Monday, August 31, 2009

Preschool: Forced Independence

I have been missing from the blog world. Really, I have been somewhat missing from the real world. I have been lost in myself for about a week, trying to give myself some resting time and attempting to gain some order in our home. I have been sick with major allergy issues, the children have been the same and I have been just plain exhausted. The smoke from the California wildfires has settled in the Las Vegas valley for our children, Rick, me and everyone else to breathe in. The air here is already very dusty and dirty, now it is also smoky. My throat is sore, my nose is running one minute and clogged or snotty the next. HELP! Where are my darn tissues?

Nick started preschool last week. As with any change, Nick has taken a little bit to get used to things. He seemed excited about the school's activities, new friends, and going to a "big boy" school; but, each day at drop-off time the drama was overwhelming.

Picture this: Me holding Lyla in one arm, gripping Jacob's hand with the other as he struggles to break free and plow through the toys neatly organized on the classroom shelves. Then, there's Nick...crying, sobbing, gripping my leg as if to be grasping for the only life preserver in a bright blue sea of huge waves. He continues to cry, "Mommy! Mommy! No! I'm scared!" I try to reason with him and calm his fears while still struggling to keep a tight hold on Jacob and Lyla.

By this time, Lyla is starting to join Jacob in his fight for freedom. Nick is really putting on the dramatics. He clings to my bum and won't move. He is hiding from the teacher who is trying to coerce him to play with the other children. I turn, he moves behind me. I turn again, he follows. Finally, I make the decision to walk out. I just have to leave. He will be fine once I am gone. Plan A: FAIL. Nope. Nicholas continued to grip my leg and would not budge. The teacher and I make a plan B: I walk away with Jacob and Lyla, Nick gets pried from my leg by the teacher. I warned her. I was sure it would be rough. He can get very angry when made to do something. I worried for her....and for Nick. The teacher reassured me, told me that she had four children of her own (FOUR?!) and was so kind and gentle with Nick. Plan B: PASS.

I can't stand this; I detest making Nick do something that he is afraid of. I want to shelter him and calm his fears. But, at some point, this is necessary. The children eventually need to learn how to be independent of me. They need to learn to stand on their own--attending school is just the first step. In a way, it is a little sad. It is just one little inch closer to Nick growing up. Then one day, I will stand looking at him all grown and wondering where that scared little boy has gone. I suppose parenting is all the same here as it is anywhere else. Our goal should be that our children one day function and contribute to society independently. (And not be deranged lunatics, I suppose).

Today's school experience was an entirely different story. At home, Nick told me he was happy to go back to school and continued to rant and rave about school all weekend. I was overjoyed when he didn't totally freak out when we walked in. He still seemed a little nervous, but flashed me his smile as I waved goodbye. No crying....a little whimper, but not bad. Shew!

For Nick, change is hard. I guess with him, one of my goals will be to help him to realize that sometimes change is good and give him the self esteem and self confidence to weather whatever crosses his path. Starting school is stressful, yes...but there is no doubt that he is able to handle this small little change, just the start of all the ups and downs of life.


Loukia said...

This was such an amazing post. So well written and so very true. I'm scared and sad for my oldest son to be starting kindergarten soon. I know on one hand, he needs to do this, to go to school, to gain some independence, to learn, to be social, but I feel bad, too. He is very attached to me and his father and my mom, and I'm scared for him. It's so emotional, isn't it?

Kelly L said...

I have cried every year on the first day of school - something about my babies growing up - this year my youngest is in 6th last year of elementary and my oldest is in 8th grade last year of junior high....
Next week I expect to cry some more...