Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mama's Boy

Alex had his first day of school yesterday! Technically, it was just Mother's Day Out at our church, but they have a curriculum they have to follow, they have to bring a backpack, and they have to pack a lunch. Sounds like school to me!

He will be going on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 9am to 2pm and will be in a class with nine other kids his age. He has been on the waiting list to get into the program for about three months, so we were really excited when we finally got the call that there was a space available. We're happy that he will be spending time with kids his age on a regular basis, that he will be able to continue into the preschool program when he turns three without getting wait-listed, and that all of this will be happening at our church, which we love and where we would like to get more involved.

Not to mention, I will be getting a couple of kid-free days per week so that I can attempt to rehab my injured brain, assuming it's not too late to do so. I'm not expecting to make a full recovery, but a 50% improvement would be nice. Seriously, I'm at a point where I get excited about things that no sane person should look forward to. I had a dentist appointment yesterday, and as the doc poked needles into my gums and burrowed holes into my teeth, I was thinking, Aaah, it's so nice to be able to just relaaax. Have you ever heard of someone who thought of getting root canals as a vacation? Sheesh.

So when I got Alex dressed for school yesterday, I had mixed feelings. Sad that my little guy was growing up, sad that I would have to leave him with a bunch of strangers, worried that he would be upset when I handed him over, but happy to have some time to myself, happy that he was where I wanted him to be, and happy that he would be making some friends. Things started out well enough, although Alex wasn't crazy about having to lug his own stuff around in his backpack.

We got to his classroom at 9, where I filled out a sign-in sheet, handed over his backpack, handed over his lunch, got him a name tag, got my security card, spoke to the teachers, and answered some questions, all while trying to pry an already crying Alex from my body so I could hand him over to the teacher. When the teacher had him, I said a quick goodbye and ran away, hoping that he would calm down once I was out of sight. Also because I really didn't want his teachers or the other moms to see me blubbering like a big baby.

I called Timothy for some reassurance, and he listened patiently as I continued to blubber about how I didn't really get to say goodbye to Alex, to give him kisses and tell him I loved him, how he was crying for me and I wasn't able to hug him and cuddle him and make him feel better, just abandoned him with a bunch of strangers and booked it down the hallway, never to return, for all he knew...

I hung up with Tim and got in the car, and I was halfway down the block before it suddenly occurred to me that I had dropped Alex off at the wrong room. Yes, the wrong room. As a force of habit, I took him to the nursery room where he goes on Sunday mornings instead of his new classroom. When I had dropped him off, I didn't see the teachers I had met before, and none of the kids seemed familiar...I guess a red flag (or two) should have gone up, but I was already stressed and frazzled about having to leave him, and apparently I wasn't thinking straight. Remember what I said about my brain? I wasn't exaggerating.

I hightailed it back to the room and peeked through the window, where I saw that the teacher was still holding Alex, who was still crying. I told her what happened, took Alex from her, and thought, P.U., what the heck is that smell? Turns out, in the ten minutes I had been gone, Alex got so worked up that he threw up on himself. So I had to take him to the other room, reeking of vomit, and explain the situation to his "real" teachers. He had calmed down completely while I was holding him, so I felt really bad about handing him over, again, when it was clear that he thought he was going home with me. This time, however, I made sure to give him lots of hugs and kisses before I passed him off to the teacher, so I felt a little better this time as I headed down the hall and back to the car.

I had about a million chores and errands planned for the five hours that Alex would be gone, and man, did that time fly. Relaxing was not on the agenda, at least not this week, and even if it had been, I wouldn't have had time for it. Hopefully Friday will be a little less hectic and I will be able to enjoy some time doing nothing.

Yesterday, however, I was just looking forward to picking Alex up and seeing how the rest of his day went. I was certain that he had spent the first few minutes upset, then quickly realized how much fun there was to be had and enjoyed the rest of the day playing with the other kids because that's what usually happens when he stays in the nursery on Sundays. But as I walked up to his classroom, I overheard his teacher tell another mom that the "new boy" had had a rough day. Ugh. Alex was the only "new boy", so I knew she was talking about him. I said, "Oh man, Alex had a bad day?" She proceeded to tell me that he had basically cried all day long, with the exception of a couple minutes here and there and when he was napping. I was upset about the crying but glad to hear that he had napped, because that was actually the one thing I was really anxious about. Needless to say, he was happy to see me, and even happier when I took him out to the van instead of taking him to another classroom.

When we got home, I opened his lunch bag and discovered that his milk had not been touched. Umm, yeah, that could've been part of the problem. I've got a kid who loves his milk, and if he don't get his milk, he ain't happy. His sippy cup tends to leak if it's flopping around in a lunch bag, so I had sent an unopened pint of milk and an empty sippy cup, assuming that the teacher would open the pint and put the milk in his cup so he could drink it at lunchtime. Maybe that's against the rules or something, I don't know, but the fact that he didn't get his milk probably irked him a little. When I did give it to him, he sucked all of it down in record time and whined for more. I made an exception and gave him another half cup, which he also slurped down. Hmm, if only he'd gotten his milk a few hours before...

He goes back on Friday, and I am just praying that he will get acclimated quickly so that I don't have to worry about him so much. I plan on mentioning yesterday's milk situation to his teacher, and hopefully, getting his milk fix will improve his mood. Otherwise, we might have to implement Plan B - see if they can make room in the Mother's Day Out program for Alex's mother.


Amy said...

Being a good boy Alex made sure you felt wanted and needed. Trust me, it's a lot harder on you than on him, even if it doesn't seem like it right now.
Pretty soon he'll be crying cause he has to go home.
I can't believe what a big boy he is with his back pack and looking all GQ.
Can't wait to see you all!

Jennifer Legg (the mommy) said...

Poor Sarah, I haven't done the Mother's Day Out thing yet but man! have I had some days like that! I can imagine how hard that was leaving him and then nothing seemingly going right. But be encouraged, I'm sure he'll make friends and love it eventually. You need some time to yourself. You're a good momma.

saspivey said...

Wow, I sure do HATE unsolicited advice--buuuut, here goes....:So, Jacob attends a MDO program 2 days a week, too. The only thing that works to keep him calm when Brian drops him off and gets him through the day is giving him his blankie--er, I mean his manly loin cloth--the second he leaves Brian's arms. I'm told by the teachers that he keeps it close by during the day. Soooo, maybe Alex has something comparable; some kind of taste of home that he can refer back to when he gets hungry for his mom. Just a thought. Works for us.

Day Family said...

I started taking Jack to mother's day out in Sept. He stopped crying when I left him in the room after about the 7th time. And now he is actually starting to talk and play w/out clinging to the teacher. So, Alex is doing great! Jack loves his class now and taking his backpack!