Day 2: After an hour of her not wanting me to leave, I bit the bullet and walked out. I walked out to her screaming and crying and begging and grabbing at my legs. I walked to the gate and didn’t turn around. One of the hardest thing I have ever done. Like I’ve been punched in the gut.
photo credit: Jonny Thirkill
I had signaled the teaching assistant I was doing it. She was standing next to us, ready to attend to Vivien. I went to the grocery store and took the groceries home. A zombie. All those things I had been looking forward to doing with my new free time in the morning flew out of my mind. I just felt horrible. I thought she must hate me. When I got home, there was a squirrel in my house. We both screamed. It ran out of the window we shouldn’t have left open.
I drove back near the school and walked closely by to try to hear her screams. I didn’t. I walked around the neighborhood for one hour. At least I got some exercise, that had been on my list. I was going to rush in at one point, but called my mom and she talked me out of it. “You are just going to prolong this,” she saod. But it also showed it’s not crazy of Vivien or the other kids who cried when their parents left. I am arguably a middle-aged woman and in times of stress, I want my mommy too.
I called my friend Bonnie, I called my husband. Finally I sat in front of the school, again, just waiting to hear her voice or cry. When two parents from her class came up, they said I was not sitting by our kids, but a different class, so I wouldn’t have heard here anyway. We went in. I could see her happily having lunch. The teacher came over to us (they didn’t want the kids to see us yet). She said Vivien had cried for a few minutes and then played with two other kids. (Who had also cried earlier, maybe they are the sensitive crew.) I went to where she was playing, about 15 minutes later.
I said, “are you ready to go home?”
Vivien said, “No, I want to stay.” I was so relieved and happy.
Mark is out of town, so I have to take her tomorrow, even though I have to bail even faster. God, I hope it goes okay.
And to think if Brad and Angie hadn’t had their kid on Monday, I wouldn’t have been able to have that experience with her.
Day 3: I went earlier so there were fewer kids and it was more tranquil. It’s a small room they start out in and it gets pretty hectic by 9ish. I stayed 30 minutes. Again, had to leave for work. I gave her a warning of leaving. She took that fine. But, when I said, “I’m going,” she flipped out again. Cried, grabbed, again the TA was standing by to pick her up. Vivien whacked her away, but the TA stayed with her. I walked out. As I walked to my car, I seriously thought I was going to throw up.
I drove 45 minutes to my shoot and blabbed to everyone who would listen about the preschool drama. I did a shoot on celebrity gift baskets. All that swag they get at gifting sweets. I said to my crew, “Let’s knock this out in one hour,” and we did. I was able to get back to Viv for the end of school. And again they said she had 2 minutes of crying and then was fine. She seemed fine. But tonight she said, “Mommy, no more school.”
I wasn’t going to send her 5 days this week, but now I think I should. Get her used to it…oh, gosh, I dunno. Also trying to set up some play dates with classmates, as she feels a familiarity with some of the kids.
You know, the other part that nags at me is I have a 14-year-old stepson who wants to spend very little time with us, and so I think, “Why am I pushing away this kid who wants to be with me?”