Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rough beginnings at school

DAY ONE: He beat the alarm clock by nearly an hour on Monday, bolting out of bed and into his sister's room (where the TV was watching her sleep).  He came back moments later disgruntled. "La-ah sleep." A slender little boy finger reached out to push on the TV in my room and then he waited for me to spring into action.  Through shielded, foggy eyes, I saw the blurry clock blinking 5:05 a.m.

And so the first week back at work for inservice began.

It was a battle to get my hair done and my clothes straightened while Ya clung to my legs, arms, anything to get my attention on him.  Chi was groggy when I woke her and slowly trudged around her room trying to identify the clean from the worn clothes strewn on her bedroom floor  - - the same clothes that she was to have hung up in their proper places days prior.
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Ya happily walked into the new daycare, holding Chi's hand.  I locked the car door and followed the kids inside.  We arrived at the tail end of breakfast and sat Ya down to eat his waffle.  And as the other kids assembled on the circle time mat, Ya was intrigued by the singing of "silly clown" and the dancing crazies each child brought as one by one entered the circle's center.  Chi and I slipped out and as the sun hit my face outside, I began to search for my keys.  Not attached to my belt loop, not on the purse strap.  Another parent saw me searching and called sweetly, "Excuse me?  Is this your car?"  And as I looked up to give her my attention, I saw them - - the keys were still dangling from the door lock, which I had, indeed, engaged.  My face must have shown my state of mind because another parent encouraged me to "breathe, just breathe a minute. It'll be ok."

I got in the car and collected myself.  Not even 10 minutes later, my cell phone rang with an unfamiliar number.  Ya's school.  He'd run out of class looking for us and was now uncontrollably sobbing.  I made a U-turn and went to console him. 

At this point, Chi was not at all confident about leaving her brother.  As we were leaving for the second time, she lingered in the hallway clearly concerned about his well being.

And then I went in to work for a lengthy all-staff meeting and to plan my classroom's set up. 

When I picked Ya up, it was nap time and he was sleeping on his floor mat - his blanket a disheveled heap next to him.  I drove him home and he woke as I was parking.  "Don't want home. No," he said as I unbuckled his seat belt and tried to usher him into the house.  I guess that meant he had a good day...

DAY TWO: He allowed the alarm clock to do its job this time... but Mommy's internal clock roused her at 5:15.  I tried to go back to sleep, but I'd close my eyes and drift off only to open them and see the time had elapsed only minutes.  I got up.  Minutes later, Ya was standing at the top of the stairs hollering, "Mama where are you?"

At daycare they were having cereal.  He ate.  He let us leave (still whimpering, but consoled by a teacher).  I didn't get a call.  He was allowed to hold onto his tractor truck that he'd carried into the class.

I picked him up after nap time and snack.  When I arrived, he was cleaning up his kitchen toys and was content.  He said, "Bye," and rushed toward the door.

DAY THREE: Ya insists on unlocking the car by himself.  Pancakes at daycare.  He crams the pancake pieces in his mouth realizing that Chi and I leave as he finishes his meal.  He spins in his chair so that he can make a quick exit.  We leave, as he hurls himself to the floor in a fit of saddness.  He's still sobbing when I pick him up in the afternoon and all the teacher assistant says is, "All day.  He only stopped for a little while because I told him you'd be coming soon."  She then inquired about the slew of names he'd called all day: Mama, Daddy, Oma, PopPop, Laura, Arthur... all the people he sees often and loves. And my heart broke.

DAY FOUR:  Mommy's not eager to go in to work.  Ya sees his school in front of him as we pile out of the car.  He stops in the middle of the parking lot, "no want schoo'."

"I'm only going to be gone a little while.  I'll be right back Ya."

"No go."  And when I picked him up (because he refused to walk any further), he clung to me tightly.  I led him to his class, attempted to put him down, and he swept his legs up so he couldn't be placed on the floor. "No."

I insisted he go in and eat.  He was served his French toast.  He ate on auto pilot.  He refused to drink his juice and began to whimper.  He kept his eyes trained on Chi and I and said, "Sit down."  He refused to move more than a foot away from us.  We tried to distract him with the cars and kitchen stuff.  He watched Chi play from a distance, but would not pick up a toy.  After 15 minutes of trying to draw his attention to play, I gave up and we left him bawling.  The door to the class closed because he tried to follow us.

I heard him before I arrived to his classroom to pick him up.  His voice, hoarse from crying, carried through the halls. "La-ah."  He wanted his sister. Desperately.  "La-ah. Peez?"
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He saw me, heaved a few times to collect himself as tears continued to well in his red, swollen eyes.  "Peez, bye bye?"

DAY FIVE:  The plan was to go in early.  Perhaps if he was still groggy with sleep, he'd simply nod back off and have a better day.  No luck.  He ran to catch us, kicked his legs as his care giver caught him, and wailed as we left him in the community room of his daycare - tears flowing from his eyes.  He was crying still when I came to pick him up.  His classmates were contentedly sitting at the small table eating birthday cake and wearing the birthday cone hats.  Ya's hat was on the floor and he stood reaching for his teacher, while she tried to snap pictures of the celebrating toddlers.  Upon seeing me, he collected himself enough to say (incredibly clearly): "I ready go home now. Peez? I ready go byebye."
I don't know what to do. My baby is miserable.  He misses his sister.  And school officially begins next week.


Anna K. said...

I'm hurting for you and your family. That transition isn't easy at first...heart-wrenching.

I liked the idea of letting him hold on to a familiar toy. Is there a way for him to have a family picture of the three of you together for him to hang on to? I've seen little baby books that photos can be put in for children to learn family members/titles.

I'm praying!

Taylor said...

Poor guy! It must be really hard on all of you. Praying that it will get better and this is the worst of it.