Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Coddling? / Thanks For The Memory

Well today was stab number two at preschooling Clara.  It's only ten am and we are back at home....

This is how the morning went...

  • We got to the school.  Clara seemed fine. 
          (They hadn't opened the door yet.)
  • In the three minutes it took for them to open the door Clara was starting to get her crazy eyes and making whimpering noises.  (She does this when she gets scared and before major meltdowns start.)  
  • They unlocked the door.  
  • Clara starts sobbing while telling me she wants to go home, to bed, she's hungry, etc.  Basically wanting to do anything EXCEPT go to school.  
  • I get Clara to stop crying and stand by the wall while I talk to the teacher.
  • Clara stood right where I told her to, making horrible deep chest, inward sobbing sounds. 

This was the first time I had a chance to talk to the teacher since last week's horrible terrible first school experience.  After pleasantries I asked the teacher exactly what she did to try and help Clara not be as frightened.  

"Well I asked her about her dog and I tried to engage her in the conversation every now and then."

I asked if anything was done to actually tried to make her comforted, as in any type of warm gesture at all. 

"No, we don't do that here."

At this point I was almost in tears and this is why.  I understand that you shouldn't cuddle with the kids at a preschool.  It's a school and not a daycare.  But why wouldn't you try and do ANYTHING more then "ask her about her dog," and "try and engage her in the conversation now and then."  Not only did the answers feel, but the way she said it felt very cold to me.  (And I'm an adult!)

 I told her thank you for her time, took Clara to the front desk, cancelled her registration and got our money back.

(Seriously.  I have to apologize to the nice lady at the registration desk who kept telling the crazy lady who was desperately trying to hold back tears with a sobbing toddler that it was okay.  I'm so sorry nice lady.  Thank you for not making me feel worse.)

After we left I called the Mister to tell him how the morning went.  I was surprised to find the way  I feel and the way he feels about this situation are completely different.  He thinks I am coddling her and that I just need to leave her there to let her figure it out on her own.

I get it.  I totally do.  We searched and searched for preschools that wouldn't cost us $20k + a year.  We broke our backs trying to get the kid potty trained in time for registration.  We found (what looked to be) the perfect preschool, right by our house, with an unbeatable price.

But this does not feel right.  

She should not wake up in the morning and tearfully ask if I am going to make her go to school.  That is not what I want her first memory of school to be of.  It should be happy.  It should be carefree.

Maybe I am having so much trouble because Rhiannon literally high fived me on her first day of school while skipping to the bus.  I never had to deal with this separation anxiety before.  

Maybe I DO coddle Clara.  

I know I am extra cautious of her.  I think that is pretty normal of parents who had to deal with the mortality of their child  from birth.

Fact of the matter is this, I have been parenting for 13 years now and I have NO CLUE what I'm doing.  I thought this whole second kid thing would be a breeze.  I'm quickly learning that my first kid is EXACTLY like me, therefore was pretty easy to parent.

Clara is not.

She is shy.  She doesn't want attention from anyone but Momma, Daddy and Rhiannon.  She would rather play with her dolls and make up different worlds in her head then have a real conversation with another kid.

She is my little introvert dreamer.

Even though I know I have no clue what I am doing I do believe I am right to follow my gut feeling in pulling her out.  I wholeheartedly think that her memories of her first school experience should be happy ones.

Thanks, Mom for letting me know both Clara and My feelings are completely normal and reminding me I should never doubt my gut instinct.  I love you.  You're the best.

Happy Hump Day, Folks.


  1. While I don't have kids I think if you feel like the place isn't right for your child, that is the first and only sign you need to take them out of there. I don't think it's coddling and I think it's amazing that you're willing to try to make sure your kid gets to school but not to a school that won't help their emotional well being. Xo Lori

  2. Your welcome Crystal! I love all of you up there is Chicago!!

  3. Crystal, I totally agree that you need to feel comfortable with the school you choose. At the same time, all my kids took about a week to get used to school/daycare. And after those few days, they LOVED it. It gave them independence and pride in themselves. Maybe this place wasnt right, but every place will bring tears at first. Hang in there, you both will feel great when the morning comes (and it will) when she jumps out of bed in order to get to her friends at school.

  4. Every kid is different. Just because the 1st one loved it doesn't mean #2 will take to it the same. It's always heartbreaking to see your kids upset. But sometimes they just need to figure it out for themselves. It takes a little bit of time for them to learn that there's nothing to be afraid of. I get why the school takes that approach. They don't want to feed into her fears. The conversation is to get her mind off of being afraid. I kind of agree with the Mr. On that. Give any new school a week or two. It will take both of you a little time to adjust.