My daughter had her first day of kindergarten last week. It went exactly how I had expected – smoothly and effortless. The only one with tears in their eyes was me (after I left my big girl in line with her new kindergarten friends and she couldn’t see me). From that day forward it was all sunshine, rainbows, butterflies and unicorns!
Oh, if only it ended there.
Each day since then has been heartbreaking torture, filled with tears, loss of appetite (she won’t even touch her lunch or snack), and phone calls from her kindergarten teacher telling me she’s spent the day crying. It’s not even kindergarten itself that has her so upset and stressed. It’s the after-school program we enrolled her in to cover the gap between school ending and my husband and me getting out of work. This morning was especially rough. She’s just like her mama with anxiety. It goes right to the belly. That icky, awful, nauseous feeling that won’t subside. She spent this morning gagging before school because she was so ridden with anxiety just thinking about going to her after school program.
Luckily, she has a friend from her kindergarten class that also attends the same before-school care, which has helped tremendously with the morning drop-off. However, she has asked me (on multiple occasions), “Why can’t I go home after school like Isabella does? Can you ask her mom how come she gets to go home?” Well, that was a huge sucker punch to the gut right there. I mean, how can a 5-year-old truly understand that it’s not that I don’t want to come and
rescue her pick her up right after school, but that I have to work? Working mom guilt at its finest, ya’ll. I’d really love to call Isabella’s mom and just ask if she wouldn’t mind sending her daughter after school too. At this point, perhaps I would even go as far as to offer paying for it. Too drastic?
I can understand why she’s having a hard time, though. This is a huge transition for her. She’s accustomed to going to a daycare that she’s attended since she was a baby. Daycare – which really meant going to a family member’s house and having fun with her cousins. One of her cousins is the same age as her and they were in the same preschool class together both years. Now, this poor kid has been ripped right out of her comfort zone and placed in a completely different setting with completely different people.
It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions (to say the least) and I just want off. When your child is in pain, YOU are in pain. The worst part of it all is the fact that I just feel utterly, and completely, helpless. I’ve tried picking her up early so she wouldn’t have to stay after school and we could talk about why she’s so upset and what we can do to make this a better experience for her. I’ve tried teaching her breathing exercises. I’ve asked her if there was anything special she would like to bring with her to make her feel more comfortable – she chose art supplies which we immediately packed in her backpack. I’ve been trying so hard to find the solution but with not much success, if any.
I know this phase will pass and it will get better over time. I know she will eventually adjust and it will get easier. I just keep hoping that day will be tomorrow. Please, let it be tomorrow.