Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Not quite what I had hoped

Today we're on day three of Kindergarten. It's not quite going as I had hoped-- well, the actual school part is fine, great even!, but Iris's anxiety has reached a fever pitch.

On Thursday, her first day of school, she did absolutely great separating from us and jumping in to her school day. After school she was quiet and declared that the day was too long and that she didn't want to go back. She also decided at some point over the weekend that she hated her teacher AND her school. On Monday when we went back for day two it was an absolute nightmare. Iris clung to me, holding on tighter than she ever has. She was screaming, crying, her face was red and she did NOT want to be left at school. Her teacher tried all manners of coaxing her until we literally had to rip her arms off of me. Eloise is in her preschool classroom at the same school on Mondays, so I went back to say goodbye to her before leaving for the day. As I left I got a quick peek inside Iris's classroom and noticed she was no longer screaming, but she was snuggled up next to her teacher.

After school she was in a GREAT mood and had decided that she now liked her teacher "a little bit". When I asked her about her most favorite and least favorite parts of the day, she didn't bring up the drop-off. Neither did I.

Right before bed last night she decided she would never go back to school again. She basically fell asleep crying, which was so heartbreaking, but I didn't know what else to do. I knew she was exhausted and needed to sleep, so I didn't want to keep her awake talking about things.

The first words out of her mouth this morning were "I'm NOT going to school today". She started crying before we even left the house and was still crying when I walked out of the door after dropping her off at school.

I think she actually enjoys being at school. Except for the missing us part, I believe she is making friends and enjoying the activities. However, the separation is causing her so much anxiety that it is just over-shadowing everything else.

Needless to say, I don't know what to do. I've gotten some great advice from friends and family on how physically separate at school every day, but what I don't have a clear idea of is how to even prevent her from reacting this way in the first place. I don't know how to get her excited about being there. I don't know how to help her calm down and stop screaming (short of taking her out of the classroom, which I can't do!).

Interestingly, Eloise is the exact opposite. I brought her to her classroom and she ran right in and played. Never looked back. She declared "I love school! I love my teacher!" and can't wait to go back.

I must say that yesterday, when both girls were in school for six hours, was really dreamy for me. I had a HUGE to-do list and accomplished little of it, but overall I think I got a fair amount done. Just trying to get the house in order a bit before I start my other projects like painting, hanging curtains, hanging closet rods, etc etc etc. I am looking forward to several hours a week to myself to get all of this done.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds good that when you looked into the classroom Iris was snuggled with the teacher - at least you know it is a good, emotionally safe place for her.

    A couple of Emma June's friends from Dana's Daycare are having difficulty with separation anxiety at Whittier too. Her friend, Sheridan who has always been very independent and directive (read: a bit bossy) is suddenly having problems which was unexpected to her parents. Similar to what Iris is going through - lots of crying before and after and yesterday when I had lunch with the kids at school I asked Sheridan how she liked it and she said "It's fine except for being away from Mommy and Daddy" and then her little eyes teared up! :(

    Emma June's been keeping bunny and raggy (her security toys) in her backpack at school. Can you pack something she finds comforting to keep with her? Also, we always remind Emma June that when we're apart her Dad and me are always in heart and if she puts her hand on her heart she'll remember.

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