Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Second Chances

Well, it's Tuesday...  Bible study day...  I woke up this morning and things weren't looking good.  It's raining, we got up later than I wanted, I didnt get to run (at all), and the car was pretty much on "E" as far as gas is concerned.  Yeah... Not feeling it...  But we got squared away and out of the house by 8:45, and I had enough gas to get there, so I figured, this has got to be something of a good sign.

When we arrived at the 2yo classroom, Maya clung to me like she was attached.  Bobby, funny enough, actually walked into the room on his own.  Of course, then he turned around and sacked me like I was an opposing quarterback!  (Watched the Giants game last night... YAY!)  So, I got into the room and we sat down.   And didnt move.

I sat with them on the floor and we talked about toys while Maya whined and held me like she was drowning.  Bobby walked around me and would plop down from time to time, then get back up and walk away, then come back.  Repeat.  Finally, we got to where there was a little kitchen.  And a little girl offered Maya a toy.  Then, once Maya let go and took the toy, the girl hugged her!  While Maya was still pretty much attached to me, she would walk over and play for a minute, then back to me.  Bobby was doing the same thing.  Walk somewhere, look or play, then back to mom.  I kept telling them that I wouldnt leave until they were ready and that I would always be back.  I tried walking to the counter to finish signing them in (I was still in the room) but that caused tears, so I reassured them.  (During this time, the volunteers were great.  There was no pressure for me to leave them (maybe because they saw what happened last week) and they didnt make a big deal out of a mom staying after all the other moms had left, so I dont think the other kids were upset).  Maya helped clean up and Bobby sort of did, and then it was Gym time.  While we had some meltdowns in line (the kids arent used to waiting in line and I think they were quite shocked by the entire idea... interesting the things you learn in a group setting...), we walked with the class (the kids held my hands) to the gym.

And then Bobby found his happy place.  He was away from me and towards the balls before you could say "Have fun!"  He played with others, played by himself, ran, jumped... You name it.  He was thrilled.  Maya would go out and play, but immediately came back for a snug.  But, during this time, I did have a chance to interact with the volunteers a little more (which I hope encouraged Bobby and Maya to see them as new friends). Maya asked to go potty and I even left Bobby for five minutes (he was fine).  Of course, gym time ends and Bobby is a nightmare, but in positive Maya news, she held the knot line with one hand (like the other kids) and mine with the other, so we could all walk back.  (I had to fireman carry Bobby out of the gym- that kid is STRONG).  He walked once we got into the hallway and they both went back into the room (with me behind them) with no fuss. 

Then it was snack time.  They, I'm proud to say, sat at the table with the other kids and let the vols wash their hands.  Then, they accepted their cups/snacks from the volunteers (while I helped with the other table of kids).  While they were snacking, I said "Mommy is going to go to her classroom now, but I'll be back.  I love you."  Bobby didnt really look up; Maya waved bye-bye.  I walked out of the class and made eye contact one last time before disappearing from view.

And then I sat in the hallway.

I waited for ten minutes, but they were fine with their snack.  I would peek in without them seeing me, and they were still okay, so I opted to go to my class.

Where I lasted for about 20 minutes... Before I was paged back to the 2yo room... Where Bobby was in the floor crying and Maya was red faced.  Good times.

When I hugged him, I explained that I had gone, but like I promised, I'd come back when he needed me.  He hugged me and didnt want to let go, but the crying wasnt as bad as it was last week.  They had immediately come for me once the upsetness started (as I'd requested) so that we could try building a place of trust (ie I'm upset and Mommy comes back.  It's okay for me to be here.  Etc.)  Once he was calm, I went to where Maya was crying softly while trying to be brave and color with the other kids.  When she saw me, the waterworks started, but I let her scramble into my lap, and I soothed her the same way.  Yes, I left, but like I promised, I'd come back.  It was okay.

We sat in the floor, the kids on either side of my lap, for 15 minutes until the program was near ending.  Then, Maya got their jackets when I asked her to, and we got ready to go.  They walked into the hall and got in the stroller.  We went to Mr Bs and played a bit, had a meltdown when it was time for dipes (no one wanted to leave but they NEEDED to be changed), and then had lunch easily.  Of course, after lunch, no one wanted to leave (I mean, there is the play place and all...) but it was noon and we've been trying to do lunch at noon, and nap by 12:30, so home it was.  They were in bed by 12:25; Maya fell asleep right away and Bobby stopped his singing at 12:35.  They are peacefully asleep as I type.

So...  Got there a little after 9...  I left to sit in the hallway at 10:20... Got to my class (which started at 9:15) at 10:30... Called back to their class at 10:50... We got to Mr. B's at 11:10.   (Mr B's is a 2-3 minute walk from their classroom).  It wasnt as traumatic as last week; even though I was with them for over an hour, they were starting to adjust to the new environment.  And, while I was only away from them for half an hour (during the end of that, they were upset, I'm sure), it was better than the 15 minutes of nonstop screaming and then 15 minutes in my class that ended in me returning to the screaming that hadnt stopped, that we did last week.  The volunteers all said that this was progress and that I'm welcome to come back next week (to stay with them until they are ready for me to leave).  The woman who runs the program even told me that her grandson had a similar issue but eventually felt comfortable enough to stay. 

Thank you to all who emailed, commented, or chatted with me with your stories and advice.  I appreciate it.  Initially, I agreed with people who said that maybe the kids arent ready for this enviroment; after today, I dont.  I think they are ready; but I think that it is a new place and they are scared.  And that's okay.  I think that neither of us were ready last week and that I ended up making the wrong choice by leaving them behind when they were upset themselves (and probably felt my anguish and fear, too).  Today, I tried to project that this was a safe place, a place where we could have fun together, and the knowledge that THEY were in control of when Mommy left and when she would return.  I wanted them to know that I wouldnt leave them until they were okay with it and that if/when they wanted me back, they could trust that I would return.  I think we made a start with that. 

I also think they liked being with the other kids and making some new friends.  Even though it's a small step (and they didnt get to hang out with the kids more than they chose to hang with me), I think that seeing the same group next week and the next may make it easier for them to feel comfortable.

My classmates were sweet.  When I came in late, no one made an issue and the teacher, after hugging me, told me that it was fine and that most of the women were moms who got it.  When the nursery vol came to get me, the teacher explained that Bobby and Maya were having a hard time getting used to their first time away and asked that the classroom stop for a moment and say a prayer for them and for me, which I thought was kind.  It doesnt feel like people consider this a burden, more that this is an adjustment for everyone involved, and that made me feel better about the situation.  I hope I eventually get to spend more than 20 minutes in the class (the discussion I was part of was very interesting) and that I get to know these women a little better. 

So, Today is brought to you by the word BETTER.  As in, it was better than last week and not the complete fail we had the first time.  Hopefully next week will bring even brighter days!


Jenni said...

They just need time to adjust :)
They will probably need to 'start over' to adjust to the new preschool too--no matter how comfortable they are at the childcare. But they will probably adjust faster next time around.

Reba said...

oh my gosh, i missed your first post about this. i'm so glad they did better with the second try. i think they do just need to adjust to being away from mama for a little while. they will eventually love hanging out with their little buddies. :) it's very hard for me to get naomi to come home with me after daycare...i have to coax and wheedle and promise her tv shows and mac n cheese when we get home.

Barb said...

That sounds GREAT!!! Unfortunately, the lady at our church daycare is NOT supportive of doing it this way. She wants me to sneak out when he's not looking, which NEVER makes it easier. So we haven't used it. :(

Lisa said...

Baby steps :)

Leah said...

So happy it went better. I think each time, it will continue to improve. And I think by you showing them how safe this environment truly is, they will learn to really enjoy this. :) Eventually. :)

Sophie said...

Well done mama! I am in awe of your patience. The love and respect you have for your kids is beautiful!! xx