Sunday, September 11, 2005

On the Job Training: Motherhood - 1
When It's Time to Change...

Recently, my daughter A. changed schools. She’s been in Goddard School since she was less than a year old, when I returned to work. We thought she did well at Goddard, but we wanted to find a full time kindergarten for her, which they did not offer. There is a Kiddie Academy nearby which offers pre-K program and the full day kindergarten. Plus, there are other benefits that Goddard does not offer – more convenient hours, lunch and snacks provided and a brand new cleaner environment.

My husband S. was worried about A. going to a new school. He and I both felt a rush of our own memories, bearing the fears and anxieties that come with starting a new school or a new job. Now our baby girl would have to face them. S. was not sure this was a good idea. It took some time, but enough friends assured him a social 4-yr-old like ours would not have a problem. I tried to remain positive.

First day of school was last week and A. had to say good bye to her friends at Goddard. It was sad since she’s known them all her life. Miss B. the asst. director is in her late 50’s and the kind of woman that scared the kids into shape. One of the parents told me she threatens her daughter "I'm going to tell Miss B. that you didn't clean your room!" The child never moved so fast!

Moreover, she scares parents into shape. I felt so many times the school pushed me ahead with A. when I wasn’t even thinking about it. They told me when she needed to move to sippy cups and solid foods, and I was surprised. I remember receiving a phone call at work reminding me strongly that baby food was not acceptable for lunch and she needed to work on finger foods in order to move into the next class. So, this was another relationship that was going to change.

Anyway, A. and I baked the customary "farewell" brownies and made little trays for the teachers and staff. A. and I had visited the Kiddie Academy in the morning to introduce her to the teachers and environment. She smiled shyly at the teachers and looked at the toys and games in the room. Then she smiled and pulled me towards her, “Let’s go to Goddard now.” I tried to remain positive.

Thursday was her first day. She plummeted me with questions “Who’s going to be my best friend? But I don’t know anyone’s phone number.” I pumped her to go to bed to wake up early and get ready, which she did. In fact, she woke up an hour earlier and had time to just chill in front of the tv while I took a shower.

When I stepped out, I heard hysterical crying downstairs. What could be faster than the mind of a mother hearing a child cry -- is she hurt? did she cut herself? is she lying under heavy furniture?

I called out to her .

"We're late! we're late! wahhh..."

I told her calmly that we're not late and are on time. It made me realize the extent of her anxieties. I told her they would give her lunch, so I did not need to make her lunch today. "What if I don't like it?" she asked.

"Then I'll bring you something else. We'll find out." I tried to remain positive again.

When we entered the new class, we were greeted warmly and A. was led to a table with coloring books. She looked up at me quietly and I stayed with her a little bit. I asked the teacher what was for lunch. "Pizza bagels!" I asked A., "Is that ok?" and she smiled and said yes.

Then I asked I could go now. She smiled and nodded, and the teacher assured me she was ok. I gave her a hug and kiss and left.

I sat in the car and turned on the radio. That corny song from the 80's by Glenn Mederios was on:"Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for you"

And, I just cried.

I had been holding this inside and being positive for so long, I needed a release. And, leaving your child at the doorstep of a new school is as hard as they said it would be.


AppleLina said...

It seems like the ordeal was harder for Mommy than Baby :) which I imagine will be true for a long long time...Before you know it you'll be buying her prom dress! Enjoy the ride...

Harnish Jani said...

Very cool site-loved it-very tasteful-I'm sure people will enjoy and will appreciate it.Atleast I did.Good luck and Lots of love-Dad