It is Emma’s second week at playschool. We decided to only bring her there three times a week as a full week might be too tiring and stressful for her. The playschool program had a full day option too, but we felt she did not need it. After all, it was just to start her off with some independent exposure to the bigger world, a little at a time.
The first day, she didn’t cry when we brought her into the school. She cried after we left. The second day, she cried hard at the door of the school. The third day, she cried before we reached the door of the school. This week, we start again, and she started crying before we left the house.
I really do hope it gets better with time considering she’s only been to the playschool a few times. When you become a parent, you worry about every single decision you are making, i.e. “is it going to be detrimental for her mental health?” “is she not ready for this?” “is this normal for her to feel the separation anxiety?” etc … . I know at least for me, that’s how it is. I’m sure my mother went through the same predicament. She just never talked about it, because that’s what mothers of her generation are like. Times have changed, and parenting methods have evolved too. Children these days seem to mature so fast, especially emotionally. I’m surprised at the things my 2.5 year old can relate to.
The first day, I was holding back my tears when I said goodbye to her. I don’t know why, but the feeling was overwhelming. I bawled on my husband’s shoulder as we left the school. I felt lost. As much as it was a good thing for me to get some time alone, and focus on household chores, I experienced a sudden realization that I am no longer in control. I’m not there to decide what she should be doing, or playing. I’m not there to help her if she needs it. I’m sure it is very difficult for young children to experience being separated from mom, especially when mom has been there all the time for the first two years of their life. Suddenly, there’s this concept of school. While we enjoy playing pretend with her at home, setting up the stage and what children do in school, it still wasn’t enough to prepare her for the reality of it.
It’s strange how the mind works. No matter how you tell it not to over-worry or listen to other people’s opinions, it will find its way somehow to break your nerves and start researching into every article on Google about the dangers of sending your baby to nursery too early. But here’s the thing, when you type your question in that search bar, you are asking to read opinions and articles only relating to that question. I got so caught up with trying to figure out (on the Internet) what is wrong with my parenting, and what is wrong with my kid that I almost forgot about re-bonding with my child when she is back at home. Suddenly, I felt guilty. We try to give them the best of everything, yet we worry about spoiling their future and pampering their souls. What is right? What is wrong?
I had to put down my smartphone, and reconnect with my child. I held her close, gave her butterfly kisses, and just … smell her. I missed her. I do miss her when she is at playschool. I wonder all the time what she is doing, how she is feeling. When we adults get busy, we get so caught up in our work, that we forget the little miracles this joyous child of ours has brought. Sure, there are the tantrums. The unpredictable moods. The rebellion. I deal with it everyday, and wish often for some “me” time. But I still forget at times, they are nothing compared to the sweet hugs and loving smiles she gives me, the way a child looks to her mother, whom she adores very much. The way she holds my finger or hand as she tries to fall asleep beside me. I love her with my whole heart and soul, and that is why it aches to let her experience this separation. It aches so bad, but I have to put up a strong front for the sake of her. This is why motherhood is the toughest job in the world.