Thursday Morning

Posted on | July 18, 2013 | 28 Comments

J is a pretty easy going kid.

Even on the days when he didn’t want me to leave him at his old “school,” he would sort of pout or put his head down and fake cry.  It was more for effect than being really sad or really not wanting to be at school.

This morning, we got up in time for me to make breakfast. We snuggled on the sofa and watched Curious George. Mid way through, he looked up at me and said “I don’t want to go to school any more” and I broke a little. We talked briefly, me making light of it until he moved on to another topic, and I thought the worst was over.  Then I pulled up to the little Primary Building at his new school and he grabbed my hand and held it like a vice. We walked up the ramp and through the door, while he quietly whispered “I don’t want to stay here. I don’t want to stay here” like a violently soft dagger into my heart.

We walked in and he went straight to his cubbie, squeezing his frame all the way into the slim space, his feet dangling out.  He stared at me with those same eyes that looked at me the moment they wheeled him into my hospital room… big, open, scared… and I wanted to wrap my arms around him, lift him up, and run away.  I asked him to show me around the room a little and he did, pointing out the fish and the gecko. When I picked him up to hug him, I realized he’d gotten syrup on his shorts and told him he needed to change pants. The teacher walked over, held out her hand and he took it quietly.  She started to walk him towards the restroom to change and he looked back at me once, eyes wide.

I plastered a smile on my face and waved.

“I’ll be back. Have a great day! I love you!” My voice sounded artificial, pouring out and around the cracks and breaks in my heart.  He didn’t speak.  He didn’t scream or cry or pout.  Instead, his head fell to his chest, his bottom lip shook slightly, and tears poured out of his eyes.

He didn’t even look at me, didn’t even stop his walk to the restroom, hand in hand with his teacher. With his face turned down and tears streaming down his cheeks, it was just the barest murmur… just the sharpest arrow from his mouth to my heart:

“Don’t leave me here.”

And I broke into millions of pieces, spiraling out of myself and into this new place where my baby is a boy and I can not fix his hurts.



28 Responses to “Thursday Morning”

  1. Robyn
    July 18th, 2013 @ 11:04 am

    This broke my heart into a million pieces. There are mornings kind of similar to this in my house… “I don’t want to go to daycare. I want to stay home and snuggle you!” Although most of the time the tears and protests are fake and probably due to the fact the he is just tired. This story just kills me… It would have taken all my strength not to scoop him up and go back home and never let go of my baby boy… You are doing a good job, momma! Single parenting is HARD!

  2. Law Momma
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

    Thank you!!!! It is hard. I want to fix it for him, even though I know the only way is THROUGH these next few weeks.

  3. KB_paralegal_ca
    July 18th, 2013 @ 11:18 am

    Wow, this is so sad, LawMomma. And disturbing. Something’s really wrong if your normally happy child feels so strongly about this school. This is not pretend, fake or trying to stay with mommy. This is fear of being left at a place he does not want to be. Trust your instincts. You knew very soon it’s not right, can you change the school?

  4. Joanna
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

    ugh, disagree.

  5. KB_paralegal_ca
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

    I don’t know, Joanna. I have moved my children out of providers’ care because it did not feel right (not that anything was wrong, it was just wrong for us and our children were not happy). They did much better in the place we moved them to.

    I have spoken to good providers when the environment needed to be (and could be) changed. I found that some providers did not want to talk to us about problems because they wanted to try to fix them without our input first. We knew the kids did not enjoy that school but only found out why at the very end of a whole year – what a waste of everyone’s time and effort (not to mention money) and no wonder that our kids were always miserable about having to go there.

    I believe that children can have fun from day one in a school or a daycare and that is a really important indicator how good a place it will be down the road. If my kids enjoy the first two weeks and then get bored, that’s fine. But if they don’t like it from day one and it gets worse – I think then they may very well be in the wrong spot.

    Anyway, I hope J will find some friends at his new school and he’ll be his happy normal self very soon. Hugs to you, LawMomma. I love how much you are in tune with your boy and how well you know him. Kudos!

  6. Joanna
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

    See, but that’s the thing. You didn’t say, “do you think maybe it’s the school just isn’t right for J?”

    You said that it was “disturbing” and “something is really wrong” which are awfully strong statements to make as you observe a situation from your computer.

  7. KB_paralegal_ca
    July 18th, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

    Yes, you’re right. I got carried away with how strongly I felt about what LawMomma wrote. Thanks for pointing it out, Joanna.

  8. Law Momma
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

    Oh I really don’t think it’s the school! It’s just… change is hard! It’s a new environment. It’s new kids. It’s new teachers. I know he’ll be just fine… it’s just hard in the meantime while he adjusts.

  9. a happier girl
    July 18th, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    Changing schools is hard. It just is. So is being a mother for that matter! Stay positive and strong. Every working mom has been there. It will get better!

  10. Law Momma
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

    It is so hard. But we get through it… slowly.

  11. Joanna
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

    This is so NOT an indication of something really wrong. It is rip your heart out sad, for sure… but it WILL get better. Kids adjust to change differently. He just needs some time. Even as adults, some of us have a hard time going somewhere new where we won’t know anyone. You’d rather stay at home or be back in your comfort zone. I promise you will look back on this sooner than you think and it will be a distant memory, not your everyday. big hugs.

  12. Law Momma
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

    Oh I know. I told the boyfriend that I was overreacting… you know how it is though… you want to fix the pain! 🙂

    I’m ready to fast forward a few weeks to when he’s all “IS IT SCHOOL TIME YET?”

  13. Joanna
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

    I don’t think you are overreacting. Your cry and subsequent post sound exactly like normal mom reacting 🙂

  14. Law Momma
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

    LOL okay good. 🙂

  15. ryenerman
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

    Oh my heart is breaking too. I’ve been there. When Oldest was 2.5, the daycare he’d attended for 2 years moved him up to a class with kids who were all 3 and older. He would have been fine except that first thing in the morning they went to playground, which was predictably chaotic and Oldest was overwhelmed every morning. Their only suggestion was to bring him to school after playground. Um yeah, playground starts at 8 and I have to be at work at 8, so that wasn’t going to work. I cried in the Director’s office talking about it, I cried with the teachers, I cried at night. It really REALLY sucked. I mean I know that in life kids will have to encounter hardship, but does it have to happen at 2.5? The only thing I can offer is that Oldest eventually got comfortable enough to love morning playground and 8 years later is a happy, well-adjusted kid who remembers nothing of the experience. I, of course, still vividly remember the heartbreak and wish like heck you didn’t have to have a similar experience!

  16. Law Momma
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

    I know. Sometimes is WAY harder on us, isn’t it? 🙂 This will just be a memory one day… I’ll look back on this post and smile. I hope…

  17. Ldubb
    July 18th, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

    Oh that is just heart breaking! I wish for you a different experience at pick up today. I hope when you get there this afternoon he is happily playing. I find that often the breaking point for me tends to be the tipping point for my kids. Whenever we get to a point where I can barely stand what is affecting them…they seem to rebound and bounce right back. Wishing that for you and J.

  18. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2013 @ 8:29 am

    Happily he was HAPPY when I picked him up. He made new friends and was ready to tell me all about it. 🙂

  19. Laurie
    July 19th, 2013 @ 8:26 am

    Trust your child and trust his instincts. Trust that he is being truthful to his gut feeling and something isn’t right. One of my strongest memories is being placed in a school that was a bad fit. I was 3 or 4 and the memory is still horrible. When my boys started preschool at the “top and bestt school in town”, my middle son cried and cried – for a week. I kept getting the “he’ll be fine”, “it’s just a new situation” blah blah blah. I went with my gut and moved my boys to a different but not as we’ll known school. They loved it from the get go and it was the best decision.

    Trust sweet J and know this is not a good place for him! It maybe a great school but not for him.

  20. Law Momma
    July 19th, 2013 @ 8:30 am

    I think a lot of his anxiety about the last few days was because his teacher had a family situation and she had to miss a few days. She was back today and he couldn’t have been happier to say goodbye to me and get right to school. Hopefully he’ll be just as happy today at pick up as he was yesterday afternoon!

  21. Laurie
    July 19th, 2013 @ 8:53 am

    I sure hope so! It never hurts to ask him what is wrong and why he’s sad about the school.

  22. Robbie K
    July 20th, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

    It really is harder on us mommas than it is on them. I taught pre-k for 12 years and have 3 of my own so I totally get this. Change is hard and some people take longer to adjust than others. Communicate openly with the teachers and ask how he is adjusting, any tips they might have etc.

  23. Law Momma
    July 24th, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

    He’s much better now. His teachers said he was fine last week… I think a lot of it was just the newness and missing the familiar routine. He’s full steam ahead now and can’t wait to get to school in the mornings.

  24. KristinaYellow
    July 20th, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

    You are such a good momma. This post really broke my heart because I know how it feels and how much it hurts when you think that other kids don’t see the specialness that is your child. I think I over-react because I’m flashing back to my own bad school experiences. I’m really hoping he settles in soon and starts to love school so that you can be more at peace with things.

  25. Law Momma
    July 24th, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

    Awww, thanks! It does hurt when your kid isn’t happy!

  26. Mrs. Burks
    July 24th, 2013 @ 9:58 am

    Oh, that is brutal. My husband typically takes the boys to school and says he never has any issues with them not wanting to stay there. But when I take them to school, it’s different for my youngest son. My 4-year old runs down the hall to his classroom and can’t wait to start his day with his friends. But my little one gets a death grip on my hand or my leg or whatever else he can grasp when it is time for me to leave. He doesn’t cry, but I can tell he is thinking “why is my mom leaving me? She never leaves me unless I’m with Daddy.” It crushes me every time. I’m not sure I could handle doing the drop-off every day. 🙁 Your J is such a sweetheart and I think your reaction is perfectly normal and expected.

  27. Law Momma
    July 24th, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

    I’m so happy that this week has been different! He’s happy and loving his new school now and I couldn’t be more grateful!!

  28. NinjaPanza
    July 30th, 2013 @ 11:36 am

    Just wanted to say that I wanted to cry with you. Happy to see from the comments that he’s doing better! 🙂

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