Monday, September 17, 2007

Settling

Today I used my lunch break (“break” because, honestly, it was waaaay more than an hour) to join Bump for Lumpyhead’s preschool pickup.

I received happy reports of how Lumpyhead did better today. He had a rough start - cried for about an hour - but his teacher dug up a copy of Dr. Seuss’s ABCs that Lumpyhead carried around for the rest of the day.

I’m happy with his progress. I hope Thursday will be better, next Monday better still, and eventually there will be no tears.

I’m chagrined that Lumpyhead cries. I know he is not the only two-year-old bellowing in the room, but I also know there are children who manage to be apart from their parents without throwing a gasping hissy fit. I didn’t think Lumpyhead had separation issues, but I guess all his babysitters have come to our house where he has been surrounded by his toys and books and familiar things, so how could I judge his separation issues?

Which leads to all sorts of doubts. Was this squealing avoidable? Did we coddle him? Is this just a phase? Does it have to be this hard?

I want everyone to be as delighted by my son as I am. I want him to thrive in new settings and not bawl his eyes out. I don’t want his little nametag to be unnecessary because all the parents and staff recognize him as Lumpyhead, The Kid Who Is Always Crying.

I want him to impress his teacher with his ability to count to twenty, not shock her with his wailing endurance. I want him to show that he can recognize every letter and describe what sound it makes, not display how much snot one little boy can produce when he spends four hours caterwauling.

When I pick him up I want his bright eyes to twinkle with humor, no longer red-rimmed with tear-clumped lashes.

For now, I will settle for a boy who spends his day at school clutching a sticky book as a talisman, finding comfort between occasional crying jags until we come to retrieve him.

8 comments:

E :) said...

On my first day of grade 1 when I was five, I stormed up to the teacher, told her my full name, phone number, and demanded to go home right away.

About half an hour later, the teacher was talking to the teacher's aide about whether I "had settled down." I stormed up to them and said, "No I am not. This is my phone number, call my mother right now please." And so they did. I got to go home before lunch. I rule.

I would hate to be my mother, the wonderful saint that she is...

laurie said...

oh man. i know how much this tears you up inside. i've been there i've been there i've been there. even though it went better, you want it to be perfect because you know he can do it. i totally know.

i have no advice for you, but having been there in the same trench, i've got an empathetic pat on the shoulder. also i'd be happy to talk about it if you want a voice from the future. anytime.

good luck. hope thursday's better!

Violet said...

It's just going to take a little while. It took weeks and weeks before my daughter could be left without a cry.

Anne said...

For what it's worth, he *never* cries for more than, like, 10 seconds when you leave the house. I *totally* know he can do it.

Ken and Belly said...

And how sweet is it that he picks a BOOK to comfort himself? You're doing something (heck, a LOT of things right) if he likes books that much!

Em said...

He had a better day. That's great!

It's a big change, so I wouldn't even consider his crying indicative of anything greater or anything that you could have avoided.

But maybe you shouldn't teach him his phone number just yet...

mo-wo said...

it is so much easier if you just want to keep the thrill that is them all to yourself. let that be their secret identity and everyone else can think they're just barely conversant ewoks. much less stress that way.

if it is any consolation you practically MAKE ME enjoy him like you do.

mo-wo said...

ps.. my SIL cried her first day at preschool. the teachers ran out of all their tricks an ultimately held her upside down by her ankles until she stopped crying.,

nice image eh?

glad they don't do that anymore. I think