Too much excitement just might kill me!
I have been eagerly waiting for July, when Monkey turns 3 and becomes eligible to go to the fabulous hippy-alternative school we’ve chosen for him.
I love the kid, but he has now entirely given up napping, and I get sweet stuff all done, ever. I can’t even work late in the evenings, because Monkey still wakes up multiple times every night and I am running on 3 years of sleep debt. I am in the process of starting a charity, and I long to work on it because I genuinely believe it will be a very valuable thing. But I never have a chance.
So school 2 days a week was sounding fabulous. Until this week, when I got the acceptance letter.
Now I’m freaking out! Will my darling Monkey be OK without me, for 2 full days a week? Will he cry when I drop him off? How long for? Will he get used to it, or won’t he? Yes, I realize how cliche and ridiculous that sounds.
Of course I know that most children adapt to things like this just fine. It is essentially just glorified daycare, and plenty of kids go a lot younger than 3. I realise that there’s a good chance of a few tears at the start, and that its totally normal. And although he is very attached to me, he will happily stay by himself at either grandparents’ house (although it has never been for a whole day), and barely bats an eye when I leave.
But I can’t hack it.
The first time I left him was when he was 2 months old. Hubs and I went out for lunch, and left Monkey with my parents. I cried. A lot. Monkey was a bit pissed that they tried to change his nappy before feeding him, but was otherwise not deeply traumatized.
After that, it was months before I left him again. And when I did, it was in the arms of a stranger.
When we were getting news from Monkey’s oncologist during his diagnosis, she insisted that we had to go and speak to her without Monkey, ostensibly so we could focus on the information we were being given. I wanted to wait for my Mum to arrive so she could look after him while we did, but for some reason that didn’t happen. Instead, they made me leave him with the play coordinator (a lovely lady, but a complete stranger to us at the time), and Monkey, sick, in pain, and in a strange environment, screamed and screamed and screamed. I could hear him the whole time, and it is one of the biggest regrets I have from his time in treatment. He probably would have screamed for my Mum too, but at least he would have been in the arms of someone who loved him.
So now I’m afraid to do it again.
I’ve been talking with Monkey a lot about school, and he seems excited. He knows that I won’t be there, and that I’ll come back and pick him up. He knows there will be lots of other kids to play with, and painting and craft, play-doh and stories and blocks. But talking and doing are two different things.
Monkey can take a while to warm up in new environments and with new people. I am trying to get in contact with his teacher, in hopes that she will let me stay with him a little in the beginning – that seems a common thing, right? If not, I would at least like it if we could meet the teacher and show him the class before he’s due to start.
But if I’m not allowed to stay and ease him into it, I have to decide between my 2 days of freedom or a more gradual transition for my boy. The school also has a half day program for the 3 year olds, one day a week, half of which I would lose in the commute. I’m talking maybe 90 minutes at home between drop-off and leaving for the pick up (maybe I could find a nearby cafe and take my laptop…). But we could send him to that. If he didn’t settle and we decided to pull him out, we’d waste significantly less money that way. And if he loves it, then we could put him in 2 days next year (or maybe even next term – I need to check with the school on this!).
And in the end, I think it will come down to my anxiety over separating from him. He would almost certainly adapt. But I would not forgive myself.
So that precious freedom may be postponed a little longer. And I think I’m OK with that. But I would love some tips on surviving this milestone, which now that it is looming seems suddenly huge!