This week, Timothy started going to Mother’s Day Out. Being three this year, he goes twice a week. One evening before it started, we went to the “school” to meet his teacher and take his supplies. He proudly showed us that he could find the bear with his name on it in the hallway. We put his school supplies there by his bear, and headed toward his room. The closer we got to the room, the tighter his grip got on my hand. There was no way he was going in there. We assured him that he would not be staying that evening, but he was in panic mode. He has several friends in the class, but none of them were there at the time. He would have no part of what his teacher was trying to tell him. I’ve been around preschoolers enough to know that this reaction is no cause for concern, so we filled out the necessary paperwork and went back to the van. On the way, we passed by one of his friends. When we reached the van, Timothy informed me that he wanted to go see his class now and talk to his teacher. Wanting to encourage him to be comfortable at school, we indulged him. I walked him back to his classroom. He spoke enthusiastically to his teacher and excitedly played with the duplo blocks. He had decided that going to school was going to be okay afterall…
or so it seemed
We spent the weekend talking about school and how much fun he was going to have. Tuesday morning, he was more than happy to put on his backpack and carry his Superman lunchbox to school. Armed with my list of things to do while I was down to one child, I loaded Zachary and Timothy into the van and drove to the church where his school is held. We walked down the hall and put his backpack and lunchbox by his bear. As I was signing him in, Timothy went into the classroom. I poked my head in to tell him goodbye.
Timothy was standing in the middle of the classroom. There were several little boys playing with the duplo blocks. At the table, there were several little girls that we know from church doing some puzzles. Timothy looked up at me and started wailing. He grabbed onto my leg as he screamed “i want mama!” With the help of the teacher, Zachary and I made it out of the room. I stood out of sight and listened as the teacher calmed Timothy down. When the wailing had been reduced to sniffling, Zachary and I left. We ran our errands and then headed to our very quiet home. By the time we made it home, Zachary was snoozing so I laid him down and just enjoyed a few moments of peace.
I picked Timothy up a few hours later. He’d had a wonderful day. I had a difficult time getting him to leave. He went on and on about learning the letter A, playing with his friends, and hearing a bible story. He said he cried because he didn’t want me to leave, but that he stopped because he was a big boy.
Wednesday was a good day. We had a nice day together. That evening, we went to church for choir and prayer meeting. Scott takes him to choir since I have to get to the 1st and 2nd Grade choir a few minutes early, so I don’t know how he reacted to being left there.
Thursday was another school day. This time, I decided to leave Zachary in the van while I dropped Timothy off at his classroom. We went through a similar scene of Timothy’s teacher having to help me pry Timothy off my leg. At the end of the day, he reported once again having a lot of fun and not crying because he is a big boy.
It’s unfortunate that the first week of school coincided with the first MOPS meeting of the year. I am on the steering team, or I just may have skipped this one. I’ve been going to MOPS for 6 years now, so missing a meeting or two really isn’t something that I feel real bad about. Anyway, Friday morning I took Timothy and Zachary to the church for MOPS. MOPS meets at our church, so I really didn’t anticipate a problem dropping the boys off with the MOPPETS workers. Zachary went in to his class with no problem. Then, Timothy and I went down to his room. We went in and he started playing with the puzzles. Then, I told him I was going to my meeting. He immediately attached himself to me and started exclaiming quite loudly that he wanted mama. The MOPPETS workers helped me remove him from my leg so I could go. When I saw him again two hours later, he was so excitd to show me the burning bush he had made. He’d had a blast!
When talking about the hard time Timothy has had going to school this week, Scott and I commented that we never went through this with Emily. She went through separation anxiety as an infant, but never as she got older. Then, we figured out the main difference. She went to Mother’s Day Out at our church when I was the director. I wasn’t leaving her. I was in and out of her classroom all day. She’d run to me when I’d come in, but never had a problem with me leaving the room to check on the other classrooms. Since then, that Mother’s Day Out has closed down. Timothy’s takes place at a Church of Christ in town. I don’t pop in and out of the classroom all day long.
I probably shouldn’t be this way, but it makes me feel good that he doesn’t want me to leave him. Don’t get me wrong, it kills me to walk away from him when he’s screaming. I don’t delight in his suffering and feel really bad for the teachers (been there!), but it’s nice to know he wants me around. I know this time will pass all too quickly.