The Long Goodbye

September 2, 2008 10:14 am

This is Graham’s second week of school now and I’m noticing a trend. There are several kids in his class who are well, big wusses. I’m not saying it’s their fault, but they are. When I picked Graham up on Thursday, his teacher looked exhausted. There were three kids in the class that cried the entire day. Not a little bit of the day, not just when their parents left but ALL DAY LONG. Man that must have sucked.

I understand the apprehension that comes along with leaving your kid in a strange environment. Shit, I fretted about it all summer and got butterflies in my stomach at the mere thought of Graham starting school. Did I let him know I felt this way? Hellllllllllll no, I don’t want my kid taking on my insecurities and turning into a little crybaby. He needs to be a well adjusted, independent kid that can function away from his comfort zone.

On the first day of school, we dropped Graham off at the same time as another boy in his class. Let’s call him Frankie. Frankie’s mom is very nice and I can tell she really cares about her kid. She fucked with that kid’s head big time though. She dropped Frankie off and he was happily exploring the new classroom around him. Frankie’s mom proceeded to start crying and scoop him up. “Mommy has to go now Frankie, but you’re staying here. Don’t be scared, Frankie it’s going to be ok. I PROMISE I’ll be back for you Frankie, I’ll come back in a little while. I have to go now Frankie. I love you Frankie.” Poor Frankie was just fine until his mom basically told him Armageddon was coming and he was going to have to make it through alone. She walked out, sobbing and I watched the poor kid’s face drop. “Mommy? MOMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYYYY??? WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” The teacher ran over to comfort him but it was no use.

On Thursday when I picked up Graham, Frankie and his mother were walking out as I got there. I asked Frankie’s mom how he was doing and she was trying to hold back tears. She told me he hates it and cried the entire day. He hates it so much that she might have to pull him out of school. I told her that he’ll get used to it (he won’t) and that it will get better (it won’t). Not until she helps him build his confidence instead of keeping him in her protective kangaroo pouch all the time.

I don’t blame Frankie’s mom for feeling like she needs to protect her kid, I do the same with Graham. The other moms at Gymboree think I’m a nazi because I tell it like it is when the older kids pick on the babies. I get it, mothers want to protect their kids from the crazy world around them. I don’t know what the solution is here, but I know it takes away from my son’s school experience when the teacher and assistant both spend the entire day tending to the weaker pack members and not paying attention to the ones who can actually take it.

I realize my words are harsh. We’re fortunate to have a well balanced child that is happy to be with us but can survive without. But I don’t consider it all luck, we took measures to help Graham learn independence early on. While the other mothers are hugging and crying and kissing and hanging onto their kid’s legs, Graham’s father and I kiss and hug him and tell him we’ll see him later. We make it short and sweet and Graham is happy to wander off and find a toy to play with. I love my kid, more than I can ever express in a blog. It’s not like I kick him out of the car door without slowing down.

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3 Comments

  1. mrsbear
    on
    1

    I just read your about page, my youngest was also born December of 06. He’s my independent little rebel. He’s diving headfirst into those terrible twos and he’s tough as nails. But my five year old was definitely not so at 20 months.

    My toddler will walk away from me if given the opportunity and never look back. My older son was always different, he was my wallflower. He’s in Kindergarten this year and he sucked up his anxiety pretty well, no tears, no drama. But every kid is different, you know? 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Lisa
    on
    2

    I myself vote for trying a little compassion. “Wuss”? “Protective kangaroo pouch”? Parents are all different. Kids are all different. They’ll figure something out that works for them. But at the moment, this is something that is hard for them. They have challenges that you don’t just as you surely have challenges they don’t.

  3. Casey
    on
    3

    I know the post seemed harsh. It just made me feel bad for the kid who seemed to be adjusting fine until his mom got him all upset. Today was their fourth day and there are three kids who still cry the entire day.

    I got all welled up the first day we dropped my son off too, I’m not gonna lie. I’m on board with compassionate parenting, I do realize everyone has their own style. I didn’t intend to come across like a jerk, just wanted to point out that kids need help learning to let go (and parents too, sometimes).

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