Friday, April 3, 2009

Another round of daycare Mama Drama

My youngest kids transfered into a new school recently, and Mama Drama is back with a vengance. This time, though, it's not my 4-year-old; my normally outgoing and cheerful 2-year-old is the one clinging to my legs and begging me not to leave. At The 36-Hour Day, I'm dealing with Daycare Drama, round infinity:

Our youngest kids started at a new preschool and daycare recently, and the Mama Drama is back. Not my 4-year-old, she of the dramatic yet silent tears. This time, it's my usually cheerful 2-year-old. And it is killing me.

Week One of "New School" was fine and dandy. Both kids were up and raring to go (way too) early in the morning. My daughter instantly became the Queen Bee of her classroom, fitting in easily and happily among her new friends. My little boy decided his teachers were "Weally awessum, Mama" and was a hit with new friends as well.
Then came Week Two.

All of a sudden, my little guy is saying "But I don't WAANNNNAAA go to school" from the time he sees me reach for my car keys to the time we pull into the parking lot. Then his wail changes to the infinitely more heartbreaking "Mama, I just wanna hang out with YOUUUUUUU."

He turns into a baby barnacle, and I lug him up the stairs to his older sister's classroom. She throws her things in the general direction of her cubby, shrugs out of her coat, and is off to play with her friends before her coat even hits the floor.
Then I lug him to his classroom, back downstairs.

He's fine for a bit, but as I inch toward he door he dissolves, and my heart does, too. I know I'm probably making things worse by staying for a few minutes -- drawing out the good-bye process and all -- but from the way he's clinging, you would never imagine that this child has been in care since he was 6 months old. In fact, his teachers probably think he's never been out of my sight.

I know it's not the new daycare. How do I know? Because this round of Mama Drama started while he was still at his old daycare. It's not the new caregivers. It's me.

I also know that he's probably fine three minutes after I leave. I fact, I know that for sure, because yesterday I waited around the corner, at the top of the stairs where he couldn't see me but where I could still hear him, and I listened and counted while he cried for me.

I know many people will have a field day with this post, but believe me, staying home is not an option for this breadwinner mom, especially not in this economy. It goes against every instinct to not do anything when your child cries for you, even though you know he's OK. Being a working mom doesn't change that.

So I stood there and tried not to cry, and counted. It took 210 seconds for him to stop crying. Three and a half minutes, until not only was he not crying, he was laughing.

I wiped my own eyes and went to work.

Anyone else go through this? How did you handle the Mama Drama? Please share your daycare or Mama Drama experiences in the comments (but no Mommy Drive-Byes, please -- I'm beating myself up enough without help).

No comments: