Luckily, that’s just me and not my friend, Barack.  Today has been “one of those” days.  I’ll try to tell a story since that seems to be what I do, and try not to whine too much, though that’s what I really feel like doing right now.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  I helped out at school today for “picture day” which is a whole other blog to itself, trust me.  Nicholas went with me and joined his soon-to-be classroom.  He was doing just great until another friend got upset about something and started crying.  Being my son, and very empathetic, he cried with her.  He just couldn’t stop.  She cried louder because his crying was bothering her.  And he cried more because she was still crying.  So as I passed the classroom about a thousand times walking children to get their pictures taken, all I could hear was the pathetic cry of my son.  For those of you who don’t know him – he is the quietest child you have ever met, until he cries, and then he can take you to your knees.

Time for his photos (I think they humor me sometimes).   He cried through the group shot – sorry to all the other parents that wanted a happy smiling bunch.  Then he cried for his solo shot and then he cried for his sibling shot.  I think they might have gotten a few between sobs where his face contorted almost into a smile and hopefully none will be the wiser.

But I will know.  It’s not the photos that concern me.  It’s that he seems so unhappy.  Last week he had a better couple of days and I was so optimistic.  Today I wonder if I am pushing too hard, too fast or just too excited for a day to myself that I’m not “listening” to my son like I should.  He is supposed to spend the next two full days (today was just a half day, mind you) so I can work on a project.  I guess we will just take it day by day and hour by hour.

He starts “for real” in January.  Do I keep him home until then and let him mature a bit?  Do I keep sending him now, here and there, and see if he can adapt?  Do I jump in with two feet – start him on a regular schedule and let him figure it out?

I know, I know.  PLENTY of kids go way younger than he is.  PLENTY of kids go five days a week.  It’s not that.  It’s that I waited with Maggie and sent her off when she was 2 1/2 and she smiled, waved goodbye and never looked back.  It totally put me at ease with my decision.  This is not putting me at ease at all.  Maybe it’s my parenting skills that would make him a better candidate 6 months from now.  I don’t HAVE to send him right now.  Attachment parenting works best when you let THEM decide when to spread their wings.

I was a different person when Maggie was the wee one.  I had only one person other than myself to parent (unless you want to count my husband.)  Two is a much bigger deal for me.  Because I give 24 hours to each child, I am left with a negative balance at the end of the day.  Now I crave my alone time.  I think I will be a better mom to both of my children when I can get my sense of self back.  But do I have to do it right now at the risk of undoing what I consider to be a pretty good job of parenting?  Couldn’t I find myself in a couple of months when the waters have calmed a bit?

I remember distinctly the children that were pains in the rear when my mom was a teacher.  I don’t want my child to be the one that sends a chill up the spine of the teacher.  I want him to walk off smiling, wave goodbye and not look back.  I guess that’s why parenting never gets any easier – you figure something out and the next one comes along and blows it all to hell.


3 responses to “defeated

  1. Hang in there baby!! Maybe it’s because it’s here and there, rather than a regular part of his routine? Or maybe he knew you were around?

    I’m very lucky – Thompson has never cried even a second when we’ve left him at school – and yes, he’s one of those kids that’s gone all day every day since he was 4 months old. I am a much better mother because of it – even if I do have the occasional pang of guilt.

    Anyway, all that to say, if you’re feeling the need to get time to yourself than you need to make it happen. You have an obligation to your children to be your best self – and you can’t be that if you’re unhappy or feeling like “you” are that friend that you always mean to spend time with but never do…

    What about trying him full time, or on some regular schedule, for a set period of time (no matter how hard it is) and then re-evaluate after that has come and gone?

    Give it time – kids are amazing and adjust in no time. One of these days you’ll go to pick him up and he’ll be crying because he doesn’t want to leave…

  2. You really don’t need advice here Brigid–you seem to be working thru all of this fine on your own. However, I will say that Kate is similar to Maggie–and Griff doesn’t want me to go. I work in his building at the same time he is there and he is almost 5 and doesn’t want me to go!! I just keep thinking, next year he’ll be in KINDERGARTEN FULL DAY and there is no choice, so I keep going.

    As a teacher in a 2 1/2 year old room, my best advice is to try and do it for short periods to begin. 30-45 minutes and then come back. That way if he is upset, they can hopefully get him interested in something and he may forget for a short while why he was so upset. Then, if you can, lengthen the time until January comes.

    Again, I know you need no advice, but I just thought I would throw in my .02.

  3. Brigid, I feel your pain! I always thought–before I had babies–that what would be hard about motherhood would be remaining consistent. I figured I’d know what to do, it would just be hard to do it. It turns out, I don’t know what to do! But the fact that you care so much shows you’re doing just fine. I hope next week is better!

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