Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Breaking up is hard to do

I've decided that preschool drop-off is the new breakup. You know in your heart that it has to happen, that you both need your space and to see other people. But it's still so painful to exchange that last hug, that last kiss. And you really don't want to turn your back and walk away, leaving the other person in tears, but you do it anyway. Because it's time to move on.

S started preschool 2 weeks ago. She goes 3 days a week, and for the most part, she seems to like it. When I pick her up, I usually find her happily playing alongside other little people, and she even seems a little reluctant to leave with me.

It's the drop-off that's killing us. The first week went fine; in fact, the only person who cried on Day #1 was me. But last week, I think it started to sink in for S that this was her new reality. And first thing in the morning, as she's warily eyeing a strange new place filled with strange new people, she's really not so sure she likes it.

I don't blame her. She's coming from spending 2.5 years at a family daycare with a great provider to child ratio (meaning she was always enveloped in a warm hug whenever needed). Things are a little more chaotic at S's new school, and as I try to make a quick escape in the morning, I have to flag down a teacher to make sure they notice I'm abandoning my little girl in distress.

As we prepared to say goodbye during our most recent drop-off, S turned to me with tears in her little blue eyes and said, "I don't want to cry, Mama." By saying that, I'm not sure if she meant she wanted me to stop making her feel this way or she was going to try to be brave and tough it out. Either way, it breaks my heart, and as I left her standing there, so small and weepy, I felt like the worst mother in the world.

I know in my head that school is good for S, that she will benefit from the social interaction and a little independence from me. And that in a few weeks, when her little sister arrives, she'll have a lot more fun doing singalongs and storytime at preschool than sitting at home watching me breastfeed and change diapers.

But right now, it's still so, so tough. Sigh... breaking up is hard to do.

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