Saturday, September 02, 2006

Separation anxiety

Dear Annabel,

In a week you'll be starting preschool. In preparation, your father and I have attended three meetings to iron out the details. We've signed up for tasks (your dad has already completed his first chore: powerwashing the playground toys). I've volunteered to be a board member (publicity and grant writing) and we are excited to be involved.

We've even been fighting over which one of us gets to go to school on your special day, which, as you will find out, is when mommy or daddy turns up to assist your teacher for the day. We'll be busy in the kitchen making snacks, cleaning up and helping your schoolmates traverse the tortures of bathroom etiquette and playground protocol while you look on and beam. Or so we've heard. It will be one of the few times in your development when you will be proud to have us around.

I worry how you will get along in school. Children can be mean. There will be those who won't want you to play with them. There will be petty jealousy and nasty looks. There may even be pushing, shoving and eventually trips to the principal's office, or worse, the nurse.

We've already experienced a little of the communication breakdowns that happen between tots. We winced in pain when your sweet, playful pretending was misunderstood by a child who just didn't "get it," and felt compelled to call you a name and run away. What could we say? Nothing. You didn't seem to need any explanations. "She didn't want to play," you said, not unhappy.

I worry also that you might become one of those mean girls. One of the girls who want to run the show and watch the actors squirm under their direction. In many ways, that would be worse.

So babyofmine, while the idea of school excites you now, we are petrified. You are growing up, making your own decisions and reacting to things we can't control. We hope that we make it easier for you, but not too easy. We hope you make it easier for us, too. But not too easy, right?

Love,
Mommy

8 comments:

Michaela said...

I'm a first time reader, and your post brought tears to my eyes. Even when she's not openly proud to have you around, she will ALWAYS be glad to have you by her side. I know, 23 years after I started preschool, I still long for those moments when I can curl up in my mother's arms, cry, and know that I'm safe.

May this brief separation only bring your family closer, provide colorful stories and adventures to reminisce about, and teach you all a few life lessons. I'm also still best friends with a girl I met in infant classes - you never know what will happen.

Best of luck :o)

Melissa said...

I think it is wonderful how involved you and your husband are in your daughter's school, even at such a young age. Often times, parents view preschool as their opportunity to "get away" from the kids for awhile. But our children need to know that we are still available to them, even when it's the teacher who is in charge.

Annabel seems like an independent and well-adjusted little girl. Nevertheless, to us parents, the mean and heartless comments directed at our children can hurt us even worse. All you can do is remind Annabel of the golden rule and hope other parents do the same with their little ones.

Good luck to your family as you enter this developmental milestone together!

ECR said...

Just from reading your blog for this short time, I get the impression that you've prepared Annabel very well for most things preschool will throw her way. That doesn't make the milestone any less nerve wracking, though. My little one has two years to go till she gets where Annabel is, and I will be holding onto the clock the whole time, trying to slow it down...

crazymumma said...

She's gonna be ok...I promise...I have done it twice. There will be hurdles and deep hurts, but it sounds like you are more than there for her. Sigh...bittersweet...

Andrea said...

Aw... good luck with this. I hope everything goes well.

sweatpantsmom said...

This brought back memories. My girls are 8 and 10, and tomorrow is the first day of the new school year. It's still hard to see them go.

Although the anticipation of six whole hours to myself is cheering me up a bit...

wordgirl said...

Ah...the door opens onto the wider world. I remember those feelings of being overwhelmed and excited for my kids. It's a magical time. Enjoy!

lildb said...

With all the kids who've been shuttled off to school lately, and all the resultant, bittersweet posts about such, I've been unable to keep myself from crying a little bit over each one. Each tick of the clock that is a marker of this special point in time.

I understand that it has to happen, that it's the natural progression; but why does it have to be so fleeting?

And that shot of your daughter with the flowers is wonderful.