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Monday, June 3, 2013

preschool graduation

Maya had her "graduation" from Highland Preschool.
I remember when Ella was in the two-year program at Highland and Maya was just a baby.   The first year, I had Maya securely strapped one of those full body wrap things while I helped Ella and Brady unpack their stuff, take off their boots and wash their hands.  Ella's second year at Highland, Maya was two and she spent drop off time playing with the baby dolls and making me food in the play kitchen. I used to have to peel her off the inside jungle gym or away from those plastic babies while she wailed about the injustice.   Nearly every day Ella went to preschool began with her sister's cries and pleas to stay.
It was hard to believe two years ago that Maya was finally old enough to be the student, instead of the younger sibling, at Highland.  She was psyched to get in there.
And somehow, some way, those two years in the warm, nurturing cocoon of Highland- the place you can turn a footprint into a turkey, a hand print into a flower and a nervous three-year-old into a confident five-year-old ready for the world- are over and I sit stunned by how this period of life, of Maya's and ours, has ended.
For the last day, the kids did an adorable show for the parents.  It had sign language songs, percussion, wiggles and giggles. and dancing. Maya loves to sing and it amazes me how she remembers the tunes and words to the many songs she sings at school and can pull them from her memory bank a week later.

Just like when Ella graduated from Highland, Maya made a "memory" book.  It has pages of her art projects, drawings of herself, a piece of string measuring how tall she is, an interview about her and her family.  And, of course, she answered the question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
"A puzzle maker."  Maya really, REALLY loves puzzles.

Maya has been incredibly close to one of her teachers, Kathryn Ravenscraft.  She knew her as Ella's teacher and we have seen her from time to time out and about before she became Maya's teacher.  Each and every day, she would whisper in my ear, "Ask Mrs. Ravenscraft to read me books," as I was leaving and each and every day Mrs. Ravenscraft would.  Maya listed this as her favorite part of preschool. 

These two will remain buddies, I am sure.  Especially since Kathryn and I have become buddies ourselves.
Maya with Tammy Campbell, Highland director and owner, the woman with the vision and heart that has made Highland the unique place it is.

Maya was very proud to show Ella her memory book.  Ella was equally pleased to realize she had one of her own.  They sat at the table and shared them with each other.   
 String comparisons:  Ella was 41 1/2 inches and Maya is 42 1/4 at the end of preschool. Then they compared who had the prettier string (Ella) and how Ella wanted to be a ballerina when she grows up and she has already decided on a career change (gymnastics I believe).
 Here is what we found the most surprising and hilarious.  Each child had done a self-portrait: one in the fall and one in the spring.  In the fall, they both drew themselves with their whole bodies.  In the spring they drew only their heads.  Anyone know what the developmental meaning is of this?

Also, our girls' fall self-portraits were uncannily similar.  Maya's picture is on the left, Ella's is on the right. 
As we said when Ella left Highland, we wish it went on through high school.  I can't really explain how sad I am about leaving this place.  There is no other place like it, and while I trust life to present other new and wonderful opportunities, we will never again get to have the experience of growing through the Highland program and my heart cracks a little at that thought.  There is no other place like it.  Our kids have grown and are on to new adventures.  I wonder if this fact of life will ever stop being painful for me?
In Maine we have a saying about our variable weather patterns: "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes."  I feel like the same could be said of parenting:  "If you don't like this stage of parenting, wait five minutes."  Nothing that seems static is.  Everyone outgrows the stage of wearing tutus and rain boots to the grocery store, waking up at 4 A.M., and asking you to play Barbies with your every waking breath.
If your lucky, you child graduates from preschool and moves on.
So I have to say goodbye.  Unless of course we have the third child Ella is after us to have.  But we would have to get Maya on board because whenever Ella talks about it (and let's be clear, Ella only wants a baby sister NOT a baby brother) Maya sighs and says, "I don't want a baby sister.  I would have to play with it ALL THE TIME."
No worries, Maya.  Your position as our baby is secure. 
Thank you to Highland Preschool and all its amazing teachers for your contribution to our family, for shaping the hearts and minds of our precious two and for being the place we learned how to let go.  We wouldn't have wanted to do it without you.  We adore you and will miss you all immeasurably. 

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