Every year around this time I hear stories of moms dropping their kids off for their first day of school in tears. This is generally for kindergarten, but I also hear these types of things when moms take their kids to their first day at preschool or daycare. In fact, I’ve been one of those daycare workers having to deal with emotional moms and kids…I never wanted to be that mom.
I’m an emotional being, but not in outwardly ways. Maybe I just got used to hiding tears and such growing up, regardless of the reason, it’s rare for me to cry outside of my house. I didn’t cry when I got married. I didn’t cry when Isaac was born.
Isaac started preschool on Tuesday. Originally, Zach had said he wanted to take him with me. I thought that would cause more stress for Isaac, so I told Zach if he really wanted to take him, I’d stay home. It was hard for me to say, but I meant it, and thankfully, Zach gave in and allowed me to take him and he would pick him up (as he will every day, we even bought a new carseat for this arrangement to work).
Unfortunately, I was sick. Not stuffy-nose, my head is going to explode sick. Sick where you don’t want to move for fear of losing liquid from both sides. I’d been up most of the night and called in sick to work. I knew if I could just get Isaac to school I’d have three solid hours of pure quiet time to sleep. Somehow I managed to get Isaac ready for school. I thought a head to pack his bag, snack and clothes, so it wasn’t that big of a stretch. I puked right before we left the house, so I figured I probably had enough time to get him there and get home before having another episode.
I was miserable as we shuffled into the school. I didn’t want to speak to anyone for fear of them smelling my breath. I didn’t want to move too fast for fear of losing myself. My head just wasn’t in the right place.
We’d been talking to Isaac about school for a while. We tried to tell him everything we knew would take place, the names of his teachers, where we’d be, who’d pick him up. I didn’t want him to have any surprises.
We also had the issue of him being a two year old who only wears undies, but hasn’t really been away from us. Will he tell someone else he needs to go? Will the recognize when he is having too much fun to stop and go but really needs to? So we talked to Isaac about this too. Who he needed to talk to, where he needed to go.
There were families everywhere. Moms and Dads. Brother and Sisters. I even saw some grandparents. All to drop-off kids for their first day of school. It was chaotic – a controlled chaos. And the second we walked into Isaac’s room, he stopped, turned around and wanted up. He was scared-nervous-despite all my attempts to prepare him, he didn’t know what to expect.
Of course, I looked like death warmed over, so all the adults were trying to comfort me, but really I was fine. Even when I went to leave and Isaac started screaming. I was fine. I just wanted to make sure he calmed down before he threw up. So I waited. And others wanted to make sure I was okay. Maybe that’s what I get for taking him to a Christian preschool.
20 minutes I waited until I heard his screams die down. I wandered back to his room to peek in and he was okay. Still standing by the door, but calm and talking to the teachers. So I left.
3 hours later, when Zach called, I learned that he’d been good the rest of the morning. But that somehow, he’d had an accident and ended up in someone else’s diaper and shorts. I suppose part of that is my fault, since I didn’t put his extra clothes wear they asked us to, but left them in his backpack – but I was so miserable and hardly thinking.
Of course, this potty/diaper thing became an issue over the last few days. I’ve tortured myself with the fact that if I was in Isaac’s teacher’s position, I would think parents were crazy for only sending diapers, but as a parent, I don’t want to regress and start putting Isaac in diapers or worse – pull-ups. Zach encouraged me just talk to them and give it another day before stressing out. The first day is always rough, especially when everyone is new.
And so I did. I took a breath.
Me: Isaac, do you want to go to school and play with your friends today?
Me: Okay, are you hungry? Do you want to eat breakfast?
Me: Let’s go downstairs and get some cereal, then you can get ready to go to school.
Isaac: I don’t want to go to school.
Isaac: Because I don’t want you to leave me.
Me: Okay. I’ll stay and play for a bit. Then I’ll come home to work and you can stay and play with you friends. Then Daddy will come get you in his silver car. Does that sound okay?
On the way to school, Isaac jabbered about the trucks and tractors he saw. Even correcting himself a few times when he confused the colors…the white tractor and the yellow …no the yellow tractor and the white truck. When he saw the school come into sight, “There’s my school!”
Isaac insisted on wearing his backpack or “pakpak” as he calls it. Which made for slow moving, since he kept falling off his shoulder and running into the back of his legs. But I just took a deep breath.
When we got to his room, he walked right in and dropped his backpack.
Ms. K: Good Morning Isaac.
Isaac: Hi. This is my pakpak.
Ms. K: And a very nice backpack it is.
Off to wash hands. Then we did a puzzle together and the he wanted to move onto other toys. So I found a place to sit in the room and waited for him for a while. Watching other parents drop off their kids and them sniffle here and there. Isaac took a book to Ms. N and before she got to read it to him, a new parent arrived that needed her attention. Isaac brought the book to me and another little boy joined me on my lap to hear the story – I could so do that all day long, I don’t know why I every quit. After two books I told Isaac that he needed to come talk to me.
He got a little attitude, but listened. I took him potty. We washed hands again. And I asked him for a hug so I could go to work. He gave me a big hug and then ran off to play. I walked out the door whispering to his teacher that is she needed his snuggie was in his bag, but he didn’t know it. She nodded and smiled.
No tears. No big deal.
I was so excited to hear about the day. The report: Isaac is a very polite boy. No accidents. He ate all his snack. He painted. He met new friends. He played outside. All and all a good day.
It might not happen every day, but I’m glad to know he is a good boy. I’m glad to know he understands it’s okay to have fun away from us and that we will come back and get him.