If you have been following me on Instagram, you will already know that Kai started going to playschool and he is not happy about it. He will be turning two next month, which might be a little young for school but I’m a working mom. Grandma has been kind enough to take care of him so far and we could definitely take advantage of her a little longer but that wouldn’t be fair.
It was a struggle for me to make the decision to have him start school this year because daycare and playschool was not how I was raised and the fear of leaving my child with strangers for a good few hours a day, isn’t great … but I started to notice that Kai would look at other kids and be excited by seeing them though he would never just start engaging with them in the same way that he would with adults.
It’s understandable that he would be more comfortable with adults because that’s all he knows, the youngest person he interacts with on a regular basis is 18 years older than him. Now I was an only child for six years but I had cousins my age who I visited regularly which is the biggest difference and so the search for a playschool began and ended at the first school we visited
Friendly staff, spacious classrooms, a curriculum (for a two-year-old…crazy or maybe that’s normal now) great reviews and when I just knocked on the door without an appointment, they walked me through and showed me around a very impressive space (it was at the end of the day, so clean and tidy was a winner for me.) On the official open day it was not much different than my surprise visit and I was very happy that they didn’t put on a “show” it was a what you see, is what you get experience and we were very happy that it was “The One.”
I spent a lot of time preparing for the first day, from taking Kai shopping for school bags (Yes, plural – he picked two of them) to going on a hunt for the perfect snack box and testing him to see if he would eat out of it (and Yes…I have spontaneous insanity.)
First day of school was great, Kai was reluctant to walk into the school but once he spotted the sandbox and the playground he was ready to explore. We gave him kisses, said our quick goodbyes and left, just as we were prepped to do.
Then I burst into tears in the parking lot, I didn’t know that the school owner was watching me until she came outside and invited me back into her office to watch him on the monitor. I didn’t hesitate or think that it would be polite to decline her offer, I was in her office and in front of the screen faster than the very very speedy rabbit.
Kai was fine – being carried around by a teacher and watching the other kids. – Great.
We went for breakfast, did a little shopping and Neeren had a coffee while I got my hair done, all this without me stressing and annoying my husband to the point where he has to take deep breaths and repeat to himself “my wife is crazy but she warned me before I married her.”
The rest of the day was a major downer, Kai cried when we picked him up. It was a cry I never experienced from him before. It was the emotional cry of relief and it broke my heart because I have cried that cry before and its exhausting and painful.
I started to wonder what he thought of this whole school thing, did he think I abandoned him. He doesn’t understand school or that mommy has to work. I spent the rest of the day just watching him play, whilst the mom guilty found a home in my heart and mind.
Week one – the tears would start from the moment I would park the car in the school parking lot and I had to fight back my own tears until I was back in the car.
Week two – the tears started from the moment I put him in the car seat at home.
My only comfort was that his teachers say that he is fine after I leave and only cries after nap times and when we pick him up.
All I could think about was the amazing mommy stories about kids who took to school so well or were fine after the first week, I wondered if we had started school to soon, should we have waited one more year, but the answer is No.
The more I speak about Kai struggling with playschool the more I hear that other mom’s are going through the same thing or have gone through the same thing with kids of different aging.
So, I decided to get out of my own head, he was going to adapter in his own time and mommy had to stop being so weakened by crying that stopped immediately after I walk out the door. My mommy energy before drop-off had to change because as connected as I am to my child, he is connected to me.
Today he cried as expected but when one of his teacher came to get him, he didn’t hold onto me, he went to her (still crying) and asked her if, “mommy’s coming now?”
It’s a small but significant change and hopefully the start of Kai adapting to his new routine. I know that I am not alone in my worry, anxiety and mom guilt, it’s the daily hurdles in our mommy journey’s.
Is he too young? again No, he’s not. Since I wasn’t so involved in my own dramatic state this morning, I noticed the little boy being carried into the three-year-old classroom, crying and holding on to his dad, I noticed two slightly older kids fussing with tears in their eyes and one much older child trying to reason with mom to take him back home.
I also realized that my son knows I wouldn’t abandoned him. As I drove to work, I could hear him say, “mommy’s coming now.”
That was not a question, he wasn’t asking his teacher if I was coming now, he was telling her that I was coming now and he is right. Mommy is coming now because no matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I am not with my family, I am focused on getting back to them, same as every other mommy.