Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Daven's first day of preschool
I have been silently dreading preschool all summer long. We would mention it and talk to Daven about it in excited tones, but internally I was in a constant state of freak-out. My baby can't possibly be big enough to go to school, not for any length of time. I think I'll home school. We'll make sandcastles and count ants and never be apart.
Having a January birthday, Daven is pretty much in the middle of his class, age-wise. Since his age group is actually split into two different classes, this makes him one of the younger kids in the older two of the younger groups. Does that even make sense? He's in the older section of the three year old class, but he's the younger one of that group.
I volunteered to help because a.) The thought of physically leaving the building while Daven is there makes me feel like a knife has been stabbed into my gut and b.) Daven does not meet the criteria of being fully bathroom independent. He's great about going potty when we are out and about, but he still needs some help.
For anyone who has a household where the Disney channel is constantly playing, you've probably seen (and enjoyed) Good Luck Charlie.
When Charlie starts preschool, the mom, Amy, is certain that there will be a crying, clinging meltdown at drop-off. She is comically disappointed when her little girl basically said "peace out" and went into her classroom. This is not what happened with us. Daven made me feel like I was abandoning him in a cold, dirty alley street in the city.
Photo from fineartamerica.com
The first day, he stayed and played in the room fine when I slipped out to start helping with the older class's music time. But when it was time for Daven's group to come in to music, he was the last kid down the hall, screaming, crying, and throwing swims at one of his teachers. Once inside the music room, he clung to me at the piano. I was completely overwhelmed with trying to reassure him, get him to participate with his class, and sight read all of the songs at the same time. (I'm sure if any of my music professors are reading this, they are laughing big, Santa-like laughs at the idea of me being able to sight-read anything at the piano. It's my theory that they passed me on piano proficiency out of pity.)
I have a small break between music class and skills lab, so I followed his class down to the bathroom. After that was snack, and Daven calmed a bit for food. I spent the next hour and a half trying to help another teacher and keep myself from physically shaking from anxiety. The end of the day bathroom break from Daven's class led to a full-scale meltdown. I was in the hallway with the other parents waiting to get our kids and I heard over and over, "I want to give my mommy a hug! I want to give my mommy a hug!" Other moms looked at me with sympathetic eyes while I silently cried in the hall. I wanted to scoop him up in my arms and hold him tight. And why wasn't the teacher reassuring him at all?
When they finally opened the door to the classroom and told us that we could come in, Daven was so upset and so worked up that his whole face was red and he was hot to the touch like he could have had a fever. He clung to me, sobbing and struggling to catch his breath. I wanted to take him home and never bring him back.
The second day of school was, in some ways, worse than the first. Daven begged me not to take him to school. He wanted to stay home with me. "But mommy will be there the whole time. You don't need to be sad. You get to play and make friends and learn." He was not impressed. I told him that we would leave early so that I would have a few minutes to play with him before I had to go to music. But once we got there, all the doors were locked. They are serious about the older class not starting until 9:15 and they won't let you inside until then. I found out later that I have to knock on a different door and someone will let me in. I told them that if they wanted me to be able to start on the piano in music on time, they've got to let me come in the building and get my kiddo settled first.
"Play with me, mommy! Stay here and play with me!" But I only had about a minute, and as soon as I hugged him and told him I would see him in a little bit for music class, he started crying. It broke my heart into so many pieces. His teacher told me to just go and that he would be fine. I ended up walking into the music room in tears with a room already full of twenty some-odd four and five year olds.
When his class came into music, he still would not hardly leave my side. Now add to the anxiety the guilt that I felt, knowing that had I not been there in his music class, he might have been happier. Having me there seems to make him more upset. And although I suspect that his teachers don't like it, I followed his class to their potty break again. I had to give him about twenty hugs before he would sit down for snack. I promised that I would be there for him when it was time for school to be over.
Thankfully, his teachers said that the second half of the school day went much better without all the tears. When I came into his classroom, he was happy and had a bunch of art work to take home. I should be relieved. Except that when family asked him how preschool went, he would say "Not good." He has also let me know that he doesn't want his teachers to teach him. He wants Grandma Donna to be his teacher.
Fast forward to this morning, when I felt like I needed to go ahead and remind him that we would be going to his school tomorrow. I tried to casually put it into the conversation. I talked about how this afternoon we were going to go to Hubers with great papaw and other family members and then tomorrow we get to go to school. Total meltdown. I could see the panic on his face as tears welled up in his eyes and he told me that he didn't want to go. He would go back and forth between being ok with the idea and doing fun things there to panic again that I wasn't going to be right by his side. "You will be there to get me, right?" "Will you be there to pick me up?" I pray that this week somehow goes more smoothly. I know that he can make fast friends if he just calms down and relaxes. It upsets me that he has gotten this panic problem from me.
Say a prayer for us, send some good vibes, whatever it is that you do. And if you see me, give me a hug. I am hoping that the next time I write about his schooling that it will be filled with positivity and happy transitions.