I worried about the timing of all these new things in our lives for the kids. They were moving into a new house the same week that they started a new school and I went back to work. That’s a lot of change for me, much less for the kids. Rather than try and cram all the changes and reactions and things we’ve done to help (or hurt) the transition, I thought I’d break them up into several blog posts this week. I’ll start with Bean at school because that one is the most predictable change and reaction.
Bean is at a prime age for change to be unsettling. He knows our routine and schedule and, more importantly, he knows when we’re NOT doing our normal routine and schedule and that made school a little bit of a challenge. He spent a lot of time this summer up at the church nursery, so he sort of understood the concept of daycare. But he also knew the church nursery workers and so walking into the daycare where he didn’t know anyone was tough. The best technique with Bean (though it will differ from child to child, I’m sure) is if I give him space to feel out a situation by himself, while still being close so that he can see me. So, I stood there for a few minutes talking to his teacher while Bean cautiously ventured into the classroom with the other kids, always looking back to see if I was still there. It helped that someone had a Lightning McQueen car. He locked right in on that.
What I should have done was snuck out then. It’s what everyone says is the right thing to do. And I think I know that’s the right thing. But I don’t like the idea of him turning around and suddenly I’m gone. The thought of that kind of panic setting in for him makes me really upset. So instead, I did the wrong thing and called out, “Bye Buddy! I love you!”
And, of course, he started crying. (sigh)
I bent down, gave him a big, happy, quick hug, and told him in a singsong voice that I loved him and I would pick him up in the afternoon. He still cried, but by the time I got Gracie checked into her classroom and peeked back in on Bean, he wasn’t crying anymore. He was walking through the classroom, holding the teacher’s hand, looking at all the toys and other kids.
Our daycare has one of those video monitoring systems, so I have been logging in from my classroom and checking on Bean this week. Mostly, he seems to be doing really good. He plays and reads books and loves the slides and swings outside. And the first thing he says to me when I pick him up every afternoon is that he had “fun with fends.” He cried a little on the second and third days that I dropped him off, but by Friday he was just walking into the classroom on his own like a big dude.
On Friday afternoon when I picked Bean up, his teachers told me that he had had a bit of a rough day and had cried quite a bit. Though it breaks my heart (I cried myself when I told Chris about it), I know that days like that are just part of the adjustment period and process for Bean. The first few days may have been a little scary and overwhelming, but they were also sort of exciting for Bean. Something new and adventurous. But by Friday, I think he was realizing that this would be his new daily routine. The novelty wore off a bit and the tears flowed. He’ll work through it and, in the end, I’m sure it will just add to his incredible flexibility and comfort level with change. But when you know your child is crying because he’s scared or frustrated or lonely…well, it’s just about one of the worst kinds of hurting a parent can feel, I think.
Once we’re past these first few weeks of transition time, I know how happy Bean and our whole family will be that he is in daycare. At his age, I love that he is getting the opportunity to socialize and learn skills from others and from his peers. I miss him all day long when he’s at school, but I see the value in daycare for a two-year-old.
But for a four month old? It’s pretty hard to find value in daycare for Gracie. But she’s doing really great and I’ll give you her full report tomorrow. For now though, it’s time to get the kids up and going for their second week of daycare. It’s onward and upward from here…
(This picture has nothing to do with daycare. It just makes me giggle. The End.)