Acade(me)

The dissertation was only the beginning.

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ST: Three-year-old Wonder
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Friday, May 12, 2006
Confusion
As we left New Town last weekend, we drove by ST's future preschool. He'd seen pictures of the place before and seemed excited about it, especially after he saw the big playground in the back. We've been telling him that when we move to New Town, he could start going to preschool with the other Big Kids. He asks me nearly every day if we're moving to New Town soon, and I always tell him that it will be in the summer, when it gets really hot.

Last night, before we put ST to bed, he asked us if he'd be going to daycare the following morning. We told him that yes, he'd be going, but that Friday was his last day at daycare before the weekend. He loves Friday, as he knows it's pizza day at daycare and that when Friday's over, Saturday waits for him in all of its stay-in-your-pajamas-and-watch-cartoons glory.

This afternoon when I went to pick ST up from daycare, he pretended I wasn't there. Usually, he runs up to hug me and kisses my face, but not today. He was engrossed in some new toy car. I gave him a few minutes to finish playing and then got his backpack and shoes ready for him, as usual. He would not come. I went after him, pretending to play a little game with him, but when he saw me holding his backpack he screeched, "I don't want to go home, Mom! I want to stay here with Lauren!" (Lauren is one of his daycare providers.) He was crying really, really hard, almost like he was afraid of me. This went on for twenty minutes -- each time I tried to gently reach for him, he would scream and cling to Lauren. Lauren was shocked by his behavior. Finally, Lauren told me to act as if I was leaving. ST did not budge. I even went out to my car and waited to see if he would act concerned. Nope. Lauren finally managed to get his shoes on an coax him out the door. As soon as she left his side, however, he screamed for her again, crying hysterically.

Naturally, I was concerned at this point (well before it, actually). This has NEVER happened before. He screamed all the way home (just a few blocks; I drove because it was raining). He initially refused to get out of the car, and was yelling at me, "Take me back to Lauren! I don't want to be here!" When he did get out of the car, he literally bolted out of the garage and started running down the sidewalk, straight for Lauren's house. He was almost a full block away when I caught up with him (he's FAST!), and I had to carry him literally kicking and screaming all the way back to our house.

We got inside and I set him down. I was so disturbed by his behavior that I literally could not talk to him. So I left him on the stairs to take his shoes off and went to the kitchen to compose myself. I noticed that I couldn't hear him. I went downstairs to discover that he had unlocked the patio doors (glass slider and screen door) and was running away toward Lauren's house again! He has never "escaped" like this. Never. When I brought him home this time, he just cried and cried, leaning his head against the tile around the fireplace. He would not talk to me, did not want to be cuddled -- he wouldn't even let me wipe his nose.

I stayed there with him, not talking, just listening to my little boy cry his heart out. He's not much of a crier, so I knew something was really, really wrong. I turned the television on, something I don't usually do, and tried to find something that would capture his attention. He finally sat down next to me, still sobbing heavily.

"Are you ready to talk to me?" I asked him. He nodded. "What's going on today? Why are you so sad?"

He snuggled up to me a little. "Today was my last day at Lauren's," he said. "Tomorrow I will go to preschool." He told me that he was sad that he wouldn't see Lauren again, and that he didn't want to sell our house and move to New Town. In my rush to explain things to him, I somehow forgot that a preschooler has no conception of time, and that "in the summer" might very well mean "tomorrow." When I told him that today was his "last day" at daycare, he thought I meant "last day" forever, and not just for the week. He was completely confused and so, so sad.

I hugged him and told him that we wouldn't be moving for a long time, and that he would return to Lauren's house on Monday morning after a few days with Mom and Dad.

The stress. It is affecting everyone.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 5/12/2006 09:24:00 PM  
4 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 8:33 AM, Blogger RageyOne said…

    Awww...poor kid. 'tis true, they don't have a concept of time. I hope your eveninig was much better.

     
  • At 12:26 PM, Blogger Dr. Mon said…

    Aww poor baby and poor mommy. Hugs for both of you. Hope you have a great and productive weekend.

     
  • At 11:46 PM, Blogger Peri said…

    Oh my gosh! How horrible for both of you. That must have hit you right in the pit of your stomach when he wouldn't come to you. All that sadness he was feeling and no way to communicate it. And you sitting in your car waiting for him to come. :( It makes my heart ache for you both. I hope things are more calm tonight. The weekend will be MUCH better.

    We moved last year (about 100 miles away) and it was hard for my then almost 2 and almost 4 year olds. They left school and church friends quite reluctantly. You're right though, no conception of time. Hang in there, all of you.

     
  • At 4:46 PM, Blogger Lilian said…

    Oh, this was tough to read, since I imagined myself in a similar situation. I'm glad you were able to figure out what was bothering him, poor thing. It must have felt really awful! I hope he understood what was going on and that you had a nice weekend together.

     
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