Out of my three boys, I guess I expected my third son to have the no problems adjusting to nursery school. But then children are unpredictable, aren’t they? He was the house tuffy, independent, refused to cry, and would take on anyone any size. He was a joker and loved to put you on. I guess that’s because he always had to fight for whatever he wanted because he was the youngest of my three boys.
So it was a shocker when we went to his first day of preschool, he suddenly decided he wasn’t getting out of the car.
This couldn’t be my independent youngest saying this!
After some convincing, I finally coaxed him to the classroom door. He hesitated in front of it, but as other parents brought their children inside, somehow we were maneuvered into the classroom in the shuffle. You’d think it was a snake pit from the look on his face. I knew I was in for trouble when I felt him grip my leg. That gesture set off alarm bells. I glanced around. Some children were clinging to their mothers, but I could feel mine digging gouges into my leg.
We placed his lunch in a cubby. Then I quickly walked around with him showing him all the nifty things there were in the classroom and how fun it was all going to be.
Then the teacher announced, “Well, it’s time for the parents to go now.”
He glanced up at me then calmly walked over to his cubby, pick up his lunchbox, came back to me, and nonchalantly announced without stopping, “I think I’m going home now,” and headed for the door. I made a mad dash and blocked him. All of a sudden it wasn’t a three year old I was dealing with, it was a football linebacker as he tried to make a break for it.
All I heard was a firm, “I’m. Not. Staying.” Then tears began trailing down his cheeks. He gripped my leg again when the teacher approached, saying things would settle down and maybe I should go. She gently pried his fingers from me and firmly, but lovingly, escorted him away. My last glance back I caught him aim a kick at her shin, but she expertly dodged it and patiently smiled down at him, talking a blue streak.
I was on pins and needles eyeing my phone all day, but no 911 call came.
When I arrived for pickup later that day, the teacher explained what bewildered everyone was that after he cried for thirty minutes he was an excellent student in every possible way. Maybe we should try another approach the next morning to make separation from me less traumatic. She suggested I stay longer until he became acclimated to his new environment.
Well, after delaying my exit the next day, every time I rose, so did he. Every time I started to walk slowly to the door, so did he. Final result? A teary encounter.
The subsequent morning as I eyed the exit, the teacher said to my son and another child, “I need help carrying some lunch boxes to the kitchen today. Please help.”
So my son picked up two boxes, turned to me and said, “Aren’t you coming?”
I told him, “No, parents have to wait out here.”
He turned every three or four steps to see if I was still there all the way back to the kitchen. Then when they were out of sight, another teacher waved me out. I raced to my car and drove out: guilt trailing all the way, realizing I couldn’t stay there all day.
Later on, the teacher informed me that when they came out from the kitchen, he registered shock and made a run for the parking lot to look for my car. She almost had a heart attack, but finally caught up to him just before the main door.
Week one: every possible tactic was tried on both sides.
Originality award: He unraveled all the toilet paper in the bathroom in protest.
It was gridlock as to who would win the nursery school separation battle of wills.
On the first day of week two as we drove to school, I contemplated forgetting the whole idea of nursery school. It wasn’t worth it. But then out of the clear blue sky, my youngest announced, “I think I’m not going to cry today.”
Be still my heart.
He walked into the class holding my hand, asked me to stay for a few minutes, which I did, and then he sat down at his table. I leaned down, gave him a kiss, whispered goodbye, and headed for the door. But then I felt a little tug on my clothes. I turned and held my breath. He stared up at me. My heart sank, as his eyes turned a little teary. But then he reached up and gave me another kiss and hug then walked back to his seat. Now I was teary-eyed as the teacher winked and closed the door between us. I waved through the glass panel of the door, so proud of my youngest.
I walked to my car beaming with relief. This battle was over. I had at least two years to prepare him for riding on a school bus. I stopped dead in my tracks.
He’d be two years older, stronger and faster, wouldn’t he?
P.S. Life lessons: Have a plan, a 2nd plan, a 3rd plan, and most of all, have patience.
As an author I try and plan for every scenario, twist, and stumbling block when weaving my mysteries. I have a basic goal in mind and don’t give up. I keep trying different scenarios until it works out. Of course that’s easier said than done on some days. My mantra to my protagonist, Sam, the female sleuth of my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series: Expect the unexpected. And even though the two of us constantly fight over dialogue, we manage to reach détente by the end of the book.
My delete tab warning works like a charm every time…
Remember, everyday is a blessing. Don’t take any of them for granted.