Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Preschool: Week 3

Week three of preschool and the shine has worn off the penny, folks. For Oscar, at least.  Maybe for me a little as well.

Here's the situation.  Lunch Bunch is when the kids stay at school for an additional hour and eat packed lunch and play at the playground.  I let Oscar do a LB trial, and he loved it.  So, I signed him up for all three days.  It's a lot more convenient for me to pick him up at one than at noon, and I like that he has a bit of a longer day (3.5 hours as opposed to 2.5.)  Well, day two of LB he cried because his teacher was not the teacher monitoring the lunchers.  He was fine, though.  He worked it out, at his lunch, and had a good time.

Come day three of LB, and not only did he not want to go to LB, but he did not want to go to school.  He was a sobbing mess before we even left the house.  Then, he wanted Nelson to stay at school, which obviously could not happen and when Nelson and I made our exit, Oscar completely lost it and the teacher had to close the door because Oscar was sobbing and trying to crawl out after us.  His teacher assured me he was fine after we left and that he had a great day and a great LB.  This was Friday.

So, yesterday, I let Oscar know that today was going to be a school day.  He seemed excited.  I didn't want to make a big thing of it, but I did want to remind him because he had not been to school in four days (he goes Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.)

This morning, when he comes downstairs, I reminded him again that today was a school day.  He was excited, but he told me he did not want to go to LB; that he wanted to come home and eat lunch with me.  I sort of just dropped it and didn't really responds and we went on with our morning. When he saw me packing his lunch, he became upset and told me again that he did not want to do LB. We talked about this for a few minutes, how he was afraid, how he did not like the lunch room.  I validated his feelings of apprehension at a new situation and reassured him, and then I dropped it.  I didn't want to over talk the whole thing and Oscar get too worked up about it. 

All morning, Oscar was testing limits and pushing my buttons.  I kept my cool because it was pretty clear to me that he was stressed out about school and/or LB. He was asking for snack he knows are not allowed in the mornings; making a pile of toys he wanted to take to school (he can only bring his bunny and his Grave Digger); insisting on wearing his Crocs to school (they are not allowed); being mean to Miles.  I just refused to engage him when he was behaving poorly and tried to redirect him. This worked fine. 

When it was time to go, he was fine.  He even asked to carry his lunch box.  The ride to school was good. Once we got there, it went to hell.  Oscar was crying even before I even parked the car.  "No!  I don't want to go to school anymore!  I want to stay home with you!" 

He fought with me getting him out of the car and cried the while way in to the school.  I talked to him and I reassured him.  He refused to go into his classroom, but only once and only for a second.  He wiped his hands with the hand sanitizer with no fight, so I hustled him in and quickly deposited him with a teacher and he had stopped crying before I even made it out of the classroom.

I realize I could just not make him go to LB.  Yes, it makes my life easier, but it would be okay if he came home an hour earlier.  And, also, I don't really think this is about LB because when I pick Oscar up he is always playing well and tells me he had a great time and he eats most of his lunch.  I think he's just having trouble adjusting to school and the new routine.

My current strategies are to not over talk things, to remain calm and together when Oscar gets worked up, to affirm his feelings and reassure him. This seems to be working to a degree as today's drop off was much less dramatic.  I'm also considering cutting his LB days down to twice a week, though I'd rather not.  I'd love some suggestions from the peanut gallery on how else to ease Oscar's transition and decrease his school-related stress.


15 comments:

aimeewrites said...

Honestly, I think your approach sounds great! I'll bet good money the teachers see several kids go through this every year, and the kids who adjust most quickly are the ones whose parents handle it the way you do.

And here's an "it could be worse" for you...Nicolas (my 10yo) use to sob hysterically when I came to PICK HIM UP, not wanting to come home and leave his new favorite place. The preschool director told me years later that, had she not known me so well, she would've called child services! LOL

VandyJ said...

I hope things settle down for Oscar. We had trouble with Turbo when he was in preschool, because he didn't go every day of the week and he wasn't there all day. The other kids kind of excluded him because he wasn't there all the time. It got to the point he didn't wnat to go but the school year was ending and we just finished out May that year. Kindergarden was better.

Diana said...

Bummer that Oscar is having a tough time. Sounds like you are doing everything you can though. Olivia's been going to daycare and now school for a really long time and some mornings she still can be clingy and even cry sometimes. I know she has a great time once she "pushes me out the door" (our preschool's strategy for getting the kids involved with saying good bye to their parents...they even have a song!).

It will get better. Hang in there!

crazylovescompany said...

Sounds like you're doing what I'd do. Our almost 2 year old just went back to part time day care after a month off and fingers crossed, so far so good. Being younger than Oscar though he probably doesn't miss mom as much.

Frogs in my formula said...

All of this sounds so familiar. Junior goes to preschool 2 days a week and even though it's been almost 2 months, he still has days he doesn't want to go. We made a book of pictures he can look at when he feels sad. Am also thinking of having him go 3 days b/c, like Vandy said, he feels excluded and the time b/t school days and non seems to make it worse. It gets better, I promise.

Keely said...

X has the same issues with daycare, sometimes, and he's been there almost a year (2 or 3 days a week). Things that can affect his reluctance level are: # of kids she has that day (more are better for him), what kind of night's sleep he had, whether he woke up on his own or I had to drag him, how much he's seen his father in the previous couple of days (he knows he won't see him much on days that he goes to daycare - although the schedule has changed this month). Also, probably the alignment of the stars.

Your approach sounds much like mine and it works most of the time. Although, sometimes I get annoyed with him and it shows, because he is a spectacular time-waster and I do have to get to work on time. This morning I had to physically wrestle him into pants, but the rest of the drop-off went fine.

Susanica said...

Sorry to hear Oscar's having a hard time some days. Danny still asks if today's a school day and almost always protests. We try to get him to be the one to select the snack he brings and I draw a little picture and write a little note with a Sharpie on the bag for him to see when he is at school. We also talk a lot about the song he and our neighbor girls will sing in the car each day and he really likes talking about that. So basically I distract him. Some days are better than others though. He is always thrilled to see us when school is done though. Wonder why lunch is spooking Oscar so much. Any chance you can lurk and watch what's going on if they play outside? -M

Becky said...

Ooh, I know this is stressful for you guys. My thoughts are, it sounds like he actually did fine at drop off today, once he figured out that school was really happening, that is, he didn't refuse to go in and he stopped crying quickly. Hank is like that about school sometimes--he protests but once he figures out it's happening, he gets with the program.

If I were you, and I know it's less convenient, I'd back off the LB for now because you can use it as a "bribe" to make mornings go smoother, and to reward him for not fussing at the start of the day. I would be tempted to say, "I know you are saying you don't want to go to school, but how about you go to school and then come straight home and eat with me?"

It might give him a feeling that he's making a choice, and with the lunch with mama to look forward to, he might be more chipper to arrive at his classroom.

Sprite's Keeper said...

Sorry, sweetie. It's a fact of preschool life. Sprite still pulls that with me once in a while and she's been in daycare since 3 months. :-)

periperijane said...

Just be patient. Kids live in the moment. I agree the best thing is to be patient and calm. Don't live in that moment with him, because you have the foresight to know that he will be fine, even if he doesn't. I have kids who cry hysterically in the presence of their moms, because they want that LAST little bit of attention, and this is how to get it, and then are totally fine once their moms leave. So don't worry your head. It doesn't seem like its LB that's the problem. Sounds like mornings can be hard. G still says he doesn't want to go to school but he is happy as a clam when I pick him up from aftercare, sometimes as late as 5!

Andrea said...

I don't know what to say. Both my kids were freaks at that age and loved school...

The 8 yr now hates going to school. But that's just his personality.

I think you're doing the right thing, not to over talk it and just let him be. I think he's just missing you in the beginning of the day. Hard as it is, kids forget us Moms within minutes of shiny new toys and friends. :)

FoN said...

That sounds terrible. Although, now I kind of feel bad because my kids can't wait to get away from me each day.

Captain Dumbass said...

We went through a lot of that with Connor, but he eventually got over it. Liam is now in K and is on reign of terror but the teacher thinks its more because he needs more to do rather than problems adjusting.

The fun never ends.

PS. On the Beiber comment you left, once you took Celine Dion we knew we could pawn anything off on you guys.

anymommy said...

You are doing great. It's so hard to leave them upset, but he doesn't sound as if he has a hard time all day, just with the anticipation and the transition. I will mention - I've never done this, but I've seen it work FANTASTICALLY with some of the kids at our preschool - a picture of your family in his pocket?! We've had kids that can just touch that picture in their pocket and be fine, or our teacher will send an upset child to the "quiet couch" to look at the picture for a minute. Nothing works for every kid, just a thought!

gretchen said...

I'm so sorry. But I think you're handling it really well. And try to remember that it WILL get better. Not much solace in that is there? Sorry.