17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

We hate school!

The hardest thing I have had to do so far as a mother is to take my daughter ( who is almost 2 ) to pre-school/daycare. It has been 3 weeks and she goes two days a week. She still cries, well screams when I drop her off and when I pick her up I can tell she has been crying most of the day. It is KILLING me. I don't know if I can keep this up. I need advice quick. So far I have gotten, "It will get better" and "it is good for her". When does it get better? And how can it be good for her to be traumatized twice a week? When we talk about school, she says "bye bye kids, bye bye M habby (Miss Kathy)". To me that is her way of saying please don't take me there again! So sad.


  • Is she your oldest? Youngest? Middle?

    Does she go to nursery okay?

    This might not help, but she is really young and might not understand the whole concept of "oh, mommy always comes back". Some kids do and some don't.

    Some of things might work, some not:

    1- Make sure she has something that reminds her of you when you drop her off. Talk to her the day before and explain that this stuffed animal/blanket/cup/etc. has your kisses on it, so when she misses you, she just has to kiss it. There's a great book called "The Kissing Hand" that has the mother (a raccoon) kiss her child's hand and when he's scared, he only has to press his hand to his cheek to feel his mom's love...that might work well.

    2-Are there any children being mean to her? Bullying?

    3-Is the teacher really as good as she seems? I had a daycare sitter that was super sweet to the parents, but as soon as they were gone --GROWL!! She was awful and I still remember the woman after 22 years (I was 4 and 5). I HATED going but couldn't really explain to my parents why.

    4-Coming back to the age thing. Those people who say "it's good for her"?? Yes, children need independence, but not traumatic independence. But hey, maybe it will get better and maybe she'll wake up next week and be all happy to go...somehow I doubt that, but it's happened before. Maybe try again next year when she's older and understands better.

    Of course, if pulling her out is not an option (sounds like it isn't) then try the above things. If they don't work (or if you don't want to try them) then do a lot of praying. I probably should have mentioned that first. Pray to know what to do... :)
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 2/15/2006 06:31:00 AM  

  • Some kids are ready for things earlier than other. Even siblings are so different as to when they are ready. My 5 year old still doesn't like primary, but the 3 year old loves it and goes happily with no tears (5 year old was very unhappy about primary when he was 3)
    My feeling would be that she is just not ready and give it another year. (or more if needed)
    posted by Blogger Karen at 2/15/2006 07:18:00 AM  

  • Ugh! Just reading this made me remember the day I had to leave my little guy at a day care center for the first time (he was only 1). I remember I was a mess and the whole situation made my heart hurt. I came back to check on him on my break and there he was still crying, so I took him out of that center, but I still had to work. I started asking around the community about excellent day care providers and finally found a woman who was amazing, she provided a warm and loving environment within her home as opposed to the cold sterile environment of the day care center. I knew that I could not force my child to love his day care center, so I had to find an alternative. Day care, preschools and even college its all about finding the right fit for your individual child and making sure that your Child and family are are happy with those choices. Be patient with yourself and everything will work out. Good Luck!
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 2/15/2006 08:19:00 AM  

  • Oh Zinone, I'm so sorry. That is just heartbreaking to have to deal with.

    I have a few questions/suggestions, but unfortunately this is one of those things where it's so individual for every child. It's a matter of figuring out what works for yours - while you're attempting to keep yourself together through all the crying!

    I think that cc is right, it really can be a matter of finding the right place/person to watch your little one. But if you're comfortable with the place she's at or shopping around isn't really an option, how flexible is the staff in working with your DD?

    I know with Max and nursery, it gets easier if we go in there about 15 minutes early and get him settled in and playing comfortably with something. That way when all the other kids show up and the general goodbye hubbub is going on, he's absorbed in his activity. Or it might work to bring her a little late so that activities are in "full swing" and she can join right in, rather than watching all the other kids fall apart when parents leave them (if everyone is dropping off at the same time)

    Are you a "say goodbye" person or a "disappear" person? If you're not already saying goodbye, you should try it. It will be painful too, but it will help you down the line (she'll be less likely to develop a fear that you're going to leave all the time).

    Are there older kids at her preschool/daycare who might enjoy "helping" take care of her or who she might get attached to? Sometimes Max responds much better to other kids than to grown-ups, so that could work if Miss Kathy has an idea of a child to involve. Or you could find her a "friend", invite one of the other kids (and mom) to meet a playground one day to try and get the buddy system to work.

    I know that some of these are worth didly-squat, but I figure you said you were desperate so I'm putting anything I can think of in here!
    posted by Blogger marian at 2/15/2006 02:40:00 PM  

  • My son (3) will shriek and cry if I take him into school, but if he walks in without me he's happy as a clam. He has never done well if I'm right there, so I usually hide or leave until he's finished with whatever he's doing. It sucks, but it works. He screamed for the first 3 months of nursery, but we had good leaders who urged me to just leave him, and one day he just went in with no problem.
    I have a girl that babysits for me. I call her my pseudo-nanny. She goes with me when I have a full day of errand running and helps me corral my boys. She watches the boys whenever I need someone, and since they get to do fun stuff with her they enjoy having her around. And since she's also my friend they see her at least 4 days a week. If you know someone like that I'd highly encourage seeing if they'd like to be more available. Your little one could be in a more familiar environment, and might think of it as more of a playdate. Just seeing someone that they automatically associate with 'mom leaving' can make a little kid anxious.
    Come to think of it, his daycare provider was a friend of ours also, and he had played at her house many times before going to daycare there. So that's my two cents. Good Luck!!
    posted by Blogger Mo Mommy at 2/15/2006 10:31:00 PM  

  • Man, thank you all for great ideas. I am chewing on all of them... Cheryl, she is my oldest. She does go to Nursery well. Not at first, but only took like three Sundays. I am afraid after all this, that will change. As of now, I have just been dropping and running. Maybe I will try another approach. I have told her the whole mommy will be back thing, but it doesn't help. She doesn't get it I think. I sure hope no one is being mean to her, but how do you know? That is what is so hard, cuz she can't really tell me. As far as having to do it, truth is, I don't really have to do it right now. I have been doing it the last three weeks to get her ready for if I do need to do it. I am hoping my work schedule will pick up in the next week or so, and so I was trying to get her relaxed into a program before it did. I litterally wait til it has been long enough, before I go and get her. So dumb. And finding another place is HARD. Many places won't take kids under two. I think I may just try to find a sitter and save school for when there is no other choice. Oh, I don't know. I go back and forth... ride it out, give up, ride it out, give up... Thank you all for the suggestions.
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 2/15/2006 10:48:00 PM  

  • I think cc is right.
    I know that day care is not easy to find, but maybe it is the place you are leaving her and not just the fact that you are leaving that is hard.

    I am a day care provider out of my home. I only watch kids for one family and I have my own kids too. I know there are more people like me...people who don't mind loving other people's kids and can use the money.
    The little boy I watch used to go another place and I knew him then too. There he was basically catatonic. It was really sad.

    That baby sitter moved, he came here and now he is bubbly and great.
    Some places just click better for certain kids.

    I wasn't looking for kid to watch, but they asked me and it just worked out. Maybe there is someone like me in your area.
    I hope you find something that works for you, and your little sweetie:)
    Good Luck
    posted by Blogger Abby at 2/15/2006 11:17:00 PM  

  • Zinone, that's how Max ended up with Theresa - I needed someone, and I thought to ask her, and it was a great match, she was so wonderful for him. I know you're a bit displaced at the moment but perhaps you can find someone in your ward or through one of your friends there who could fit the bill. Or hang out at the playground one day and just start asking Moms if they have any recommendations.
    posted by Blogger marian at 2/16/2006 05:10:00 AM  

  • Zinone, (I almost gave up your TRUE identity)...I have only dealt with this with my own two kids. They have way different personalities, and my approach has worked for both. POSITIVE POSITIVE POSITIVE. I think sometimes parents (not suggesting this is you here) sabatoge themselves by planting ideas in their childs head. For eg. If mom or dad says: "DD/DS, we are going to this really fun place, and Mommy will be back really soon and you will have fun and don't be sad"...they might have been excited/curious/adventurous but then YOU told them "no mommy, don't be sad," and this would never have occurred to them if it weren't for you dealing with your own separation issues. Again, not suggesting this is you, I just decided that when I drop off my kids I would make it very clear that I support the place and the teachers, I see the apprehension in kids eyes and I smile at the teachers, call them by name, tell the child they will have such a good day and tell them good bye and have fun. I think showing that I am confident and secure makes them feel the same way. The first day I dropped her off when she was two, I was that way, and then I cried on the subway platform...kept that for myself. I think we need to have confidence in our children that they will find their strength and character through these types of "ordeals" and leave our own anxieties somewhere else.

    I also know that I would definitely be second-guessing my decision after a few weeks of no adjusting and if I had the slightest doubts about my decision, would take her out until I figured out something else.

    I really support whatever decision you make b/c you know her the best. Sometimes our plans don't work out...like swimming lessons with daughter #1 (that's a whole post in itself).

    And praying really did help me, b/c for the rest of her life she will probably spend most of her time with other people during the day and praying is my only way to protect her. It works.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 2/16/2006 05:15:00 AM  

  • Since I haven't been through this myself I can't really offer advice. However, I think Kage's "positive" approach makes a lot of sense. When I was a nursery leader, I learned how much my reaction to events would effect the kids. If they would fall down I would give them a big smile and nicely tell them they were OK, laugh with them about the "silly" fall and tell them how brave and tough they were. Smiling smiling the whole time. They would be a little confused at first, but then brush it off and move on. But it seemed that if I would rush over and worry and ask if everything was ok they would sense that it wasn't ok and panic, cry, sometimes freak out. Anyway...its not a great example, but I am a big believer in the power of positive. And the power of prayer.
    My heart is breaking for you though...this does not sound like something to look forward to. Good luck.
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 2/16/2006 04:53:00 PM  

  • Zinone - If I weren't about to pop any day now with baby #1 I would watch your cutie-pie anytime. Maybe I'll be able to help you out with that in the future!
    posted by Blogger Beth at 2/16/2006 07:55:00 PM  

  • If you have to work and leave your child at daycare, that's one thing, but two years old is too young to go to school. I don't think it's good for her.

    I don't understand this trend of taking very young children to preschool. Preschool used to be four years old, just before kindergarten.

    If, as I said, you have to take her, that's a different deal. You have to make the best of it. If you don't HAVE to take her, I'd keep her home awhile. Like years.
    posted by Blogger annegb at 2/16/2006 09:42:00 PM  

  • This is one of the hardest struggles a mom has to face! My Tommy has been a bear about going to nursersy for almost a year now. 2 Sundays ago I had a severe breakdown and didn't even make it to church. Well, it wasn't just the nursery horror, but I had zero maternity clothes for church and couldn't bear the thought of 3 more unbearable hours poured into my biggest skirt-another post altogether. I sat in the closet and cried for a long time. The next Sunday I took Tommy in there and the nursery leader said her goal was to have Tommy going happily to nursery before the next baby arrives. OH, the tears again filled my eyes because I was SO happy to have someone wanting to finally help and be understanding. I said goodbye (as I do every week) and he only cried for about 5 minutes. Then he ended up breakdancing for everyone during singing time. He loved it for the first time in almost a year and what joy filled my soul. My heart really goes out to you, but hang in there- there's a light at the end of the tunnel!
    posted by Blogger Krista at 2/17/2006 09:04:00 AM  

  • If you don't have to take her, don't. Under 2 is way too young for preschool. I took my first one to preschool at 2 1/2, because I thought that was what you were supposed to do, and she was fine, but now I know that 2 year old preschool really does not give them a headstart. They are in the exact same place as all the other 4 year olds 2 years later.

    Of course, if you have to, you have to, but I would keep her home for now if that's an option. She clearly is unhappy with it, it might make nursery difficult, and there's no reason developmentally to have her in there.
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 2/17/2006 01:14:00 PM  

  • Well, after much thought, I decided that Thursday was her last day of pre school. I am going to wait another year, or until I absolutely have to take her again. I will just rely on sitters for when I have to go to auditions. I am feeling very good about this decision. I am only sorry that I put her through three weeks of it... Thanks for all your advice. I really appreciated it.
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 2/17/2006 04:18:00 PM  

  • Zinone, that just breaks my heart. To second what Marian suggested: When I first started taking Anwen to nusery (much shorter then daycare "of course) I stayed with her the first few times until she was actually 18 months and she knew the teachers and other kids. When I started leaving, I made sure to tell her, "Anwen I am going to my class now. Ok? You stay in your class and I'll see you after . . . bye" Until she said bye back and waved. Then I left. Sometimes she said no and I stayed a minute more and then said bye again. It worked much better then just disappearing, because she felt more in control.
    posted by Blogger Brandolyn at 2/20/2006 09:12:00 PM  

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