BJ's having a bit of a mixed bag at preschool these days. He'd been doing quite well, and then the week off when he was sick really set things back in terms of his adjustment. Alas. Every morning, he asks, "Is this a preschool day?" When we say yes, he tells us (often with tears) that he doesn't want to go. (And when we say no, he says, "I don't want to go to preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I want to stay home with you.") It's clearly on his mind a lot, and it's pretty heartbreaking to witness.
When pressed, he'll explain that he doesn't like to be "alone" -- meaning, without me or S. There don't seem to be any issues with other kids or with the teachers or with the school itself. (Thank goodness.) It's clear to me that this is mostly simple separation anxiety, which isn't surprising given that this is his first extended experience with a caregiver beyond the family. Also, I think it's exhausting for my little introvert to be around the other kids without the safe, secure base of Mom or Dad. But this is something he'll need to learn... I know from my own hard experience how difficult that can be, and I have faith that this particular preschool (and this particular teacher) is about as good a place as we could ask for to help him through this process.
Still, it's painful and difficult to see him struggle with all this. I have such mixed emotions about it. After all, he doesn't have to be there. I'm still home full-time, and motherhood is still my full-time job. So I feel a little guilty for sending him off when he's not all that enthusiastic about it. When I do get tempted to give in to his tears, I remind myself that the lesson he'd learn if we did keep him home is not necessarily the one we'd want to teach: cry enough and you get what you want. At the same time, though, I don't want to ignore his tears or teach him that his feelings are invalid.
Not to mention how lovely it is to have the one-on-one time with my BB! That would be hard to give up. I do believe that this will be good for all of us, in the long run, as upsetting as it can be in the moment.
From all reports, it seems that once he's there and we're gone he does okay. Other parents have said they've seen him playing, and the teacher tells us that he does well most days. Today was a good day, she said, which was nice to hear.
Especially nice because we don't tend to get much input from him about the day. He rarely wants to talk much when we pick him up. Today when I asked him what he did, he told me outright that he didn't want to talk. "I'm tired, Mommy," was all he'd say.
"Can I ask you one thing, then?" I asked while I gave him a hug. He nodded. "Did you have a sad day or a happy day?"
"A happy-ish sad day," he said. As a happy-ish sad person myself, I could totally relate. And I guess that's about as good as we could ask for right now.