Kindergarten Blues

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted but I’ve been sick at home with the Kindergarten blues.

Ace has been having a really tough time adjusting to Kindergarten which means I’ve been having a tough time too. Just knowing that he’s not happy makes me a nervous wreck. Friday was absolutely terrible. He kept begging me to take him home and I tried everything to calm him down. I even told him I’d come to lunch with him if he took his seat and didn’t give his teacher a hard time. (I’d been to lunch every day that week but I wasn’t planning on going that day because I wanted him to sit with his class and get to know some of the kids.) He just kept crying and telling me he wanted to go home with me.

Finally, I pried myself loose from his hugs and tears and the teacher had to practically drag him to his desk. When I peeked in the window his face was in his hands and he was resting his head on his teacher. She is such a sweetheart and it really makes me feel better knowing she cares. She was rubbing his head and his back to help him calm down. That was about all I could take so I bolted for my car, where of course I busted into tears.

Then lunchtime came and I started crying all over again because I knew he was going to be upset when he realized I wasn’t coming for lunch but I told him I would only come if he settled down and went to seat, which obviously he didn’t. As hard as it is sometimes, I can’t reward improper behavior and Ace knows that.

Later that day when I picked him up from school the first thing he asked was, “Why didn’t you come to lunch? I sat at a table by myself the whole time waiting for you and I was so nervous I couldn’t eat all my lunch.”

I felt like the worst mother in the world.

However, on Monday when he started to cry I told him if he cried like that again I wouldn’t come to lunch again and he stopped immediately and I know if I would’ve showed up Friday, he would have been hysterical again. He was still sniffling and crying a bit but he was really trying hard to keep it together. He went into class to start putting his things away but then he ran out and asked if I’d bring Gaki when I came for lunch. Gaki has been at school with him everyday so far but I made him leave him home on Monday. So I promised I would and then he walked back into his classroom sniffling a little.

As I was leaving one of the parents introduced herself to me and told me that she sat with Ace for a few minutes on Friday.

“He was so worried what about you, we didn’t know what happened,” she told me.

I explained the situation to her and then she said, “Oh good, you’re forgiven then. We thought you just didn’t show up.”

Ummm…thanks. I think. And by the way who is ‘we’? We thought you just didn’t show up? So I wondered who else thought I was a terrible mother. Oh well, sometimes in order for our children to learn we have to teach them lessons. Tough love, as they say. No one will know that I cried harder than he did during that 45-minute lunch period.

Each day has been getting better, there are less tears and a little bit more excitement. He has been coming home all week and playing school, which I’m thinking is a pretty good sign. Every morning he still reminds me 100x to pray for him and he asks how to get rid of the ‘nervous bugs’.

His teacher has asked me to volunteer in a couple weeks and when she announced it to the class he got really excited. I explained to him that the better he behaved the more they’ll ask me to come. They can’t ask parents to come if they know their child will cry every time they leave.

Hopefully by next week he (we) will be adjusted and things will fall into place. We’ve got our first PTO meeting coming up and they have a lot of fun parties and field trips scheduled too and I’m hoping that makes a difference.

Lucky and I have been spending more time doing puzzles and snuggling up to read his favorite books during the day. I’m glad to be able to give him more one-on-one time and his hugs and kisses let me know that he likes it too. So, even though this is a big transition for all of us, things will work out great. We just have to be patient.

I’ve always thought it was so difficult for kids to adjust to school–I just never realized how difficult it is for their parents!! Please keep us in your prayers!

13 thoughts on “Kindergarten Blues

  1. Have you thought much about homeschooling? I'm new to your blog and don't know if you've considered. You are my version of the perfect mom! I bet you would do a fantastic job with your wonderful organizational skills and amazing ideas to keep the kids busy. We are homeschooling and look at it like marriage. Totally hard work, but a commitment and SO worth it. There is a book called "So You're Thinking of Homeschooling" that I think is great! It's evangelical, but nothing that doesn't agree with Orthodoxy. If you have considered it, forgive me! I know it just doesn't fit some families and that's fine! I'm not implying that it should. Was just curious. I will say prayers for you during this time! I can't imagine how difficult it must be!!!!

  2. I think you are doing well. It is important for kids to learn to be independant and be able to cope in social situations. Don't let other people's comments (esp other mothers) get to you! You are doing well and just have to weather the next little bit! My love and small prayers!

  3. When my oldest started kindergarten, we were going through a very difficult time as a family. He'd started school late and then switched schools. For that whole first quarter, every day when I would drop him off he would scream and cry and beg me not to leave him. And he had only recently turned five. It was horrible. I felt like The.Worst.Mother.Ever. But when the next quarter started, he did just fine at the drop off and has loved school ever since (he's in third grade now). Thankfully, the second child has done just fine starting kindergarten. 🙂

  4. Although I've chosen homeschooling, my daughters both went to a school for their first year…they always loved it, never looked back at me. Since I work with pre-kindergarteners part-time, I can tell you that I see A LOT of separation anxiety, especially for those whose first time it is in our school (some children when to our nursery school, when they were 2 or 3). Sounds to me like you're doing a great job making separation a good experience. I think it's important to establish a ritual, and ALWAYS say goodbye (you wouldn't believe how many parents think they can just slip out while their child is distracted), but I'm sure you do. Ace will be fine, make friends and then you'll be at peace!

  5. You're doing just fine. I remember when my oldest started kindergarten…she came home after the 2nd day crying, saying that she didn't want to go back. After calming her down and talking I found out that one of the lunch ladies was yelling at the kids to hurry up and eat or they wouldn't be able to go outside for lunch recess. I of course called the teacher immediately, who had already realized this and was taking care of the situation. Oh, the trials of motherhood!! My adjusting to school was not something I expected either. All of the sudden I realized that I no longer knew what was happening in my daughters life all day. Someone else was teaching her and watching out for her for 7 hours! Such a strange feeling. It's hard at first but in time you'll adjust. You'll be in my prayers!

  6. You are moving in the right direction. Don't worry about comments from others as you don't know their intent. Sometimes, people cannot articulate their thoughts & it comes across harsh. His behaviour sounds pretty normal & his anxiety will slowly diminish.

  7. SIGH….I have a child that cries e v e r y morning when his mom drops him off at school. However, within 30 minutes after she leaves, he is just fine. He still makes sure he reminds me that it is ____ many hours till his momma comes to get him, but for the most part he is starting to adjust.Hang in there! I know it is hard for you, but in the long run this is one of the best things you can do for him….and don't worry about what those other mothers think of you…once they get to know you (volunteering and such) they will come to love you as much as I do!

  8. Thank you guys so much for your kind words and support. I know I've said this before, but it is such a blessing to have you all in my life! Your kind words never fail to bring me to tears. Thank you again for your prayers, they really make a difference.The last few days have been much better so hopefully he's adjusting now. I'll keep you posted.BTW, Anonymous–yes, we considered homeschooling for a very long time and decided that in our situation our son would benefit the most by attending school, though no one knows what the future has in store so we'll see… thank you for your prayers and advice!!

  9. I am a preschool teacher of 14 years and I think you are handling this difficult transition time so well. Some parents of children who cry that i've had in the past hide in the hallway ALL day, and that almost makes it worse. A quick hug and kiss and "I'll see you at lunch" is a great way to get him to realize that this is what he's supposed to do as a big boy who goes to school. I have seen one mom before have her son (who sounds just like Ace) walk to the door with her and push her out the door. It kinda gave him a little bit of power over his situation of being without her in class. It sounds a little odd, but it worked for that boy. I've also had students carry small photos of their families in their pockets as a small comfort. I wonder if Ace would also benefit from having a little pocket icon with him that he could look at and know that his mommy is praying to the same icon at home. That might make him feel closer to you. Just an idea. Trust me – as hard as it is for both of you right now …he'll be over this by Thanksgiving and loving school 🙂 ~Joanna

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