After much preparation, the day finally came around. Smallest Boy was up, dressed, bag packed with morning tea, lunch and spare clothes, and his hat on by 7.30 this morning. He has been very excited about going to pre-school since we first visited and met The Chickens a few months ago. Pre-school here is similar to Playgroup/Nursery in Scotland - not entirely sure of the equivalent in England. Main differences are that it's not free (obviously a fairly significant difference) and there is little or no option for anything other than full days. My older kids all went to the most gorgeous Playgroup in Scotland 5 mornings a week (for free) for a year and then did the same at the pre-school Nursery attached to the primary school that they later went to. This worked out particularly well as they came home, had lunch and promptly fell asleep for the rest of the afternoon, or until we had to pick someone else up. So far Smallest Boy has one day, which may well become a bit of an issue with regards to settling.
The Big Boys all left to catch their buses to their schools then we jumped into the car to drop Miss M at her school (next door!) and race down to Pre-School. Excitement was running very high at this point. We arrived a wee bit late to avoid the rush and try to achieve the smoothest drop-off possible. His peg has a snake on it which he was pleased about, we put his morning tea and lunch boxes (Toy Story naturally) into their respective containers and went to see what was going down. He did a beautiful painting, checked out the blocks, and said 'Hello' to another wee boy hiding in the house area. We had had a number of conversations about 'Mummy not staying' but as I rightly expected, he hadn't really believed me. It started with the wobbly lip, moved onto the "Mummy stay!", to full-on screaming pretty quickly. With the older sibs I only had one who showed the same kind of separation anxiety shown by Smallest Boy (I remind you of the "Mummy-daring-to-go-to-a-gym-class" incident of a couple of months ago...). I figured it was best to say goodbye, leave and not look back. I could still hear the screaming 3 doors up.
With his 'Bestie' at bedtime
Edited to add painting that I couldn't find last night, not realizing that Smallest Boy had alreadyput it on the fridge!