First of all, what? Tory is three, Ms. Teacher Lady! Practically a baby, she is. I find it understandable for a 37 month old child to have trouble separating from her parent(s). Don't you? I know some kids don't have much issue separating in various child care situations, but this does seem to be an issue with Tory. This separation at school thing is all too familiar to last year. It took Tory NINE WEEKS last fall to settle into her preschool classroom and those weeks were exhausted for the both of us. Though different from last year, Tory's new teacher seems to have less patience to weather the storm. Honestly, maybe the same could be said for me.
The first three class meetings went smoothly, and now Tory's cried for me during class the last four sessions. What's changed? I'm left scratching my head over it because there's nothing new/different happening at home. Her teacher suggested I send a special toy and a picture of our family along for comfort before resorting to me staying in class with Tory full-time. I hate to sound pessimistic, but it won't help. Tory's not hugely attached to one physical object, and last year it took the love and patience of her teacher (and me staying in the classroom with her full-time for several weeks) to gradually transition Tory into separation. I get the feeling this teacher won't be so supportive. There is more structured learning in the classroom this year vs. being more play-focused last year, and I don't think the teacher has time for hand-holding when she's trying to manage so many other objectives during class.
The Thursday drop-off days are interesting. I guess you could say I'm going through a little separation anxiety of my own because I miss Tory terribly while she's at school by herself. I imagined that time being a special morning for Aden and I, but it's really not. Ha! In my grand plan, I forgot he still takes a morning nap, so I'm usually left by myself to blog or knock out a few chores around the house. Really, by the time I drop Tory off and drive back home, Aden and I only have an hour's time before we have to pack up and go pick Tory up again so it's not that much "alone" time. It's strangely quiet without my little side-kick on those mornings. I don't love it.
Then, there's this: I'm feeling over-scheduled this fall. After a really great summer with swimming class being our only commitment, I'm missing the freedom to make impromptu trips to the zoo or visit the library. A friend asked to get together for a play date and I had to say no because we don't have a free morning on the calendar this fall. Well, technically Monday mornings are free, but I'm not giving up my one morning a week to stay in our pajamas, clean house and do laundry. We have somewhere to be by 9:00am every day and I'm left wondering why I've scheduled our days so tightly. I've been thinking about dropping music class on Fridays to free up some time, but this recent crying jag of Tory's at preschool has me thinking otherwise. What I should really drop is twice-a-week preschool. We don't need the drama. Tory has years ahead to be in a formalized school setting. Maybe she's not ready yet? I miss our unscheduled days and time to craft and bake and work on projects together. Perhaps a quieter calendar this fall would yield more time for learning at home? So many of my friends who sent their five-year-olds to kindergarten this year made me realize those quiet days at home with my little kids are fleeting.
I can't remember who told me this recently, but someone said some parents choose various paths of schooling for their children: traditional schooling, daycare, homeschooling, and even unschooling where kids are left to learn and explore in their own ways. This person said some parents choose to keep their children home together during the early years to develop a bond between siblings before the formal school years really begin. The latter resonated with me, and I immediately thought of Tory and Aden and how much those two love one another. It warms my heart the way Aden gazes at Tory with such admiration, and how Tory can't stand being away from Aden for even a minute. Aden took a particularly long nap one afternoon last week and Tory was chomping at the bit to see him. She kept checking the baby monitor every few minutes and burst into his room exclaiming, "hi buddy, hi, hi, hi!" as soon as he woke up. I like the idea of letting my kids develop a tight bond with one another while they're still home together everyday. There is no one else in life quite like a sibling, and if they've got each other's back for life they'll never be alone in this world.
I guess this is to say I'm thinking about simplifying life around here. More freedom to be ourselves, to spend time together as a family and to just play. Andi and I discussed it, and we're going to give Tory a few more weeks to settle into the routine of school. It she's still not enjoying it, change may be in order.