Friday, September 4, 2009

Drop-offs Get Easier Eventually... Right?

The Pumpkin really seems to like school. Each time I've picked her up from school, she has had a good day and talks about the fun things she did. When we are at home and we talk about school, she is happy and has good things to say. She even uses a happy voice to tell me, "I cry!" (She wasn't napping and didn't want to stay on her cot, so she cried.) When I get her ready for school in the morning and even when we get in the car to go to school, she seems excited and happy about it.

Then we get there. Things go downhill quickly.

Monday, she was obviously unsure of what to do and a bit overwhelmed. In the car, I had told her again and again, "When we get to your school, first, we will find your classroom. Then, we will say hi to Miss J. Then, you will get to play with the other kids!" This helped a lot. When we walked in the building, she looked overwhelmed and started hiding behind me, but I turned to her and said, "What do we do first? We find your classroom!" And she marched down the hall with me. Then we said hi to Miss J. And then, I encouraged her to play with the other kids. She didn't leave me right away, but after 5 minutes or so, she pulled off her backpack and jacket, handed them to me, and went off to play.

Tuesday morning, in the car on the way over, I started prompting her, "When we get to your school, first we find your..." She says, "Class room!" I prompt, "And then we say hi to..." "Miss J!" I prompt, "And then you get to play with the... " "Other kids!" That morning, almost as soon as we got in the room, she handed me her stuff and ran off to see what was going on at the table. That was the best morning.

Wednesday morning, she went with me right to the room, took off her backpack and jacket, said hi to her teachers (there is also a Miss K), but didn't want to go to the circle. She clung to me. It was hard. She was upset and fussing/crying a bit. As I tried to get her to go, other kids left the circle to do other things. When she saw another kid playing with the blocks they'd played with the previous day, she grabbed one. There was a brief moment of "Mine/No, mine!" But then I told her to build a tower with the other boy, and she put the block on top and thanked him for "helping." I said bye and left, but she wasn't really paying attention to me anymore.

Thursday, she started clinging and saying she wanted to go home the minute we got into her classroom. She insisted I stay and play with her. I told her I had to go to work. In fact, in the car on the way to school, I had added that after "play with the... other kids." The last thing now is, "And then Mommy has to go to..." "Work." But in the room, she told me she didn't want me to go to work. I had to stay there with her and play. Or she wanted to go home. The whole time, the teacher is trying to get her attention and to get her into the class with the others. I walked the Pumpkin into the room and lead her to the circle of chairs, and Miss J brought out stickers. The Pumpkin loves stickers, so she hurried over to get one. I slipped out. Was it a mistake to slip out rather than make a point of saying goodbye and being sure she knew I was going? I don't know, but I just did it.

This morning, it was even worse. She wouldn't even take off her backpack. It's Show and Share day, so we brought in her doodle pad (she picked it out to bring this morning. She's so cute!), but she didn't want to show the other kids or see what they brought. She wanted to go home. She wanted me to stay. When I said I had to go to work, she said she wanted to go to work. She was sobbing and clinging to me. She wanted to be picked up, or at least hold her hand. I brought her in the room more, hoping to smooth the transition. It might have made things worse--I can't tell. I simply couldn't pull myself from her hands as she sobbed at me. I kept trying all the techniques I could think of, from "I wish I could stay" to "I'm going to put you down now, and then I have to leave." Finally, she let go of me and turned, and I said bye as I hurried to the door. She sobbed after me, following me, but I went. I knew I just had to get out of there so as not to prolong it anymore.

I'm sure she was fine a few minutes later (I'm about to call to be reassured). She has fun there. It's a good place with good teachers. She is resilent and generally a happy kid.

I hear the drop-offs will get easier as she gets used to the new routine. But right now, it's tough. I hate to leave her like that, but I'm not sure what to do to make it better. I'm going to try to just leave as soon as we get in, and get there earlier when other kids are being dropped off. Maybe the weekend will help. Or make it worse. Man, this parenting gig isn't ever simple.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Week and Returning to Work

I must admit, it's nice to be back at work. I wore jewerly today, fixed my hair, and am wearing professional clothes! Considering my uniform the past almost 3 months has been a t-shirt and sweatpants, my hair has been in a ponytail or bun (depending on just how long it had been since I showered), and my only adornment has been spit up or dried milk, it feels nice to be clean and look nice.

I'm very thankful to have the nanny. She has continued to watch the Pumpkin, give her breakfast and get her dressed in the mornings this week, while the Pookie is sleeping and I'm getting ready to leave the house. (I have been bringing her to pre-school all this week.) It's because of her that I was able to take a shower this morning and not return to work smelling like spoiled milk and poop (I had fun with a leaky diaper last night).

I know that pretty soon we'll all get into a routine. We are finding our way now, but transitions are never just simple. This week has been especially difficult because Londo has had to work on a project that required a quick turn-around, and lots of hours of work. He leaves for work before anyone else gets up in the morning, and this past week he has been working late into the evening and continuing to work once he is finally home. He even had to work over the weekend. He hasn't seen the Pumpkin since he left for work Monday morning (she had come into our bed in the middle of the night). He hasn't held the Pookie since Sunday night except to change a diaper in the middle of the night on Tuesday. He misses us, and I miss him like crazy! Luckily, he should be done with this project today, so we are all looking forward to the long weekend.

Meanwhile, with the Pumpkin in pre-school and the Pookie with the nanny, I have been finally getting the house in order. I have rearranged all of the cabinets so that we can fit in the children's things (cups, plates, snacks, etc.). I have re-purposed the hutch in the dining room so that it now holds the Pumpkin's (and in the future the Pookie's) toys and activities we need to put away when she's not using them--like the Playdoh and paints). I've started cleaning out the front room so that I can set it up with a desk to accommodate the items we dump when we get home--like the mail and our bags and keys and all that other crap that has no place to go.

I cleaned out my car, which hadn't been cleaned since the Pumpkin was born. Every morning this week, the Pumpkin would climb in all by herself, and she'd try to pick up and eat an old Cheerio or raisin from the floor. I had to keep telling her that everything in Mommy's car was old and dirty. So yesterday, I cleaned it inside and out! Including the poop "stain" in the back that had been there since I changed the Pookie a few weeks ago. (I just love poopsplosions, don't you?) I have "stain" in quotes, because a real stain would be something left behind after trying to clean it up, right? Well, I never even tried to clean it before yesterday. That's how gross my car was. But now, it is beautiful and poop-free!

With Londo away and busy so much, I've also done things that he would normally do, like take out the trash, pour drain clearer down my drain and move many many things to the basement. All that on top of the normal laundry, dishes, grocery shopping and the care and feeding of the children. I would also like to take this time to thank my mom, who came over every night this week to help me with dinner and putting the kids to bed.

Like I said on Tuesday, it's been a busy week. But now, I'm clean, fresh, looking nice and back at work! And very happy to be here!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Question of the Week - What's Exciting and New?

This is a CRAZY week here at the caramama household. The Pumpkin had her first day of school yesterday, and it went really well (of course she didn't nap and cried about it and wouldn't stay on her cot, but who's surprised? Other than that, she had a great time and ran right back into the foray this morning.). The nanny is transitioning to the Pookie, and that's going pretty well. I start back at work on Thursday, and am crazy busy trying to get everything in order before I go back. And Londo has had to work extremely long hours, including working over the weekend, on a project that will wrap up sometime this week (thank goodness). And sleep has again gone out the window.

I have much more to say on all these matter, and others, but due to being non-stop busy, having intermittent internet connectivity and only one hand free when I do get on the computer (usually I'm nursing at the time), I will have to write about these things in more detail later.

But I would love to hear what is going on with you all! I can read and click Submit with only one hand free, so answer this week's question of the week in as great detail as you want!

What's exciting and new with you?

Besides love and the Love Boat, certainly there are things exciting and new going on with you all. How's the start of the new school year going for you all? How about your kiddos? Anything new with them? And you? Tell me what's going on.