Feeling: Sad but hopeful
I haven’t written a blog post in the middle of the week in so long, I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to have that kind of time to myself.
And that’s just a taste of what this freedom is going to be like in the weeks and months to come, if only I can reconcile my heart with what’s been going on over the last few days of acclimating my son to his childcare centre.
To be honest, it’s not like I have all the time in the world now. I actually really, REALLY need to get some sleep because the bub has been sensing all this change and he’s waking up like 10 times a night.
He wakes up and he searches for me and latches on to me and never lets me go.
He’s like trying to suck the essence out of me so that he can have me with him forever. *wails*
But like I was saying, I felt really compelled to update how moving him into school has been going so I figured, sleep could wait. And I’d probably sleep better once I’ve penned down all the things that are running through my head about getting him to class.
First things first, we decided to put the bub to school on a part-time basis. He gets to go on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays because Grandma comes over 1, 3, and 5 so that way, he’ll still get to spend time with her and I’ll get some much needed respite on the days that I need to handle him on my own.
We’ve got him in for the whole day though, so he can get the most of the lessons and curriculum that the school has got set up for him.
There was actually little difference from a 3 day week versus a full day week of school, but despite the cost effectiveness, we just figured that we didn’t want to have him entirely separated from me all of a sudden considering that he has never actually spent a day out of our eyesight before.
If anything, I would probably continue to miss him too much once he’s settled in school too, and I’d have way too much time on my hands too, so why not let him have “breaks” from class while we could afford the luxury of taking care of him at home every once in a while?
There’s plenty of time for a full week of school when he gets older anyway right?
In addition, like I mentioned, the school suggested that we slowly ease him into the idea of school – we only leave him in for a few hours so that he can get used to how things work in class on day 1, and slowly extend the hours that he stays on the premises.
So we embarked on getting him to school on Monday and crossing our fingers that the progressive separation thing would work.
To be fair, it’s a little hard to judge how well the bub is doing on so few days of school a week, and if I was to be absolutely honest, the difference between day 1 day 2 of school was so stark that there’s just too many ways that this whole thing could turn out.
On day 1, the bub seemed happy to join his friends and frolic around for a couple of hours, eat a little and then come home for a nap.
On day 2, he seemed to sense that something more sinister was on the horizon and he really started getting clingy. He was constantly looking for me and being inattentive during his classes. The irritability made him tear and cry and I was asked to try and leave him – show him that I was walking out the door so that he would see he was going to have to stay at school without me.
It was so bad on day 2 that I ended up having to bring him home for a nap anyway, and he spent all that time sniffling and his body racked with sobs from the trauma of it all.
My heart just broke.
All the excitement and anticipation of freedom immediately washed away and melted into guilt and sadness. I couldn’t believe that it would be this torturous for my little baby to go to school.
I mean, granted that school isn’t the most fun place in the world when you grow up, when you’re at the preschool stage, it really is all fun and games and interactions and doing things!
At the very moment that you see how your child is reacting to the separation and the new environment and all the emotions that he doesn’t know how to deal with, you totally forget about what you wanted for yourself and can only feel concern for your little one.
I was upset to the point that I forgot all the things I thought about when we were selecting the school – whether there was a good curriculum and what was going to be taught, what facilities and equipment the school has and all the bits about education and healthy eating.
It became all about, is there going to be someone who will stroke his hair like I do, will there be somebody to cuddle him when he’s feeling upset, when he doesn’t want to eat his food or refuses to play with some toys, will there be compassion and love and direction to help him figure out an alternative so he gets what he needs?
I’ve no doubt that the teachers do their absolute utmost to care for their kids, but these thoughts do run through my head unbidden.
At the end of the day, no matter how good the teacher-student ratio is, no one will ever care for him as much as his mummy or daddy.
I get that there are kids screaming all the time – day 1 when my mum and I hung around waiting for the bub to be done, there was one new voice yelling out displeasure or something ever other minute. I swear if I worked there, I’d probably kill myself. We agreed we both would.
I can only imagine the amount of patience that these teachers have to teach babies and toddlers. One needs to pee, one vomits, one wants to play with that toy, another is bonking a third on the head, or pushing, or pulling or heaven forbid, biting…..
God definitely gives these men and women in childcare terribly high emotional quotients and self-restraint in order to deal with this sort of thing on a daily basis.
But that doesn’t change the fact that they won’t love my child like I love him. They will care for him and make sure that he’s well taken care of, but the fact that there are so many others who are going to require that care and concern.. Well, there’s only so much love to go around.
I mean, look at sibling rivalry. We always say that the love is fair, but admit it. We all have a secret favourite…
In any case, today when I dropped him off before starting on this post, we decided to abandon the whole progressive separation ideal. It seems as though we had better nip the problem in the bud and show the bub that I was not going to be around right from the beginning.
I’m not about to leave him in there for the whole day today, and chances are I’ll be called to pick him up half way through the day, but that initial morning fight to drop him off will be mandatory to show the bub that school is going to be a new part of our lives.
We pray with the bub every night, for the bub to know that he can always talk to Jesus if he feels scared or lonely, and we are trying to look at all different things to do to get him excited about going to school – packing toys he likes into the bag and asking him about his friends and what he’s done in class.
We need to be excited about things so that perhaps he won’t mind so much if he’s going to be more excited about class and not so much thinking about the fact that he is there without us.
If anything, from the looks of things, the bub is fine once he starts activities there. It’s just the part when mummy is leaving that he seems to be worrying about. I mean, obviously he’s going to be confused why mummy doesn’t want to keep him company at this strange place where he hasn’t yet quite made friends with anyone and he doesn’t yet recognize the teachers.
I just have to believe that he’ll adjust quickly. With the diligence of the teachers and slowly getting him to understand this new routine, hopefully we’ll see a change in how he approaches going to school in the coming weeks.
After all, going to school is only the first in a very long line of things that the bub will have to get used to changing in his life. How we transition him in this change will be a precedent to how he will adapt to changes in his future.
I’ve always been an anxious person in the face of change and I can only hope that I am able to help him do better at taking things in his stride so that he can come out on top of anything that might happen to him in the future.
But for now, even if it’s just school, there is still a long journey to get him to be comfortable. I’ve just got to dig deep and find the strength within myself to show him that I’m not being too affected by his affectedness so that we can move on and change together.
Wish me consternation guys.
Finding Steel in my heart,