Thursday, May 14, 2009

Drop-off debacle

The effort it took to bring my kid to school this morning was probably equivalent to the total effort I expended all day long in my former life. There was a time I had work all day, rehearsal after work, catering gigs after that, and bar-hopping followed by sex and straggling home at 4am and STILL all of that combined did not take more energy – physical and psychic – then bringing my kid to school this morning.

Primo not wanting to go to pre-school is not a new thing. He started at the school two mornings a week when he was 2, and basically since that first day, he has complained about going. Let me help you understand how nuts this is. His school is a dreamy, feel-good place, where teachers give kids room to explore and self-direct and allow them to pot out of anything they want and even bring their teddy bears to circle time. The teachers are nicer, much nicer than I am, more understanding, nurturing, kind, attentive. I want to go to this school, now, as a grown-up. And yet he has, to some degree, always objected when its time to leave the house.

I will spare you details of the early battles we had with separation anxiety -- how I sat in the corner of the classroom for MONTHS, typing on my laptop while Primo played blocks, just so he would feel comfortable transitioning. I won’t get into the days the teachers had to literally peel his fingers off of my body while he screamed and sobbed “MOMMY DON”T LEAVE ME!” with a wild look of panic in his eyes. They told me that he would pick up on my cues so I gave Oscar-winning performances every day at drop-off, smiling and saying, “Its OK. Mommy always comes back,” but once I had left the building I would sob ‘til the mascara ran down my cheeks. (OK, so I lied. I didn’t spare you.)

Since this is his third year, drop-off has improved tremendously but still every few months he’ll go through another “I AM NOT GOING TO SCHOOL” jag. And that’s precisely what I’m struggling through now. Yesterday the reason he couldn’t go was that it was very upsetting to him when the teachers rang the bell signaling the end of free choice time, and the start of circle.

“I am too busy to go to school,” Primo explained, kicking off the shoes I’d just put on his an unzipping the hoodie I’d just zipped up, “They ring the bell and I don’t have enough time to do my work which is very important.”

Today he saw me making his lunch and fixated on the fact that it was a “lunch day” as opposed to a half day which he does three times a week.

“I wish lunch days had never been INVENTED!!!” he screamed.

It took thirty minutes to walk two blocks to school. Once at school, it took another ten minutes to get him into the classroom, and the only way I was able to do it was suggesting that he make a book called “I HATE LUNCH DAYS!

“And the cover can be a boy eating lunch at school with a big X over it and the story can be all about a land where lunch days are against the law,” I went on, “And then other children who hate lunch days can read it and feel better.”

His amazing teacher said he’d be thrilled to help his out with that. Because his teachers are the nicest, most compassionate people in the world.

“OK,” said Primo suddenly and two seconds later, he was on the other side of the door.

And I bolted, and I do mean lightening BOLTED out of that school before he had second thoughts or the teachers had second thoughts about having him in the class. I bolted free, desperately needing to let out a wild, a very primal scream which of course I was not able to do because well, its somewhat frowned upon, especially when you are pushing a toddler in a stroller. Consider this post my primal scream.

If you have your own scream to unleash, do so in the comments section. It’s good karma to make a beleaguered mom feel better through the healing power of commiseration.