Transitioning

Last night I slept for nine solid hours, yet this morning I’m exhausted. My eyelids itch, perhaps from my seasonal allergy to ragweed, (we seem to be growing it the way some people grow corn) or perhaps from the crying that ushered in my nine hours of oblivion. There are so many moments on my parenting journey where I truly don’t know what the hell I’m doing. The last two weeks have been prime examples of parental wtf.

I like our new school. It’s charming, and cozy, and grassroots. The teachers seem like good people, and they seem to be happy to be teaching. It’s almost the kind of school I would run, if I were crazy enough to try to run a school of my own. The joint was created by a fierce, passionate, no-effing-around kind of lady who was raised on an organic farm and Waldorf schooled through her formative years. She started the school mostly for her own kids, who were left without a decent place after a series of unfortunate events with other institutions. The head of our school wears glitter on special occasions. She’s my kind of lady.

Grassroots means this school is run mostly on a lot of our leader’s own steam. Her partner seems a wonderful support, and he’s very active in the community, but our community is small. The class sizes are small, which is both a blessing and a curse, at least for Ayla. She can’t “click” with any of the kids in her class, because I think they are a little less mature than she.

Her poor sister needs her own space desperately, and Hannah’s new friends don’t really have much in common with her often over-exuberant and in-your-face little sister. Ayla can’t figure out where to fit, and with all things Ayla this comes with much drama. The sadness and frustration obliterate any possibility of a better outcome. The suggestion that perhaps she try to initiate a new game with her peers, or perhaps roll up her sleeves and try to enjoy Barbie is met with outrage. I don’t know what to do, and my heart breaks to imagine her feeling lonely and out-of-place. She was so in place at our old school.

Noah is a mess. His second day at nursery seemed promising, but it’s been a losing battle ever since. He’s going full days for three days a week, but under the advisement of his teacher, we’re scaling back to half days until further notice. We drop him off, he cries, he wants to be held, and this continues for a full six hours it seems. His teacher can’t hold him because of a back injury, and because it’s pretty damn inconvenient when you’re trying to run a full daycare. This week, I didn’t feel confident leaving him there on Monday because his teachers seemed frazzled. On Wednesday his daddy took him, because he’s stronger than I am, and when I picked my little man up, he clung to me. He was shuddering and exhausted and seemed utterly defeated by the day. His teacher didn’t seem much better. I know how frustrating it is when he’s extra clingy, and on those days I get very little done. She has five other babies to take care of, and even with a second teacher there, I imagine it’s hard to move through the day if one of the kids is having such a hard time.

She informed me that he’d been “like that” all day. I wondered why they didn’t call me, to see if I might want to pick him up, but I said nothing to her. Maybe I don’t know what I’m doing, and the best thing is to let him figure things out on his own. That feels so wrong to me though. My senses are telling me otherwise. My senses are telling me it’s not okay to leave him there when he’s this upset because he’s not even two years old yet. It seems contrary to my instincts as a mother to leave him feeling so distraught, and frankly when even the teacher seems stressed out by this, it does not inspire confidence.

I’m not planning on having other children, so as far as I know, this is my only experience with transitioning to someone else caring for my baby. It felt good the first week to leave him there, even though he had some protest. It doesn’t feel good this week.  Are my emotions interfering with my ability to be rational here? Is his teacher burnt out and not up to the task of managing with confidence? Is he not ready to take these steps?

Our Waldorf community felt like a Utopia of gentle nurturing and loving, reassuring, confident hands. I’m crying as I type this because I miss that place so much. I so wanted to see Noah reap the benefits of such a beautiful environment, but our circumstances have made that impossible. I resent the hell out of our circumstances, and it’s incredibly hard to see a light at the end of this tunnel. Sure, I realize that Noah might have had an equally hard time adjusting to that school, but I knew it well and it felt really good to me.

Nekky tries to encourage me to be positive. He says the children will pick up on my positivity. I can’t find it when I feel like the mountain we are climbing to get back on top is forever towering over us. I want us to have choices. I want us to have freedom. I don’t want to feel stuck like this, and powerless to make change happen.

School seemed like a simple solution – with the kids there my time would be free to help earn. Perhaps it will all shake out, and I can contribute to our family in a way that we sorely need. If it doesn’t, if I have to keep Noah with me for another year, I don’t know what we’re going to do.

We have our health. That’s huge. We have a roof over our heads, and it’s a pretty spectacular roof. I am well aware that there are problems that are certainly worse than ours, but this is where I live and the reality of these challenges is all-consuming. It’s making me a horrible mother to my other kids, it’s making me a distant and angry partner. It’s making me the kind of person who doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning.

I want my old life back. The fantasy where I thought we were living an urban life rich with art, and friends, and a fancy private school. I don’t even know who I am anymore, and I don’t like who I am becoming.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Ben Trafford
    September 18, 2014 / 11:13 am

    I’d trust your senses when they say he shouldn’t be left there.

    We didn’t put our son into daycare, school, or anything of the sort. We agonized over each step, because society rams home the message, “Get them out. Don’t let them cling.” And maybe that works for some people, but it didn’t for us. We kept him home, and I’ve never regretted it — been frustrated, annoyed, inconvenienced, etc.? Sure. But regret? No.

    My son is six. He’s already a third of the way to being a man and going off to live his life away from us. I’ve got a thousand happy memories of his life. Our society’s route of daycare to preschool to school is strange to me. I don’t see the point of having a child only to send them away at the soonest available moment.

    Sure, I’m less productive than I used to be. So what? How productive do I need to be? The bills are (usually) paid, there’s a roof over my head, and I’m still able to devote myself to the most important thing I’m ever going to do — be a parent.

    Your mileage may vary, but in any event, it doesn’t sound like the daycare is a good place for your son.