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Who Knew I’d Still Be Alive After This Year?

And then school started and mommy finally rested. I can’t believe that I somehow managed to get through the past year and still be here to write about it. Of course in the moment I just figured that life is hard and will always be this hard and I will never again smile or laugh or read or exercise or eat a fruit sweetened cookie without being forced to stand in a dark corner of my kitchen stuffing it in my mouth lest I’m spotted and three children pull it from my mouth and stuff it in theirs.

What I’m saying is, my life hasn’t been all that fun. UNTIL NOW. Those bitches started school last week and today, for the first time, they went without crying. And I am at peace.

Who knew? Who knew that I was so jacked up with anxiety from having to leave a traumatized child crying at preschool every day last week? Intellectually I knew that they were in good hands. My brain told me that they were going to have a great day and that being in school with access to finger paints, magna tiles, blocks, trikes and loving teachers was nothing to freak the fuck out about. unfortunately, my brain was not in direct contact with my heart which hurt for Matilda who cried mercilessly for me. When I came to pick her up she was so relieved it was heart breaking. “Mommy came back!” she screamed at me while throwing herself into my arms and refusing to end the hug for forty-five minutes. “Mommies always come back! Mommies always come back! Mommies aaaalways come back!” She repeated this like a mantra or like Dora might say “Swiper no swiping, Swiper no swiping, Swiper nooo swiping.”

It made me so sad.

“Yes, Mattie. Of course I came back,” I said burying my face in her curls -curls that smelled like fresh air and water soluable paint- two things that school is providing that I’m not. I have to wonder if the kids with separation anxiety might actually think that when you drop them off there’s a chance that that is their new home. Do you think they take it that far in their heads? Like mommy has found a place that can provide more consistant parenting and good toys so now they will just be living here with their new mom, Giselle and assistant mom, Karina? That they will from this day forth have all their meals and naps and bedtime routines happen from this new place? Do they seriously wonder if we’ll come back for them? It breaks my heart to think my tiny lady would for a moment not know that I’m coming back for her and that she’s supposed to be having a good time not worrying that I’ve abandoned her.

I suppose some kids need to be trained to a new routine and others, like Sadie, just go with the flow. I understand Mattie’s point of view because I have a ton of anxiety (shocker!). I get Mattie which actually makes it tougher because all that empathizing can only make it worse for her if she can sense it. I had to be very controlled in my response to her meltdowns in the morning. Inside I wanted to grab her and tell her how much I love her and that if she really didn’t like it she didn’t have to stay in school, that mommy never wanted her to be sad for one minute. But instead, I told her I was coming back and that I knew she was going to have a great day. Also that there would be ice cream later.

That was last week and yesterday a little. Today, she was fine. And I can breathe and even go to the gym. But let’s not get crazy. I’ll start with breathe and work my way up to exercise.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on September 21, 2010 5:35 pmUncategorized17 comments  

17 Comments

  1. Lisa said,

    oh, been there, doing that. My five year old has made such a spectacle over the last week and now that he is sort of calming down, I have been getting the way-to-go thumbs up from parents of children who aren’t even in his class. *Everybody* knows who we are. And there are a couple hundred kids in this school.

    He did the same thing last year. It gets better eventually.

    | September 21, 2010 @ 5:51 pm

  2. Venomous Kate said,

    Actually, Stefanie, I think you’ve earned a nap. A child-free, intentional nap taken without Elmo or Dora singing in the background.

    And a cookie.
    Venomous Kate´s last blog post ..This Is Not The Bitch You Are Looking For

    | September 21, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

  3. Wendi said,

    Wait a couple of years when like me, you can just slow the car down in front of their grade school and have them do a jump and roll.

    | September 21, 2010 @ 6:32 pm

  4. Kelly said,

    Our first day of preschool was started with “I want to go NOW’s” at 6 AM when she didn’t start until 11:55, and once we got there ended with a round of, “Please don’t leave me here’s…” I was starting to think that my Mea was going to be the kid to have the meltdown moment, but luckily another boy did and that distracted her so I could duck out while giving a little wave goodbye.

    Thank goodness it does get easier. The first day of preschool wasn’t nearly as difficult as leaving my 18 year old at college.
    Kelly´s last blog post ..Hiccups and Something Scary

    | September 21, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

  5. MamaC said,

    So there is hope I will one day have free time?
    Very nice.
    MamaC´s last blog post ..Dear Kiddo 1

    | September 22, 2010 @ 1:21 am

  6. mollyell50 said,

    Hilarious… Your tiny ladies are all grow’d up!

    | September 22, 2010 @ 4:54 am

  7. Dre said,

    My little man (who we had to put in daycare two days a week at 16 months) gets so upset I can hear his screams even from the front door. When I pick him up, he gets this outraged look of betrayal on his face and starts crying as if to say “Why? Why? did you do this to me? How could you?” I too wonder if he thinks that this is his new home… it breaks my heart and this is my second son, so I have already gone through it already and should be immune. Now please… go eat that cookie in bed.

    | September 22, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  8. Jennifer June said,

    When my youngest started school she would put on a brave face and a fake smile but I’d see little tears welling up in her eyes as I kissed her goodbye and her little lip would quiver.
    I pretended not to notice because I thought normalizing the situation would be the best way to make her feel secure.

    Every morning for the first two weeks, I would drop her off and then go home and cry like a baby.

    Good times.
    Jennifer June´s last blog post ..Creativity falls from vagina!

    | September 22, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  9. Kelly said,

    Yay, Steph! I’m so happy for you that you’re finally getting some “me” time! I am too- my little one finally went to kindergarten. :) Nice when they actually like it, isn’t it?

    | September 22, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

  10. Issa said,

    Try breathing and getting Starbucks. I think that’s a good goal for the first month of preschool.
    Issa´s last blog post ..Things you hope to never explain

    | September 22, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

  11. Jae said,

    Woot! Alright! I remember that feeling when my twins started Kinder! Oh what a release and freedom!!! :) Good for you!
    Jae´s last blog post ..Takoma Park

    | September 22, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

  12. Lulu said,

    Lately my mantra “Only 3 years til kindergarten, only 3 years til kindergarten” which I say over and over and over and people must think I”m really crazy out at the park. I still have another year til pre-school because my GIRLS ARE NUTS. In a good way. Sort of.
    Lulu´s last blog post ..Tweet Me

    | September 23, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

  13. seekingclarav said,

    Dear God I just laughed my ass off through this entire post (except for the “Mommys always come back” part…that made me tear up.)

    Enjoy this time, you deserve it! And for Christ’s sake woman, eat a normal cookie!
    seekingclarav´s last blog post ..Huh…didn’t we have this conversation yesterday

    | September 23, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

  14. Alison said,

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one that affectionately calls my twins “bitches”. LOVE IT!

    | September 23, 2010 @ 8:55 pm

  15. Sarah said,

    My twins have been in daycare for awhile, so they are used to it, but we just put my 4 yr old in the full day preschool program there. Most days started with horrible crying from him, which tnen set off the twins. Luckily, it only took 3 weeks to break the cycle and now they are good to go!
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Writing Workshop

    | September 24, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

  16. Dr. Heather said,

    It’s really, really hard — I know. I’m still traumatized by memories of a preschool teacher peeling a 3-year-old off my body, assuring me it would be OK.

    Assuming the school is the right one for them, the crying can continue for awhile and it STILL can be a good deal for them. That said, “Why does my kindergartener hate school?” is one of the most commonly-googled phrases that bring parents to me. It can go on thru then, so pace yourself 😉

    | October 4, 2010 @ 5:14 am

  17. Nina said,

    you mean you don’t want to home-school? y’all seem like perfect candidates.

    | October 7, 2010 @ 4:11 am

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