The past week or so I’ve seen many friends and fellow bloggers posting about back to school and everything that comes with it and while my boys aren’t “school age,” they are pre-school age and currently, my attempt at putting them in school part time is a STRUGGLE!
At ages 2 and 3, it’s really optional if a family wants to put their child(ren) in that setting. Several factors can affect whether or not the kids get sent to “school,” like can they afford to put them in a preschool/daycare program? Does Mom (or Dad) need a break during the day/week? Maybe parents want to socialize them or it might just be a necessity if both parents work full time. At any rate, I’m back to my freelance life, which gives me the flexibility to work and control my schedule, but also hold down a lot more of my Mom responsibilities. The thing is, I need the coverage when I do have to work or I need to grocery shop in peace or maybe I need to write some emails and make a few phone calls, so part-time preschool seemed like the obvious choice.
I did some research and came upon a bilingual school near where we live. I really liked the Spanish/English element because both of my boys have been exposed to the 2 languages since they were born, first with their Cuban caregivers in Miami and then their Salvadorian nanny, who would come to our home on weekdays and spoil them with love! So, it seemed like the natural progression to keep them in a bilingual setting, but now have the element of playmates and a more structured school setting. However, it has not been smooth sailing.
Before officially enrolling them, we tried it out on a drop in basis for a few days to see how they would do. The first time they went (they’re not even rolling solo), they didn’t want to eat or nap, but after that it got a little better. Now, it’s been nearly a month since they started going and the “separation anxiety” is at an all-time high! The moment they wake up and figure out they’re going to school it starts. The “I don’t like school,” whiny, crying, sad faces and cranky attitudes. I’ve been trying the calm approach with a sunny confident outlook to try and get them to relax, but these guys are playing tough.
Today, we had a pleasant walk to school, but as we closed in on the last 50 steps to the door, hysterical, crying, drama ensued. Full-out meltdowns and kicking, screaming, crying….ugh!!! Clinging to my leg. Running around, stomping and did I mention that my 2-year old physically assaulted me. 🙁 As a Mom, it’s so hard to watch this and walk the fine line between babying them to give them assurance it’ll be okay, and standing firm that school isn’t an option. I had hoped it would get easier by now, however, not so much. We are going to stick with it though. What’s comforting is that they stop and enjoy themselves when Mommy is out of sight, and it’s not as bad when Daddy drops them off.
I think what makes it worse is that there’s 2 of them and one of me. In between all the massive information they are learning and processing as toddlers, they are both fighting for my attention. When one acts out the other tends to think they must do the same…no bueno! I’ve tried to highlight all the positives of going to school, like friends, playtime, music, art, crafts, etc… One of my latest attempts to get this preschool act to go more smoothly is to inform big brother he has to set the example and take care of little brother. They know Mommy will come back, but if big bro gets scared, then little bro will get scared too. *sigh* This saga is to be continued…