Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Today, while jumping around the living room, Andrew accidentally kicked his foot against the coffee table. He cried and needed a hug and sobbed, "I don't want to go to school!"

He spent the next few minutes in tears telling me he wanted to go to school, but he didn't want to school, but he did.

And I so know what he means. And I feel the same way.

I want him to go and I don't and I do and I don't.

I want him to make more friends. I want him to have more kids in his life. I want another adult to help me out for a few hours a day. I want him to sit with other kids and listen to stories and do art projects and eat sliced apples. I am excited to see him start this next phase of his life.

And I am also scared. For a long time I was worried that he would be a big trouble maker and I would get lots of phone calls home about how he wouldn't sit during story time. I'm not really worried about that anymore. I mean, it still might happen, but I feel like that has taken a back seat to some other things I've decided to worry about.

I've had Andrew home for four years. I think he will be in a very small minority of kids that have not had a school or day care experience yet. He might even be the only one. The other kids are bound to be more socially savvy than he is and I am afraid that he will be left out because of that.

And, I'm worried about me. I'm starting to see that this is going to be a big change for me. I'm going to have to get everyone out the door everyday! And arrive somewhere on time! And for some reason, his going to school makes me feel like I should be going back to work. And that doesn't really make sense, because I still have Isaac at home. I still have his big needs to meet. But, I'm worried about being bored and feeling less needed.

So, this day is turning out to be a little sad for me. Bracing for change. Wrapping my head around it all.

In other words, a good day for cake.


Mama V said...

Ditto, friend.

Last year, Lucas was one of two children in the entire class who hadn't had experience in day care. Yup.

We checked out tons of books from the library about going to preschool, and that helped him immensely. Maybe even me too. ;)

The change is hard! And it bums me to think that we'll have to go through it every year before school starts. But we'll get through it. Bring on the cake! It looks yum!

Mama V said...

Oh, and we make sure not to call it school but to call it what it is -- pre-school. Big difference. And maybe not to him as much, but it helps us feel like the pressure is off: no homework, no attendance record, no expectation to excel or take ridiculous standardized tests. Just a great excuse to play and play and play in a place outside of home (and to learn a thing or two while doing it).

Andrew is gonna love it.

Cat said...

Jake (turns 4 next week) has been going to a very small day care 2 days a week since he was 2. I saw such a huge difference: he can do more things for himself and relies less on me. He will be going to pre school next september and I will be home with only Julia to look after... I don't know when I'll go back to work and I'm not really in a hurry! As for getting there on time, you'll get a hang of it real quick!!!

Seeking La Loba said...

Why is change almost always hard? I'm glad you have cake. I wish I had cake. I should go make myself some! (Now that it's cool enough to bake.)

I think it's so sweet how Andrew was holding in his emotions and then he got hurt and he broke down.

Plus, Andrew will still so totally need you. My Mom once started rambling about the different ways she was needed as a mother, and she described the school years as a time when kids come back to you to charge up and then run out into the world, and then return to charge up again.

Robyn said...

Mama V, I got him a few books about school and I think that is what set all of this off. ug.

Cat, I hope you're right!

Loba, so sweet! I love what your mom had to say about being a school mom. comforting...

Anonymous said...

Robyn -

I am feeling your pain. I am happy for the boys, but I'm sad for me. I'm sad that I have been there practically every moment of their days for their entire lives. When I'm not with them, I feel like I am missing out on cute things they say or do -- or even bad things, that require "lessons". I'm so sad that this is the beginning and that in a few years, the majority of their day will be spent away from me and that someone might know them better than I do. But it is good for them to make friends and to learn how to sit during storytime. Good luck to you. I will be thinking about you and Andrew -- I know you both will be just fine.


Robyn said...

Funny! Steph, I was just wondering if you were feeling sad about this too. Tara told me the boys are off to school soon too. It almost feels like a mourning period! And a big adjustment to what our new normal will look like. Mourning the old, celebrating the new. Though, that might sound overly dramatic...


firefly said...

When I went away to pre-school, I cried every morning because I didn't want to miss Captain Kangaroo. But then, when I got there, I loved it so much that I cried when I had to leave to go home in the afternoon. It's such a passionate time of life!

I love the image of you and Andrew wanting/not wanting the preschool days to begin. Sweet little tears. I can't wait to hear Andrew's preschool stories.

I still have amazing feeling-memories from my preschool days. These are my two strongest:

1) At my preschool, the kids all got issued a placemat with silhouettes of the fork, spoon, plate, napkin and cup -- so you knew the right way to set the table. I thought it was magical to place my utensils into those silhouettes, just so. I felt enormously sophisticated and worldly performing such a grown-up task as setting the table.

2) Once our class raised a butterfly from a caterpillar. Daily, we peered at the fat little green caterpillar who was a champion leaf eater. We were amazed when it formed a chrysalis and absolutely breathless when Laverne, the teacher, said that by the next day, we would have a butterfly. Tragically, it was never to be. Clifton, the preschool teacher's son, woke up the next morning to check on the butterfly's progress. The chrysalis was vacated, but there was no butterfly to be seen. Clifton assumed it had been attacked and eaten by a malevolent ugly moth that somehow infiltrated our small terrarium. In revenge, he sentenced the moth to an early death. Later, Laverne belatedly explained to us that moths, like butterflies, also undergo metamorphosis. We were bitterly disappointed--not only did we not have a butterfly, but we didn't even have a moth either.

Poor Clifton. For the entirely of my life, he has survived in my memory as the moth-killer. :)

Miss Vicki said...

Isn't it interesting how Andrew at times of stress reveals his true feelings? First the statement about Isaac and now school. Does that mean trauma=truth?

Melissa said...

I loved how Andrew revealed his mixed feelings. Reminds me of myself when I was pregnant. (-:

Change is so hard. I've been going to or teaching in school every fall except one since I was 4, and I still hate the transition. I feel nervous every time I walk into a new classroom.

I bet you will feel settled before you know it. So hard to believe though, now, isn't it?

Atticus has several friends who started preschool last year after having no time in daycare or childcare at all, and they transitioned beautifully.

Even little Enzo, who cried out to me, screaming for hours after I had to leave him to go to work last semester, has now totally adjusted and is happy the whole time I'm gone. So every month, every year is different with kids. So even if Andrew doesn't adjust "smoothly" this time, he will next time. Or if he does adjust smoothly, he could still have a rough time adjusting next year. See what I mean? Kids just keep us on our toes as far as figuring out what's best for them and what works for us.

Melissa said...

when does he start?