Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Preschool Anxiety

Last night we had our Parent Orientation for Z's school. S and I went together and I was sick to my stomach the entire ride over. The entire school was there and so the session started off as a big group. We then broke into smaller groups and we got to meet Z's teachers and the other parents of his class. I was holding up okay until the teacher started talking about that first morning and how important it is to prep them for the good-bye.

"I will come down with you, help you hang up your things, watch you pick a choice activity and then give you two kisses and one hug....then mommy will leave for awhile and come back after school is done".

This was what she suggested we say to our little three year olds and at this I started to tear up. I was able to keep it together (fanning myself in the hot auditorium) but didn't realize how hard of a transition this was really going to be for ME. She then told us that even if our child was not fully potty trained that they must come to school in underwear, not pull-ups. This statement caused my heart to start beating out of my chest, I could feel the sweating forming and my blood pressure climbing. My little Z was going to have to deal with the anxiety of starting school at the same time he was going to have to worry about using the potty??? Was that fair to him??? The poor baby inside of me must have been wondering what was going out in the big bad world...why was mommy freaking out??

All of the pregnancy hormones raging through my body and the worry over this big transition for Z were now mixed with the huge anxiety over potty training!!! What were we going to do?? What can be done in a week??? I cried the whole way home, cried with my sister when I got home and then cried with S for about an hour and a half over the situation. The poor guy tried to calm me down (for the baby's sake) but I was too worked up to listen to his good sense.

"Put Z in underwear tomorrow, make it clear that when he goes to preschool he wears underwear."

This was his advice, I knew it made sense but Z had never been out of the house in underwear...was he ready? Was I ready???

This morning I woke Z up for his Open House at the school. I told him that Daddy and I had been to his school the night before and that we met his teachers and saw his classroom and everything looked wonderful. He looked at me and said, "I don't want to go to preschool". Then he crawled into a ball on the floor. I explained all of the wonderful things in his classroom and how his teachers couldn't wait to meet him and he looked up at me with big doe eyes and said, "Will Mama stay with me or is she going to leave like Llama Llama? Mama stay with me?" That damn book!!! I told him that today I would stay but when he started school next week, I would be leaving for a little while. I gave him a big hug and fought back the tears as I continued to pump him up about preschool.

So we drove to school in undies (with 4 back up pairs and two extra pairs of pants in my bag). We went straight to the bathroom to use the potty where Z giggled nervously. I helped him develop a potty routine for this new bathroom and showed him that the toilet was not loud (thank goodness!!!). We then walked into his new classroom to find his hook. He found it right away, met one of his teachers and then took off for the science center. His eyes were wide as he took in all that his new classroom had to offer. He played with the blocks, make a great house, climbed a bridge and really enjoyed his time there. He dragged me around from one activity to another, not letting me out of his site, but he was happy! At one point he looked up at me and said, "Preschool is great!". I took him to the potty once during the 45 minute open house and then again at the end.....he did better and better each time. I was sooooo PROUD of him!!!

At the end of the Open House we went out to the playground with all of the other children. Z had his first run in with a boy who would not share and quietly (and sadly) stepped away from the situation. It broke my heart but I realized at that moment that I can't always protect him and stand up for him. He is growing up and there are some things that he is going to have to learn to do himself. As a tear rolled down my cheek, I watched him sadly move onto the playground. Within minutes he had forgotten the situation and was enjoying the slide. My little boy was growing up before my very eyes.

We don't officially start school for another week but today's experience was good for both of us. Z got to experience all of the fun that preschool will offer him and he had a really great time. I gained a little more confidence in his potty training abilities and know that in time he will master this very difficult skill. It was a growing day for both of us and though I am still anxious about next week (and know I will be crying like a baby when I drop him off), I know that he will be okay (and so will I).


Alicia said...

awww this takes me back!! my oldest is in first grade now and i can't believe it!! i hope z loves preschool!

Connie Weiss said...

I'm in tears....

I'm so glad that the open house went well. It's a big step and a big day for both of you!

Michelle said...

Awww sweetie it will be ok. I promise!

You know what is going to make all of it better? Pick up! When you go to get him and he's sees you and that huge grin lights up his face and the excitement in his body starts to take over and then the giggles start to pour out and then all of a sudden you hear those words you always long to hear...mooooommmyy!! He will leap into your arms and you will forget all the sadness you felt.

It will be worth it. It will be worth all of it. I still have vivid memories of my pick ups. It will be ok. I promise.


{truth by told....they still do it and it's my favorite part of the day!}

parentingBYdummies said...

Sounds exciting! We start school tomorrow (it's his 2nd yr in preschool) and he looked so nervous yesterday. Hopefully it'll go well and then I can come back and give you some words of encouragement. This is my middle one, but he is so shy and quiet that he's having a totally different experience from his older, more social brother. Wish us luck!

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