Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's next? A reassuring call from the Mulletville mayor?



Tuesday morning’s drop-off sucked just as badly as the previous drop-off. Kicking. Screaming. Crying. I tried to implement the "dump and run" move, but the success of the maneuver is contingent upon your ability to detach your child from your body.

Simply, Junior had me in a death-grip.

The teacher finally pulled him from me, and I made it out the door.

To prolong the enjoyment of the experience, I stood in the hallway and listened to him cry. Motherhood wouldn’t be half as exciting if it didn’t include personal torment, right?

As I was standing there, Junior’s other teacher walked by. When she said hello, I started to cry. That really pissed me off because I used to make fun of mothers who cried about stupid stuff like this. (Pre-Junior, a woman who cried about her child crying at preschool was laughable. Get a grip, sap!). Yet there I was, blubbering like a damn idiot.

“Is this normal? I can’t do this! I hate this!”

She told me it was normal and to call in 20 minutes to make sure he was better.

I called. He was better. D'uh.

This morning, it was Chuck’s turn. We decided we'd both drive to the school. He’d walk Junior inside, then he’d drive to his grandmother’s funeral. (Did I mention his grandmother died unexpectedly? It’s been a great week.)

This time, though, Junior’s freakout started in the parking lot. We couldn’t pull him from the car.

“There must be something wrong,” I said. “Maybe we should take him to the doctor’s?”

“I wish I could, but..” Chuck said. Then poof! He was gone. (You know things are bad when you can't get to a funeral fast enough.)

I put Junior back in the car and drove him to the doctor’s. Turns out he has an ear infection. Aha! I thought.

“So he should stay home today?” Please say yes, please say yes.

“No, Mrs. Mullet. He’s not contagious. He’s not in pain. There’s no reason why he can’t go to school.”

"What if I throw my underwear at you?"

"Sorry. No."

Back to school we went. We relived the drama of yesterday, with extra kicking and screaming for fun. Again I stood outside the classroom and again I cried. I found myself getting mad at Junior. It’s two days a week. They glue glitter to shit and make lemonade with real lemons. They sing and read and play games. What, pray tell, is the problem? I drove to work half-swearing, half-sniveling.

When I got to work, I decided I needed expert advice. I called the Director of Early Childhood Education at a local college. She told me that Junior’s behavior is perfectly normal and that:

1. We need to establish a morning routine, like stopping for a doughnut, so he acclimates to the schedule and knows what to expect.

2. I need to schedule a playdate with a classmate.

3. I need to not talk about preschool to death—

“No more, ‘Junior! Tomorrow’s school! Are you EXCITED? Are you SO excited you could bust one of your little NUTS?! Are you, are you, are you???'?" I asked.

“Right. Cool it.”—

4. I should give it a month unless he starts showing signs of physical distress, like uncontrollable diarrhea and an inability to sleep/eat/puff.

I hung up feeling slightly better. Junior must have felt better too, because he was fine when I picked him up. As we walked out of the building, a woman said good-bye and ruffled his hair.

"He did just fine after you left," she said.

"Oh," I said. "Are you another one of his teachers?"

"No," she said, "I'm the janitor."


SmartBear said...

Oh yes, I am so glad my husband drops off and I pick up. I couldn't do it. I am a big wimp.
I am SURE it will get better. I think those were good recommendations!

A Mom on Spin said...

Although I love how much you love him. . . sometimes this pre-school thing is just like tough love.

Take it from me, drop and run!!!!

Anonymous said...

Janitors know a lot! When my father was in ICU I asked the "nurse" how he was doing because he had been suffering with "intensive care syndrome". She talked to me for about 10 minutes telling me that it was normal and it comes from being in rooms with light on 24 hours daily. She then walked over to her mop and started mopping the floor. How the hell was I supposed to know she wasn't a nurse? They all wear scrubs there!!
My youngest is now 21 years old - I promise you that the crying will stop and you'll eventually forget you had any trouble at all.

JenEverAfter said...

You are not very reassuring. My girl starts preschool in a couple weeks. She's very excited about her new My Little Pony backpack, though. Did the Early Childhood teacher say that sparkly Pony backpacks will make everything go perfectly???

Jeanne said...

I have a couple of grandkids who (used to) act like that when they came to my house when Mom and Dad left and I'm the most fun grandmother in the world (seriously). It's just separation anxiety and you will get through it.

Frogs in my formula said...

Maybe that's what we've been missing. A My Little Pony backpack...

Sparkling said...

i kike the director of early childhood's suggestions but don't stop for a doughnut every day. that will just make him fat!! stop and look at the geese. stop at the park and check something out every day. something routine that doesn't cost anything. imagine if you start the doughnut routine and then one day they don't have his kind of doughnut??? i can imagine the scene now.

The Mother said...

I am SO glad that it's going so well.

Keely said...

Stopping for a donut??

X had a really long 'adjustment' period, where I had to drop-and-run for several weeks (and show up crying at work for several weeks). But the problem was there weren't any other kids to distract him there at that time yet - once some started showing up before he arrived, he was fine. For him, at least, other kids are way more fun than me.

I hope he figures out how fun it is soon. I know how freakin' hard it is.

Sara said...

I laughed so hard at the "I'm the janitor." They are in the know. When I visit schools it is those people I want to talk to about what is going on.

Hope he gets better. A Panera stop two days a week sounds like a great idea.

Kinda cool you have a Child Development expert on speed dial.

Pricilla said...

I'm sorry. But it will get better.
He just wants your attention.
And he will need something to distract him when the baby comes.

My eldest brother tried to kill my middle brother...
just sayin'...

Mama Badger said...

I think he'll be fine once he gets to know the teacher better and comes to trust her. If he only goes two days a week he probably doesn't have a "relationship" with her, so it seems like you're leaving him with strangers.

I like the idea of having a routine that he can get into the habit of.

Grand Pooba said...

The Janitor...hee hee

kyooty said...

well YAY! for him having a good day. hugs for you though.

Irrational Dad said...

THIS is what I have to look forward to? That's one thing I struggle with as a father; real tears. I see right through Ty's fake cries, but the real tears hurt my heart so bad...

Stay strong though. We ALL went to school... he'll do just fine once he gets used to not seeing you 24/7.

SLColman said...

Ugh... I can't imagine the horror of it all :( I really hope that it gets better!!

Anonymous said...


Otter Thomas said...

Even though I know this is a difficult time for moms, you crack me up. Busting a little nut is hilarious, maybe even genius. I hope things get better for both of you soon.

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