and it seemed like it would never end!
When my son was little..I mean littler, my husband and I would joke about never letting him go out of sight and getting him home-schooled so that I could always be near him. How naive of us.
I am not working at the moment and have the entire day to cater to my little one's needs. We spend all our days in each other's company, merrily and whole-heartedly. But I realized that my now 2 year old little guy needs more than just his mommy. He needs his own circle of friends. Well, apparently toddlers have their own social circle chemistry. Where they babble, baby-talk, laugh, cry and simply have a ball.
Sooo, off we went and enrolled him into a lovely place where all beautiful, 2 to 3 years old balls of fun can rock and roll themselves.
I couldn't sleep the entire night before his first day. Though I knew he would be OK there, it was myself I was quite nervous about. You see, it was not just his first day, it was mine too! Since the day he arrived in my arms from my belly, we haven't been separated for more than a loo-break! And now, he would be there for hours and my heart would either burst with all the nervous thumping or my eyes would swim out of my socket with all those tears. No, I am not being over dramatic. Yes, I know all kids go through this phase. But hey, I am an over emotional mess at the moment.
I cried some happy tears while I sat labeling his belongings with his name, realizing my boy will soon have stories to tell. Double checked everything he needed for the morning and then checked it again. Didn't ease me up on the nervous sighing.
The morning arrives and this boy happily runs to the room full of toys and new things at the day care. I ask him just for the sake of my melting heart - "Do you want mummy to stay, baby?" . "No , No mummy !" . Huh. So much for the bleeding heart *eye-roll* . Toddlers!
But I stayed. Silently observing him from the next room where he couldn't see me, watching him meet new people, new human beings at the eye level and explore his surroundings.
An hour gone and he realized I am not there anymore. He went over to the window overlooking the parking lot and kept asking for his mummy. He cried. Oh Gosh..and I cried! Tears just kept rolling down, knowing I couldn't rush and hold him (for their own good they tell me). One fire truck later, he was okay again and chirping with his new buddies. But now, my trigger was blown. I was drifting towards being that mom who suffers the worse end of separation anxiety. He cried again WHILE playing with his fire engine, which is like his most favorite of all toys, and it occurred to me that may be he feels I have deserted him. May be he thinks mummy is angry and gone! All I wanted to do was to hold him and tell him I am right here. I didn't. It felt terrible and I was already considering myself for the bad mom of the year award. How could I leave my little boy all by himself? How could I watch him cry? How mean of me!
Thankfully, the staff at his daycare is pretty good with toddlers, especially with those on their first days. They would distract him, read him a book, have a game of tag and he would be fine. I thought I was waiting too much to comfort him and should just go in and get him. But then came the snack time. And I saw something amazing. He sat at a table with 5 other mini-humans and actually ate his snack happily while enjoying his time at the table. He NEVER sits still at home. Watching 6 little heads around a table like a board meeting, discussing what a cantaloupe tastes like, was so incredible. That sight was all I needed to know that I was doing the right thing. He is on his way to build his own social circle. One that doesn't involve me. And you know what, I cried again. We moms are a volcano of emotions really.
So this crying and happy moments went on for some time and I stood there watching and living everything. Five hours. And they felt like eternity! When I went over to pick him up, he came running to me with little arms outstretched as wide as they could be and all was well in the world again!
First thing I said to him was - "I was right here all the time ! I will never leave you alone !"
May not always be literally true but that doesn't make it a lie either.
I know it gets better with time, but the second day comes this week and I am dreading it so very much. I suppose its much more difficult for me than him. And I thought separation anxiety was a phase in toddlers. No one warned me about how it rips apart a mom's heart.
Hopefully, I would do better this time and not cry out a swimming pool.
Be still my heart - The Battle Has Just Begun.