Finding your way through parenthood.
I’ve just returned from dropping my children off at school and I cried all the way home.
It’s L’s second week of a full day schedule and you could say it hasn’t been going very well.
When it’s time for me to go he would suddenly clutch desperately to my waist and I can see him struggling with the strong anxiety washing over his little body. Tears stream from his eyes and he begs “Don’t go Mommy, I want to stay with you!”. All last week I stayed behind, with him on my lap, occasionally successful in my attempts to get him to join in and interact with this teacher and classmates.
L needs his routine. And this new schedule and classroom is so far out of what he got used to in Kindergarten it’s clearly been causing a lot of distress.
His teacher is very nice. She’s young, friendly and even though she was pretty sick yesterday, the patience, energy and kindness she had for her students left me in awe. She arranged for the Education Assistant to come in and try to help Liam get adjusted. She’s also very nice, but L had her help last year and just does not like her. *sigh*
Yesterday morning was tough. Again I tried to leave and again was met with hysterics at the doorway. His teacher tightly held his hand and literally started pulling him back towards the classroom causing him to shriek and scream even louder. She told me to just go and that she would deal with it. I stood there dumbfounded for a second. I looked at my terrified son and for a moment I considered leaving him. It was horrible.
And then I thought – Come on, we’re all intelligent and educated adults, surely there must be a better way than this!? I looked at the teacher and I said “No. He’s obviously not ready and I won’t have him think I’ve abandoned him when he’s so scared.” She wasn’t happy about my decision.
So I went back into the classroom, calmed him down, and gave him a big hug as I steeled my nerves. I said “You have to join your class. If you don’t then I will leave.” He was taken aback. But then he took a deep breath and went the the E.A. lady to the carpet with the other children. I shrank back into the old leather couch tucked along the side of the room determined not to let him see me fighting the tears in my eyes. I stayed and wandered around the classroom giving encouraging comments in my broken French to the children as they colored their reading homework folders. I figured I should as least look like I’m supposed to be there.
After about 20 minutes the E.A. lady left, satisfied that he was calmly playing with the blocks on the carpet. I decided I should at least get some lunch in me since I skipped breakfast. I went over to him, very calmly told him as much and that I would see him outside in the playground after he ate. He said “ok, but I’m going to miss you” He didn’t turn to look at me.
On my way out I ran into a new E.A. lady on her way to help him during lunch. She had such a wonderful energy about her. So calm and motherly. Remembering the way she smiled at me brings tears to my eyes again. She assured me she would watch out for him during the lunch hour. I wolfed down lunch and hurried back to school. Just to check in and leave.
It took me awhile, but I finally found him at the top of the tall climbing spiderweb. He smiled down at me and waved. I made my way back to the edge of the playground. He came down and ran over to me, nice E.A. lady in tow. “Mommy, don’t you ever walk away from me again.” he scolds. Nice E.A. lady introduces herself again and L hangs around while we chat. Her name is Allison. L’s smile and calmness tells me she’s the one. I thank her profusely for helping Liam and we hear the bell go. L turns on his heels and runs inside, nice E.A. lady following behind.
This morning he paused at the classroom door, and for a moment I wondered if we’d have a repeat of yesterday. Reluctantly he followed me in. We hung up his bag and jacket, chose a cute lift the flap book and found the name tag we’d colored together last week taped to his spot on the table. He ran his fingers over the laminated surface and I could see his tension washing away. We giggled over how cute the hedgehogs were in the book. The bell rang. I kissed his cheek, gave him a quick squeeze and said “Have a wonderful day sweetie, I’ll see you later” He smiled and turned back to his book.
I smiled through my tears all the way home.
My turkey and his sister posing nicely for my first day of school photo.