Nikolai started his first day at preschool today. He loved it. I loved it. We all loved it. And I knew he would. Nikolai LOVES playing with other children. His social side NEVER wears out. And I am perfectly happy staying home and entertaining myself. Goodness, I am simply the Queen of projects.
So no tearful goodbyes (or even bothering to say good bye as Nikolai ran into the class room and made a beeline for the toy train set that he had seen when he first did his tour in March).
But I do have a bit of a quiver of doubt in my core. In Ireland, preschool is free for one year. And this is a Montessori-based educational preschool. Part of me wonders at putting my innocent one into something so mould making.
Nikolai happily rides a pink bike. He loves his toy kitchen, his baby dolls. He spent most of this week wearing one of Layla's pink hair clips around. He eats EVERYTHING I feed him, and was excited that his first day lunch was humus with carrot and pepper sticks and tapioca cheese buns. He doesn't know what a gun is, is barely interested in cars (we groomed him into a train and bike fascination). He could tell you the name of a few Superheros from his friends at the playground, but he wouldn't actually be able to tell you what a Superhero is.
Ah, la innocent. He's never heard of McDonald's, Disney, or video games. He shares everything to a fault. And at this moment he is mine.
But at preschool the kid next to him might bug him because the colour pink is among his favorite colours, or say that red peppers (Nikolai's favorite) are disgusting. He will probably learn about fighting, and the fact that cars are cool (though he tends to get sick every time he rides in one, so that might be a hard push).
By the end of this year, Nikolai will know the alphabet, the days of the week, how to write his name... but he will also have learned about gender stereotyping, peer pressure and the difference between being included in a group and being excluded by a group. And all I can do is hope that I've taught him enough to know that he is lovable for his skills, his opinions, and his flaws, no matter what anyone else has to say about it.
The picture above is Nikolai setting out for school. Below is after school (3 hour days only) eating beans from our allotment.
TAPIOCA CHEESE BUNS (Pan de Yucca)
Mix together 1/2 cup of tapioca flour (tapioca starch), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 cup of grated cheese. Then mix in 1 egg to form a dough. Split into 4 balls and bake at 180 C (350F) for 15-20 min until nicely toasted. Eat warm... or at least within the day as it goes stale rather quickly.