About me: I'm a 40-something mother to a pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our tween Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler Cam, and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). I'm a freelance graphic designer and writer.
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?"
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."