Thursday, July 18, 2013

First ECFE Class (Read: My Baby's Growing Up Too Fast)

Feven and I attended our first Early Childhood and Family Education class together today.  This was not my first experience with ECFE: as a child, my mom took me to ECFE and in high school I worked as a teacher's assistant for our district's ECFE classes.  Even a few years ago Zac and I were required by our adoption agency to attend a class to learn how to care for an infant (no, of course that was not awkward being the only ones in the room without a child and instead bringing our stuffed hippopotamus with us to do all the songs and actions).  Today, though, was my first time being at an ECFE class as a parent - with an actual child - and that was a whole different experience!

Upon entering the building, we saw our dear friends in the hallway and Feven went right over to say hi.  (What, you don't need me every second honey?  Are you sure?)  To help Feven get used to a new space I held her in my arms when we entered the classroom.  She promptly wiggled down to go and play with just about every single toy.  (New space, honey!  Don't you want to cling to my leg?  Aren't you nervous?)  I got to play side-by-side with her for about 20 minutes before it was time to clean up the room for snack.  We washed our hands by the adorable short sinks and then my little girl chose her own seat at a table where nobody was sitting yet.  (Who is going to sit by her?  Does she feel alone?  Please someone sit by my little girl!)  Her friend came bounding over, pulled out a chair and sat right by Feven (phew, she's going to be okay).  I moved away from her to the other side of the room so Feven could interact with her peers and the teachers by herself but still know I was present. 

I watched as a teacher knelt down and showed Feven how to unfold her paper napkin (Oh my word, my little baby's learning how to have snack time!).  Feven was then given a cupful of cheerios and she ate every last one of them (Did they see she's out?  Is she still hungry?  Will she know how to ask for more?).  They came around and gave her another helping which she ate entirely.  The drinking cups were dispersed next, each small plastic cup containing a small portion of water.  I watched as my baby picked it up and drank like a big girl, sitting in her seat the entire time, eating her snack and listening to the story being read.  (She's going to be in Kindergarten in no time and then graduating and then she'll be moving out of the house all too soon!) 

I actually teared up watching her, and my friend who was standing beside me had the grace to not notice or to not say anything.  It's funny how a little thing like watching your kid have a snack during an ECFE class can tug on your emotions.  It was such a small moment, but it symbolized her growing independence and the realization (again) for me that I can't always be there for her or protect her from everything.  I can't go with her everywhere in life to make sure she knows how precious and loved she is.  I have to teach her so she knows it thoroughly inside of her soul that she is precious, loved, strong, capable, talented, smart, funny, and kindhearted so that when I'm not there to whisper those things in her ear she can carry her head high and know that those words are echoing inside of her and emanating from her. 

My baby went to ECFE today.  And I cried.

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