Today I dropped you off for your third session at pre-school.
You started your regular, twice a week, session at St Petroc’s Pre-School on the 9th January.
To say I’ve been dreading you starting at pre-school is an understatement. You’ve never been left with anyone other than myself or your Daddy, apart from on two short occasions and it’s times like this I feel dreadful that you’ve missed out on having grandparents that are; a) alive or b) live close enough that you know them well enough for you to stay with for any length of time. There’s nothing I can do about this unfortunately, but this means that I fear you’re probably suffering separation anxiety a little more than on average.
The taster sessions went ok, though after we left you for the second one you became quite fixated on the whole, leaving you thing and this has, and continues to be our biggest hurdle.
Both myself and Daddy dropped you off for your first day at school and although you asked us not to go, on the whole you seemed ok, especially when I spotted the Treasure Chest and Miss Brown kindly got it down only to discover it was FULL of pirate paraphernalia. That was you suitably absorbed enough for us to say our goodbyes and leave. I’m not ashamed to say we cried in the foyer, we hung your bag on your own little peg and I pretty much sobbed all the way home.
I felt lost without you and filled my time with doing some yoga, had a bath and did some housework and what seemed like a lifetime later (4 hours), I picked you up.
I got there 5 minutes early and met the lady that runs the early years, who was lovely, and told me that you had experienced a couple of wobbles but, with the help of Bing, and distraction, you recovered ok and that you had been hanging about with another new boy called Carson and you had both been a great distraction to each other as he had been missing his mummy too. On seeing me you burst into tears which broke my heart all over again and you came over trying to hide your tears behind the pictures you had drawn. You gave me the biggest hug and practically dragged me out the door telling me you had got two stickers for being a ‘good boy’ and ‘helping tidy up’. You said you had fun, but categorically told me that you weren’t going to go back.
We went for a swim at Splash as a treat afterwards where we had a great time for over 2 hours.
All started fairly well until I put your coat on and you asked me where we were going. As soon as I said school you fell apart. You begged me and sobbed all the way down there. It broke me. I couldn’t keep it together in the car, I felt so guilty. You clung to me as I walked to the front door and refused to let me go. Ms White was there that morning and you were the first in but nothing would calm you. I desperately tried to hold it together in there, we found things that might distract you but you were inconsolable. In the end I had to go and Ms White took you away from me. I’m so sorry I had to leave quickly my darling boy because I didn’t want you to see me fall apart. The guilt I felt was incredible. If I was leaving you there to go to work I would have a valid reason, but to leave you there for no reason made me feel like the worst parent ever. I pretty much sobbed on and off, all morning until I went to pick you up.
I wish I could explain to you in a way that you understood, why it’s important for you to attend pre-school. I really don’t want you to have to start big school full time without ever having experienced that sort of setting. That would be just dreadful.
There were no tears when I picked you up this time (despite mummy being told off for not providing wellies, which were actually in your bag, and waterproofs despite it not being wet) You told me you had been playing outside on your own, had been told you weren’t allowed in the mud kitchen and that you had got two more stickers. You were also covered in blue ink so you must have done some drawing at some point in the session.
Afterwards we went to the toy shop to buy a treat, and much to my amazement you went for the much cheaper option of what I was going to get you. You did state, however, you weren’t going to go back to school, ever!
Day 3 (today)
This started a bit more positively, we discussed starting a reward chart with you, where you can collect all the stickers you earn from school, add them to ones you can earn at home, and when you fill it up you can buy something you want. I said that we could make the chart after school and this seemed to help but the closer we got to leaving, the more you said you didn’t want me to leave, I ended up telling a heinous lie.
I told you that I would wait for you in the car outside but that you wouldn’t be able to come and see me but you’d know I was close by and you’d know what I’d be doing. This meant you trotted into school without one complaint and sat down and played with Isabelle, said goodbye and didn’t even watch me leave. When I got into the foyer I heard you start to cry but Miss Brown was ever so nice and I could hear her comfort you and tell you that you were being a brave boy, to which you agreed.
I left and walked home, sobbing all the way. I felt dreadful. I felt terrible that I’d lied to you. I envisaged all manner of scenarios where this lie would unravel and really hurt you. I knew the teachers would probably say it was a terrible thing to do, and that by doing so I was going to mess you up mentally forever. I just thought, in that moment, that it’d make it easier for both of us and help you through the session.
On picking you up we had no tears, thogh you certainly looked like you had been crying. The teacher told me that you had a few wobbles through the morning and that unless you were with one of them, or absorbed in something, then you become a bit lost and they are the moments you wobbled. This made me feel terrible. I hate the thought that you feel lonely, lost and sad. I wanted school to be a positive and fun experience. I wanted you to love it. I just wish you had a couple of your friends in your class, I thought you’d make a friend quicker. I thought lots of things, I hoped for lots of things and although I know that you will find your place eventually, I really hoped it’d come easier to you.
The teacher said that you sat beautifully for story time and enjoyed the book and although you sat for snacks, you didn’t eat anything. You made gingerbread men and must have done some drawing at some point because you were covered in orange pen today. Song time was a bit of a disappointment as you angrily announced that you weren’t allowed to sing Jingle Bells because Miss Brown said it wasn’t Christmas anymore. I said that next time you should ask for Wind the Bobbin Up or Wheels on the Bus. You got 1 sticker today for helping tidy up.
We went home and you said you had fun but didn’t want to go back and asked if I’d stayed in the car, I knew this lie would come back and bite me, I really didn’t want to have to continue the bloody thing. Anyway, we went home and made your reward chart and stuck all your stickers on it and here’s hoping for a more successful session on Friday.
Dear God, let it get easier. I’m not sure my nerves can cope with much more of this. I actually don’t know who dreads it more, you or me?