baby is still asleep after my workout, I have been using that time for myself. It's my "bettering" time. I've decided that I am only allowed to do things during that time that betters my mind and soul. Mostly, I have been writing (hence the dump of blog posts lately), or reading. I have started a search for interesting podcasts and documentaries. And, I feel so good. It's really not that long, technically. Three hours from to door to door, is not a lot. But, it is me time! So, by the time I go pick up Eliza, we are both excited to see each other. We are both refreshed and chatty, and ready for the rest of the day together.

Preschool for the win!

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