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Preschool: I’m a cliché

The babies have been attending preschool for FIVE whole days now. Due to our schedule, I have only dropped them off once, and today was my first drop off AND pick up day.

The babies are not enthusiastic about school. I expected them to either a) scream and cry when we separated or b) be pleased and excited and have no trouble with it. Instead they rather grimly say they don’t like it and don’t want to go. They have to be cajoled into the room, which sucks because it feels like we’re tricking them, and I can’t say a proper goodbye because I am trying not draw their attention to the fact that we are parting ways. It’s been disheartening. I know it’s temporary, I assume it will improve. I’ve certainly read about other people going through it and it seemed to improve reasonably quickly. And last week wasn’t horrible, just a little painful.

Today was horrible. Walking down the hall to their room I started to choke up. I shook it off and helped them change their shoes and hang their coats up, and Bunlet tottered right in. Phew! One down!

Bun Bun, on the other hand, wanted to be cuddled. She kept saying she didn’t want to go in. There was another child in tears clinging to a caregiver and I think I got some kind of crazy hormone surge, because before I knew it, I was in tears too, and unable to use my excellent strategies for talking a toddler into something it doesn’t want to do. I was mostly trying to not let her see the tears pouring down my face. The teacher and I got her to the door and I told her I’d be back and headed down the hall. There was no mistaking her wail of distress, though. Guess I didn’t do well enough. I sobbed my way home. And after thinking of all the many ways I could have done better and did I really have to leave my child sobbing? Was I really not a better parent than that? And why the hell were we doing this anyway? I reminded myself that it’s temporary, it’s a good thing that we’re attached to each other, it’s a classic experience all parents go through in one way or another, it’s only a couple of hours, she needs these experiences.

Still, when I came to get them and saw her sitting there among all the other children, putting her little shoes on, I burst into tears all over again. It was all I could do not to elbow a shitload of toddlers out of my way to get to her.

So yeah. I am a my children started school and I totally fell apart cliché.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Gwen has, in the last few months — I think it was after mid-summer when a bunch of her friends left for holidays and then for school — suddenly become clingy the instant we walk into nursery (even on the hallway to her room she’s skipping and laughing!). There’s always a nursery lady on hand ready to take her with promises of snuggles and cuddles, but at one point early on, I decided I wasn’t interested in that. If she wants me to stay and hug, I’ll stay, and hug her as long as she needs (it certainly doesn’t hurt that *I* love those hugs too). I know if I let a nursery lady take her, she’d be fine within a few minutes, but you know what? It’s not worth it. I’m happy to be to my office a few minutes later than planned if it means I stay until she leaves me of her own accord.

    Because I don’t think I could handle it if I left her there knowing she was unhappy, no matter how transiently. We did that already. I am NOT doing it again.

    September 14, 2015
  2. Steph #

    It’s heartbreaking! I’m with you on this. I tear up whenever I see S running towards me shouting “Mommy”- he’s ambivalent about the experience thus far. That makes me question my decision. I’ve been there and am there with you. At my preschool we leave them at the drop off car line and a teacher either walks a calm and happy child in or carries a screaming kicking shouting for mommy child in. At least I can break down in the safety of my own car which I find comforting. Love to you Bunny.

    September 15, 2015
  3. Hugs. SB is just starting kindergarten and wasn’t happy with our 15min separation today. I hope all three warm up to this.

    September 15, 2015
  4. Another cliche’ here! But I’m here to tell you that you will all move on from this phase. If you are anything like me (and I kinda hope you’re not), they will move on and then you will eventually catch up.

    I dropped Mr D off for his first day of preschool (he went to a toddler “school” last year for a few mornings a week and protested going for MONTHS). In an effort to calm his nerves on the way, I asked him if I could stay and read with him for a bit. His answer? No thanks. I want to play but you can go read at home by yourself. My answer? I think I will!!!

    September 15, 2015
  5. I know it is hard. I’ve been there. It sucks.
    Anyway, whatever you do, never leave without saying good bye. Adopt the “chuck and bolt” method if you have to, but do say good bye, and show you keep your promise to come back. It sounds silly, but I swear it helps. At least it did for my boys, and they both had quite a hard time saying good bye to mummy.
    It will eventually get better. No one can tell you when, but it will. You know it will, nothing lasts forever (except for pregnancies with third children, those I hear are quite memorable… 😏 too soon to joke about that?!).
    Good luck. I mean it.

    September 15, 2015
  6. Jos #

    I TOTALLY didn’t think i’d be that cliche – i’ve worked full time since my babies were 8weeks old (UGH) and thought it’d be no big deal. I totally bawled. *sigh*

    September 17, 2015
  7. I hope you know it’s love and not guilt. You love her and him so much. Such a big transition from HOW THINGS HAVE BEEN.
    sending YOU all my love, beautiful mama.

    September 17, 2015
  8. I laughed at the elbowing the other toddlers out of the way comment – the mama bear struggle is real. This sounds like it was just too much to deal with on this particular day. Hugs to you.

    September 18, 2015
  9. Anonymous #

    It is SO HARD to leave a screaming child. You’re right that every mother experiences it in one way or another. In addition to the fabulous advice you’ve received in the above comments, I might suggest asking the teacher how the toddlers are adjusting. Does the crying last long? Are they making friends? Participating in classroom activities? My little one cried (sometimes screamed) but mostly for my “benefit” since she would quit literally 30 seconds after I left and proceed to have a fabulous day socializing, playing, and learning. It helped to know that much of her histrionics amounted to temporary insanity (or toddler manipulation, attempt at exerting control over environment, insert whatever reasoning you subscribe to here).

    September 21, 2015
  10. SRB #

    *Raises hand* I am a cliché too… I thought I’d be all “GOODBYE SUCKA!” but I have been in tears everyday they are both gone. I am…lonely. It is very strange. But in some ways, I also enjoy missing them because I do so love the “MUMMY!!!!!” squeal of glee at the end of the day. I’ve never had that before…maybe I am getting teary again right now. FUCK.

    I don’t like this growing up business. The years are really going by too quickly, and getting faster all the time.

    September 23, 2015

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