Monday, August 27, 2007

Transition days are needed for grown-ups, too

Today was a roller coaster ride. Today and tomorrow are "transition days" at Boy & Girl's preschool. The children get a couple of hours in their new class with their teachers. Girl was very excited about her first morning of preschool. She picked out her outfit carefully ... and wanted to wear a bathing suit. Well... it is technically still water play at the school. She wanted to be just like Boy, who was wearing his bathing suit. Boy was reluctant to go to school as he doesn't want to make the move into the Pre-K class. I don't want to go to school. I don't want to go to room 5. In talking to the other parents, it seemed to be a recurring theme. The kids have bonded with their current teachers and are very sad about moving up, yet also excited. I encouraged him to talk about his feelings with his teacher, and once he saw that all of his friends were also moving on to the next level, he felt better. I really think he thought he was going by himself.

So, the morning went beautifully and of course, I had to mess it up...royally. I had explained to Boy that I would be coming back to pick up Girl, and that he would stay for the rest of the day like he usually does on Monday's. Well, obviously I had not explained it enough or clearly or he had forgotten. As I entered the gate he ran up to me with great excitement and said, Is it time to go home now, Mommy? No, sweetie, you get to stay and play with all of your friends! - said by me in Fake Peppy Mommy voice. Big burst of tears. But, J went home!! (His close friend.) That's because Monday is not J's regular day to come to school, sweetie. Wails and tears... Then his teacher helped by redirecting him to a friend playing in the playground and he was off! I then picked up Girl who was in the classroom, and as we were walking out were spotted by Boy yet again, more tears, wails and basically I felt like the worst parent in the whole world. It killed me. It really did.Maybe I should have planned to take him home early, too? Maybe, shoulda, woulda, coulda... the curse of the Mother, to constantly 2ND guess your choices.

So, that was that... and then Girl and I went to Costco. Usually a safe endeavor. Everything was fine until we exited the building to get a hot dog. On several occasions, we have gotten a hot dog and shared it together. Well, today, that just wasn't going to cut it. I DON'T WANT TO SHARE A HOT DOG! I WANT A SMOOTHIE AND A HOT DOG! Shriek, bellow, etc. After shamefacedly shuffling us off to the side, I tried to reason with her. My first mistake. Then I got firm. That obviously didn't work. Then I got angry - which really didn't work. And I said we were leaving. So, I pushed a screaming child in a cart back to the car. And...she refused to let me get her out. I loaded up the car, while she bellowed. I WANT MY DADA! I WANT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL. Apparently she prefers school to Mama after only 2 hours of the place! The man loading up next to me looked over in sympathy. At least I had an ally somewhere.. The car was loaded and she still refused to let me get her out. She struggled, screamed, shrieked and kept her legs from coming out of the seat. She had all the leverage as I am on the shorter side and there was no way I could get her out of the cart. Most importantly, I wasn't going to risk her getting hurt by my forcing her out of the cart. I reasoned, I barked, nothing. Meanwhile, Mrs. Busybody was eyeing us from across the parking lot and continued to sit in her car watching us. Was she calling child services? Whatever she was doing, she was looking at me like I was a total loser and was questioning whether I was harming my child. Had the woman not had the pleasure of a full-out tantrum before? Man, the lady's missed out. So, then I took a deep breath and sat quietly with the car door open, next to her. Girl finally folded after about 3 more minutes. We both cried and hugged and were totally wrung out. And then Girl is fine - and it is like this episode never happened. By this time, 20 looong minutes, I noticed Nosy Nellie had driven off. And once again, I felt defeated as a mother.

So, what did I learn today? Your heart can be broken many times by seeing your children hurting. And good ideas can be really bad ideas - at least according to your children. And, I love them desperately. They are my everything. And "transition" days are needed for Grown-ups, too. And always have enough change for 2 hot dogs!

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