For my son
You were two and a half
and had been in the Toddler Room just over a year.
You’d come to thrive there, after some tentative early months
as you felt your way around a new space, new adults,
other toddlers, some of them far less reserved than you,
running pell-mell, climbing the walls and yapping like puppies,
sometimes biting, not out of malice, of course,
but because it can feel pretty amazing to really clamp down.
Eventually you took your place among the ranks
of one- and two-year-olds, your niche one of observation and consideration,
weighing the worth before bringing paintbrush to paper,
plastic dinos to life, your body to the top of the slide
or to meet the embrace of little Josie, Ann, Owen.
Once committed, you were all in, sly smiles and goofball gestures
often accompanying. You came into your own in that room, Finn,
as your caregiver Lee would reflect with your dad and me.
But it was your time to advance to the next level—
upstairs in the Shooting Star Room was where your M–F would soon unfold.
As your mom, I felt the familiar tension between pride and sadness,
though the pull of the latter was stronger.
Your sweet Lee shared with us the school’s protocol:
she would take you up to your new room for ever longer periods
over the course of two weeks, staying with you at first—
easing the transition, comforting if needed.
The accounts came in: you were doing just fine, quick to take a seat
at this table of new cohorts. And our experience at home with you mirrored:
no changes in sleep, appetite, mood.
The last phase of the transition gave you a choice:
after a full morning upstairs, you could either return downstairs
to nap with the old crew, or remain with the new gang through siesta.
On picking you up that evening, we heard the ruling:
you hadn’t looked back, your new place already established.