Today's been a hard parenting day.
Tory and I attended our second ECFE toddler preschool class this morning and it was the first time separating mid-way into parent / child classrooms. Deep down, I knew she might have an issue with separating and that's exactly why I signed up for this type of class. Tory's has no prior experience with a parent leaving her in a "school environment." She does great with our nannies and babysitters (yesterday she said "see ya later, Mom!" when I left home for my OB appointment) but she was also at home on her own turf. I thought it would be good for her to have a classroom-type experience now to prepare her for real preschool next year.
Separating was HARD. I won't lie. Tory was a mess with tears streaming down her cheeks the moment I told her I was leaving for the nearby classroom. Her face was red, her eyes were puffy and she showed no signs of settling down.
It was also a bit embarrassing. I know the ECFE teachers have dealt with child separation issues before, but I was the only parent out of 11 others who's child cried when they left the room. After I tried to reassure Tory for a few minutes in the child classroom and it wasn't working, the teachers encouraged me to say good-bye, leave her be and see if she'd calm down after I left. When I walked into the parent classroom, the other mothers sighed in unison and gave me sympathetic looks. I know they empathize, but I felt super on display. Hey guys! My kid's the one freaking out in there! Oy. About 10 minutes later, Tory's teacher called the parent's phone and asked me to come back to the room. Tory sobbed for the last 15 minutes of class while I sat beside her.
Since class this morning, Tory's been a wreck. She's extra clingy this afternoon, hanging on my pant leg and even demanded to eat lunch while sitting on my lap. I get that she's nervous to let me out of her sight. I've been as patient as possible with her because I understand it's a lot for her to take in. It's also exhausting and I could really use a glass of wine. 8 more weeks, Apothic Red! There's currently a nap-refusing toddler snuggled under my arm watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse because mama needs a break from all the crying.
I thought ECFE would be a helpful experience in Tory's development. She is a big mama's girl and I do think it's important for her to have other social and learning experiences. But, I can't help but worry I'm pushing her too hard, too soon. Maybe she's not ready and why on Earth am I pushing her to be separated from me? She's 24 months old, for goodness sake! We have a lifetime ahead to do separate things. Tory has several transitions happening in her life right now -- a big girl bed being delivered next Monday, a new brother on the way and potty training on the horizon (though she seems to be leading the charge with that one). Is it really vital she learn to function in a classroom environment on her own right now? Today, I'm stuck in "am I doing the right thing?" parenting limbo.
Another mother said to me as we were leaving the building today that there were only two ECFE classes last year where she wasn't called back to comfort her daughter. So, that's a win because her child was finally able to separate today? I'm not sure I can stomach Tuesday after Tuesday this year of Tory in a tailspin. Yet, we'll try it again next week and I'm sure it'll get better eventually. This is the best thing for Tory, right? I hope so.