Thursday, October 1, 2009

don't go

I stood outside the classroom door hoping no one would pass by to see tears streaming down my face. LittleR Dude was crying in the room.

His face is still etched in my mind. Hysterical and tearful. A lot like what I'm feeling at the moment. His arms reached out for me as one of his teachers carried him away.

I can hear her trying to interest him in doing a puzzle on the floor now. Another child has started to wail. LittleR Dude is still upset but is sobbing more quietly.

I wanted to walk back in the room and carry him away with me. Sorry. Changed my mind. Little Dude can stay. LittleR Dude is mine.

This did not happen, of course. Another teacher saw me outside the door and gave me a short pep talk. I left and went to Starbucks. But breakfast and a latte did not provide much comfort.

I wondered if LittleR Dude was ready for nursery school. I wondered if having the boys there 2 mornings a week made any sense.

My insides churned all morning. I tried to rethink through the reasons why I needed occasional childcare. To have time to myself. Time to do chores. The boys are young for only a short while. Surely, I can wait for another year or two until ...

The first day of nursery school went so well. I had psyched myself up for a tearful goodbye then. Unlike his older brother, LittleR Dude did not take to new people and new situations as easily. I was ready for the resistance that never came that first day.

LittleR Dude barely took notice of my absence when I dropped them off 3 weeks ago. I spent that morning doing some much needed vacuuming and mopping. It felt surprisingly exhilarating to be doing housework without my boys underfoot. And the smiles and hugs that greeted me when I picked them up warmed my heart.

I was not prepared for the emotions that overwhelmed me this morning. I returned to the daycare a half an hour early. To observe. To think out loud. To chat.

I found LittleR Dude filling a bucket with sand. He seemed content. I waved at him when he looked up. He waved back but continued playing.

They showed me a video of him jumping around with the other children during a song at Circle Time. They said he had a great day. I think they sensed I wanted to pull LittleR Dude out of nursery school.

It comforted me to see the video. To hear that he eventually settled and had fun. Tears began to flow again. Mostly out of relief, I think.


This morning I was reminded of why I blog: to express, to share, to vent, to celebrate, to think, to cry and, sometimes, perhaps even to know that I am not alone in my experiences and thoughts. 

I know I haven't been a good blogger lately but would love to hear some advice/wisdom on handling separation issues with a two-year-old.


  1. Oh honey - you poor thing - but I honestly don't think there's a parent who hasn't been through what you're going through. My eldest girl took 3 months to settle in to nursery - she screamed and got hysterical each and every time I left her (she was 18 months). It was heartbreaking. But I truly needed a moment to myself. Although having said that I almost had to take her out...but she eventually settled down because I changed her days to coincide with another little boy she knew. Made all the difference. And then my second one came along and I put her in at 10 months (just one morning a week) and she never cried one bit. It's amazing how two siblings of the same sex can be so different. But they all settle in eventually and I do think it's good for them - to mix with other children, to listen to instructions from someone else other than Mummy, etc, etc...and most end up enjoying it because it's a place where they do different stuff from home. And for me, the break I got whilst they were at nursery was so important - not because I didn't love them or want to be with them, but simply because I needed time to breathe so I could be a better Mummy for them when they were out of nursery. LittleR Dude will settle down. Just be patient. Love and hugs to you xxx

  2. I've been reading your well-written blog for quite a while now, and was thrilled to see that you're posting again. I thought this might be a good opportunity to reveal myself :) I'm the mother of a two-year old who goes to nursery school five days a week (well, that's how we do it here in Norway). There has certainly been many tearful mornings when I leave him there(and sometimes tears from me as well, espcially in the beginning). But if I sneak a peek at him through the window, or check with the personnel later how his day has been, it's always the same: He settles down quickly with toys or a book, and enjoys the rest of the day with the other children. He can get pretty bored and grumpy in the week-ends, when nothing's happening playwise.

    I think that sometimes nursery school is worse for parents than for children. The child might prefer us to stay with him in the nursery school,instead of being there by himself, but I don't think it's harmful for him to be there. On the contrary, I think it's quite healthy. It might be more harmful to keep him at home all the time. And I agree with Maternal tales that the free time generated makes one a better mum, absolutely.

  3. My almost 2 year-old goes one day a week. She normally loves it. This morning she got clingy when it was time for me to leave and then started to cry. And when my 4 year-old (who had gone to daycare every day for 2 years) started a 2-day nursery school she cried about it for two weeks. And then she was fine. She still has days when she pitches a fit and wants to come back home with me. But as long as she's not sick, I make her stay.

    It's so stressful, especially because they both go back and forth from loving it to clinging to me. But it sounds like what you're going through is the natural responses to this kind of change. Or, it just happens to be exactly what I went through. You're doing a great job. And the guilt will pass.

  4. Hiya - I have this theory about the days the spud gets clingy at nursery... it's not that he hates it or is lonely or anything awful, it's just that he loves us and doesn't like to see us go. So, he does everything he can to get us to stay and, after we leave, he pulls himself together and gets on with enjoying it because really he does like his nursery. They don't really want to be apart from us but once they are, they're ok really... good luck with it all!

  5. Hi Tia,
    Awww, sweetie, I feel your pain. As I'm sure any mother that has taken their child to daycare for the first time.
    Hardest thing EVER to see their little faces sobbing and scared. I still remember the first time as well.
    But if it will offer you any comfort, I was a preschool teacher for years and I have seen my share of seperation anxiety. And I have to say this... usually, 30 seconds after you walk out the door, they are off and running and having fun. If you're nursery took the time and care to video it so you could see what was going on then I think you have yourself a good one there... a place where your little one will be treated with respect and kindness.
    Hang in there. It does get better, for both of you.
    What a wonderful mother you are!!! So, sit back and try to enjoy that Starbucks next time.

    So glad I stopped by for a visit. Truly a wonderful blog. You are a very gifted writer, and I look forward to following along with you!