from colic to frolic: the first days of preschool

Dear Eddie,

You started school this week.

This seems a mundane fact to most of the world; children all over started school during the past month. But to me and your dad this is a HUGE milestone.

We’ve been talking about it for a long time, you and me. You have been so excited to start school! To learn! To be a big kid! You have told me repeatedly, “me and Brookie and Evan get to go to school because we are four. Not anyone else. Just us.”  Clearly, going to school separates the three of you from the “babies” who will stay behind at daycare.

I was Ok with it all…excited even…until meet the teacher night. We signed in at the office, found your room, and looked around. We sort of met your teacher. She talked to you, and you hid behind my leg.

Then we found your locker.

Starting PreschoolMy heart skipped a beat.

My baby was going to school.

Four days later, it was time for your first day. Sunday night I carefully followed the directions your teacher outlined in the papers that were sent home: I put a change of clothes in a large ziplock all with your name on them; I labeled your backpack; and I set out your first day clothes.

Then I put you to bed. We talked and giggled and guessed what school would be like until we both fell asleep in your bed.

In the morning, as I was getting ready, you showed up in the doorway of the bathroom.  All ready to go, with a big smile on your face.

“It’s your FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!” I exclaimed as I swooped down to hug you.  A lump caught in my throat knowing I would not be one of the moms there at drop off giving your little hand one last squeeze.

But your daddy was there.

His work is just a block from your school, so he walked over on his lunch hour to meet your carpool for the first day. He knew it was important for you to have one of us there for such a big occasion–the start of your formal education.

first day of preschool

In case you haven’t noticed, your dad’s range of emotions aren’t always visible in his reactions to things, but this milestone has been a big deal even to him. After drop-off, he emailed me to let me know how proud of you he is.

He told me you were so brave at drop-off. No tears, only smiles. Before he left, he whispered in your ear to be kind to the other students and to listen to your teacher…and that he is so very proud of you. Because he is, you know.

Both of us brought up the fact that it simultaneously feels like just yesterday and a life-time ago that you were our tiny colicky mess of an infant.  Just yesterday that Daddy would plop you in the Bjorn and walk up and down and up and down the dead end with you to try to help calm you.

off to school with his best friend, Brooke.

off to school with his best friend, Brooke.

And now seemingly out of nowhere, you are a regular little guy. You are a person who can tell us why you are sad or happy or angry.

You can call us mean or tell us you love us.

You can make friends.

You can make crafts.

You can make choices–good and not-so-good.

When I asked you what you did on your first day you reported, “I played on the playground and I listened to my teacher.”

When I asked you what you listened to her say you told me, “I don’t know mom. That was a long time ago.”

And so it begins.

first day of preschool

You are in school.

As a teacher this makes me proud, but as your mommy this makes my heart fly with joy.

Today I looked at the seniors in my classroom and imagined them all as four-year olds starting out in preschool and I actually teared up a bit.

It happens so fast.

You were just a baby.

And now you are a kid.

I love you, Eddie.  No matter where you go from here, it will be wonderful.

Love, Mommy

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. What a gorgeous, big grown up kid!! The start of a new adventure is always an emotional time, more so I think for the parents. Loved reading this post 🙂

  2. Oh Kate, this is beautiful and honest and true. Our babies are not sniff babies anymore. Their legs are longer, their vocabulary is bigger, their hugs are tighter and watching them grow up is such a bittersweet thing. I literally cannot get over how much life has changed from watching them side by side in NICU incubators and then side by side in Kindergarten chairs.

    I’ve said it before, I’m just glad that I have other moms like you to share these moments with, I feel like I have someone to hold my hand if I need it.

    loved this letter, have a fantastic year Eddie!!

  3. It does seem to happen that fast, doesn’t it? My youngest starts preschool this coming week and I can hardly believe it. So glad Eddie enjoys it! 🙂

  4. He’s all growed up.
    It’s tough this school thing. We hand over our babes to someone we don’t really know and hope to shit that they teach them something constructive.
    I’m so happy that he didn’t raise a stink like mine did or you’d be in blubbering mess trouble like I was.
    He looks so handsome and very confident. Just like his momma…only you’re hot…not handsome…unless you’re into stuff like that.

  5. I adore your letters. And ohmigawd LOCKERS. And yes, the “it was a long time ago” epidemic has hit our home, too. Happy first day!

  6. The transition from baby to kid was a hard one for me. Simultaneous joy, pride, fear, and sadness, all rolled into one. What a great letter, and his cuteness is overwhelming. 🙂

  7. This is So, so, SO SO sweet!! He is adorable and I love that photo of him and his bestie! I hope he has a wonderful year.

  8. (((()))) I teach 4 year olds and Wednesday/Thursday were their first half-days and Monday we start out all-day. Eeek. It is so amazing how fast 4 years goes from infant to small human who has unique interests and wants/needs. A tip to get some info out of him.. find out the parts of the day (circle time, art time etc.. ) and ask What he made at art? What songs did you sing? Did you talk about colors? etc..

  9. when you are holding that rocking screaming babies & waking every 2 hours for feedings it seems like it will never end & suddenly they are preschoolers. Lovely letter.

  10. He’s so big already. I still remember when I first ‘met’ Eddie – he was an adorable nearly 2-year old toddler with a huge tangle of blond curls. And now here he is, big preschool kid. Have fun at school!