Summer “break” is close to a close for me. I still have my daughter home until after Labor Day, after that, she’s in Pre-K. But, today marks the end of the first week of Kindergarten for my son. He has progressed so much more nicely than I expected. And this has me calling into question my sensitivity to his “needs.” Or what I think are his needs.
For example, he was in Pre-K at a private school for his first two years of “school.” He was so afraid to be dropped in the car-pool line that I relented and walked him into class every day for two years. Every day. Not only did I walk him in, I held his hand and made sure he was “OK” before I left. Being OK for him meant that the teacher made eye contact, said Hello, and invited him to sit next to her. His first year of Pre-K, his teacher said every day, Hello my special friend. Come sit next to me. (I still love that woman.)
Maybe kindergarten is a good time for him to grow up a bit, or maybe he could have been “bigger” faster. I’m not sure. No matter. What I have witnessed this week is this:
Day 1: I walked him into the class room. He cried.
He said he might cry, so I wasn’t surprised. My response was that he could cry, but chasing me from the room, as he has done in the past, is off limits. He is not allowed to do that anymore! He is also not allowed to pull my hair when he can’t find anything else to grab.
Day 2: I walked him to the class room door. He cried, but less.
Day 3: I walked him to the front of the building. He walked off, turned around and came back. Walked again, turned again. Walked again, turned again and said, Mom, can you just leave when I turn around again? Then he walked into the building as I quickly walked away.
Now it was my turn to cry. He did it! Something I thought he was incapable of – he really walked himself to the classroom all on his own. He entered the room without me by his side. We are talking milestone here (for me and my son).
Day 4: Next accomplishment, Car-pool drop-off line. He got a little teary, gave me a hug and got out.
Day 5 (today): Car-pool, no problem. He’s a pro. No tears, unless you count mine again, but they were happy tears. Happy to see him feeling confident in himself. Happy to see him allow himself the independence to find his own way, without fear.
Now if I can just get my daughter to do this when she starts in a couple of weeks. At a mere four years old, she will have to grow up faster than her brother. At their new school, car-pool is a requirement, not an option. Even in preschool. Something tells me she can do it, and now, after watching my “baby” boy grow up so fast this week, so can I.
Jenn this made me teary as I can so "feel" for Nathan. I too had severe separation anxiety going to school. I can still remember the talks Momma would have with me to try and make it better. It really was a traumatic experience that I never forgot. I was too young to realize I was having anxiety attacks. I remember Mom having tears in her eyes the first day I made myself do it. Reading your blog I now know what she was feeling. Sweet Momma…