Letter to Camille: The Big Girl Class

Hello sweet girl. Sweet, big girl! Do you know what’s hanging on our refrigerator right now? Artwork. Your artwork.
I could hardly believe it this afternoon when I picked you up from baby school. As I was holding you and giving you kisses, Miss Pam handed me a little slip of paper you’d colored on earlier in the day. Your first bit of artwork from school! I stood there staring at it, feeling like I could cry because you seemed so grown up all the sudden. Grown up enough for crayons. And I am quite proud of you.
Yesterday, you moved up to the big girl class at baby school. I didn’t think you were going to – even the manager didn’t think you were ready. But they had some space in that class and decided just to let you play in there for a little bit to test it out. They all thought it would probably take several weeks (or longer) to transition into the new environment.
Yesterday morning, I was a little nervous for you. I hoped the change wouldn’t be too stressful. We’d picked out a naptime mat and washed it the night before. It’s purple and blue with lots of little butterflies and insects with happy faces everywhere. After I put your name on it (and drew little hearts on the name tag), I put it on the floor in our living room to let you crawl around on it. I wanted it to seem a little familiar when they laid you on the mat at naptime. While you played, I snapped this picture:
You look so excited, but I think you were smiling more about the Everyday With Rachel Ray Magazine reorder form in your hand than about your naptime mat. You love paper. Little goat.
All day yesterday I wondered how you were doing, and was very eager to get you at the end of the day. As your Daddy and I entered the building, we ran into the daycare manager. She gushed about you, about how well you did, how much fun you had.
“I don’t think she’ll ever go back,” she said. It took me a minute to realize what she meant, then it dawned on me. You weren’t ready to transition into the big girl room, you were ready to stay there. No more baby room for you!
Not only did you play well, you ate all table food (no baby food mush thank-you-very-much!), you snacked on Cheerios, and YOU SLEPT FOR TWO HOURS ON YOUR NAPTIME MAT. I wondered if it was just a fluke, but today, you did it again. Your teachers patted your back for a while to help you drift off, but you were so worn out from all your playing that once you went to sleep you took a great nap.
I think you love the freedom you have in the big girl class. No more exersaucers and swings and playpens. You get to crawl from one end of the room to the next, playing with whatever and whomever you please. In this class, you’ll learn sign language, you’ll paint, use glue, and even start playing on the playground once you begin walking. It’s a whole different kind of baby school, and you seem to be blossoming in it.
Today, you got to pick out your own crayon when it was time to color, and you chose green. I like to think you picked it because it matched your little green dress.
So here it is, proudly hanging on our fridge. Your sweet, green dots on a picture of a woman signing the word “crayon.”
To me it’s a symbol of a shift in your development. There will always be a part of me that is nostalgic for every passing phase, but mostly I really enjoy watching your personality emerge. I’m so proud of you. I was proud of you the moment I found out you were growing in my belly, proud of you when you were born, proud of you today and every day in between. Thank you for being sweet, precious you. Mama loves you so much.