Preschool, the good the bad and the snotty.
The twins started preschool last week.
I’ll just come out with it.
There were tears. Lots of tears.
We talked about school all summer. We talked about book bags and lunch boxes. We waved at the school every time we drove by. The teacher even came to our house to meet them! The twins were excited. By all intents and purposes, we were ready….or so I thought.
They had a week of short visits to the school prior to starting.
These visits started off great, then slowly declined.
Day one: Visit was for one hour. Drop off was great. I sat in the school parking lot and read, then walked in to find two happy kids.
Day two: Went down hill a touch. This time they stayed for three hours. Happy at drop off, happy at pick up. On the way home, twin A had an accident. Apparently she is refusing to use the bathroom at her school. Not bad, we can work on that.
Day three: Drop off was good. At pick up, twin A comes out wearing an entire new outfit, and twin B greets me with puffy eyes and dried snot on his cheek (also in his hair as I discovered later in the day). He had been crying. Hard.
My gut told me that we might have some trouble the following Tuesday when they started full time, but I held on to hope.
On Tuesday, we pulled up to the school. Despite listening to ‘I am a Gummy Bear’ (on repeat) with the windows down all the way there, twin B immediately started telling me he wants to go home. Twin A remained quiet. I parked the car, unbuckled twin A, got her out, and helped her put on her new unicorn book bag. She was still being stoic, but agreeable. We walked around to get her brother. He was already starting to get teary despite my efforts to get him excited about wearing his new book bag. As soon as I unbuckled him, he made an immediate dash to the rear of the car in an effort to get out of my reach. I know this strategy well, and having expected it, I reached in with ninja speed and accuracy and managed to grab his arm just in time to thwart his efforts. This did nothing to abate his tears, but at least I didn’t have to crawl into the car to retrieve him. I got him out of the car, and tried once again to talk up his new book bag. It didn’t work and he refused to put it on or move.
I picked him up and put him on my left hip, grabbed his book bag, placed it in my left hand, took twin A with my right hand, had a brief moment of gratitude that she was being compliant, put a smile of determination on my face and headed into the building like the veteran mom I am.
The three of us made it to the bathroom where they were to try to potty and wash hands prior to entering the classroom. Both of the twins refused to sit on the potty.
Ok, potty is out. Next was hand washing.
There was a slight pause in the tears from twin B when he got to dispense the foamy soap into his hands. However, as soon as the water washed the bubbles down the drain, his tears were back.
He was still refusing to walk, so I put him back on my left hip, grabbed his book bag, placed it back in my left hand, took twin A by her hand, attempted to put a smile of determination back on my face, and readied myself to walk into the classroom.
Nope. I’d left my car keys on the bathroom bench.
I dropped the smile, gritted my teeth and went back to retrieve the car keys.
Left hip, book bag, twin A, keys and back to the classroom.
Twin B’s cries had gotten stronger and more pleading, with each step toward his class, and my heart slowly started to break.
Mommy, I go car wit you…(cries..tears..snot)
Mommy, you stay…(cries..tears..snot)
Mommy, I go home wit you…(cries…tears..snot)
I let him stand next to me while I knelt down to eye level and explained to his sister where her cubby was and how to hang her book bag on the hook. She nodded quietly. So stoic.
I then turned to her brother, and attempted to do the same thing. He continued to plead and cry for me to take him home.
Their teacher had been by the house the week before, and I made sure to ask how she wanted me to handle such a scenario. She was clear and said that she wanted me to hug the child, and let them know that I was going, but would be back soon. She said that usually they were fine within minutes.
So, I gave an encouraging smile, a big hug and a kiss to twin A and told her that I would see her in a little bit.
I then began the difficult task of prying myself from her brother’s death grip. I had to place him on the teacher’s lap so as to deter a flight risk, then hugged and kissed him, and told him that I would be back soon.
I walked out of the door, his screams echoing in my ears.
I breathed in deeply and exhaled as I walked down the hall and away from the classroom. I was grateful for my sunglasses as I walked past other parents and their children. I got into my empty and quiet car and started to drive away, tears welling in my eyes. I took another big breath and let some of the tears flow out.
There is something incredibly unnatural about leaving your child as they plead for your comfort.
I know that it’s for the best. I know that he will eventually look forward to school, (for a few years at least).
Wednesday and Thursday weren’t much easier than Tuesday. On Friday twin A woke up with a cold. On Saturday twin B woke up with a cold. Unfortunately, the cold kept them out of school this week.
Preschool, the good the bad and the snotty.