Saturday, October 24, 2009

Angry? Scared? Frustrated? Just sing your ABC's

The boys have been in daycare for about 3 weeks now and each morning Peter still cries. I hate that for him. He's inherited my deep sensitivity towards life. He's very attached to mommy and daddy and he starts dreading going to school as soon as he gets up in the morning. I have distinct memories of that level of dread and fear from my childhood. He's fine once he gets to school and has fun all day, but the instant one of us shows up to get him his eyes fill with tears and he comes running for a big hug. So sweet for us, but I hate that he's so emotionally torn up so young.

One morning on our way to school he just couldn't bear it anymore and broke down crying on the bus and started screaming "No School Mama!" over and over again. I tried to stay calm and not cry myself. As calmly as possible I asked him if he was scared to go to school; answer: yes. Are your teachers mean? answer: no Do they hit you? NO!!!, he says loudly. Do they play with you? YES! he says all happy (with tears still streaming down his face). Then you have fun at school! YES!!! he says, still crying. So why are you scared to go to school? "Miss mama! Miss Dada, Miss Tiggs (that's our cat)". We had gone through this routine everyday since he started school, so this time I was prepared with a photo album of the family he could take with him. He was happy, and we made it to school. That tactic only worked once, however. The very next day we were on the city bus again with him in tears. This time, for an added little twist, he sat down on the bus floor and refused to get up. Here I am with a stroller, backpack and the baby strapped to me trying to maneuver my two year old off the bus in a way that didn't make me look like a horrible abusive parent. What I wanted to do was just grab his arm and drag him off. He finally relented and got off sobbing. I told him anytime he's angry he can sing to feel better.

So... now what happens every morning when he starts getting anxious about our impending arrival to school he starts singing the ABC's at the top of his lungs and really fast. Kind of like an adult might count to ten to regain composure (only my little man is yelling).

The people on the bus find this cute (or at least pretend to) and I'm not the horrible mother dragging her kid off the bus by the arm. I hope this approach to the school day melt down sticks because I'm all out of tricks and ideas.

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