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Unsteady

We've taken three giant steps back on the preschool front. Things had been getting better, Mia was calmer about it, less stressed, less crying. And then we found out last week that, while she has stopped crying at home, she has not stopped crying at school. And rather than varying between slightly willing to go to school and nearly enthusiastic about it, she has returned to saying she doesn't want to go and breaking down in tears when I drop her off. And I watch all this and think to myself, oh my god, I'm ruining her life!

But then she comes home and spends the rest of the week playing "preschool" with her Little People and stuffed animals. And it isn't a preschool where all the children sit around and cry. They read books and play on the playground and have snack and play games and miss their mommies a little bit but still manage to have fun. So then I think that preschool really is a positive experience after all. Or she spends half an hour in the car ignoring her screaming brother to tell us jokes of her own creation ("Next time won't you eat a house! Next time won't you eat a piece of mulch!") and cracks herself up so hard that half the time she can't even get the words out. So I think hey, this kid is totally ok. She's happy, she's fine, and preschool is good for her.

But I just don't know. I think that preschool is good for her, I think it will ultimately be a really positive experience, I think that we chose the right place to help her through this in a loving and caring way, I think that pulling her out would just reinforce her fears of the world beyond Mommy and I think continuing to tough it out is the way to go. But I'm just guessing here, and I've really got very little to go on and maybe instead of helping her overcome her insecurities I really am ruining her life?

Meanwhile, Owen, oh sweet, happy, charming Owen, has turned into a beast. He has all these teeth that just won't give him a break (canines appear to be on the horizon) and he's in the throes of separation anxiety so severe that he requires constant, full-body Mommy contact else he screams and sobs. And he's so close to crawling, but can't quite do it yet and it pisses him off royally. And I keep refusing to give him pizza. So he cries all day, mostly, breaking only to bite me often and hard or to take an occasional 30 minute nap, but never when his sister is sleeping.

So I spend most of my days bouncing between two sobbing, howling children and trying to help them both and doing right by neither. When I finally get them (usually temporarily) to sleep at night, there's the dishwasher to unload and the laundry to sort and fold and the toys to corral so you can walk through my house without tripping on a glass slipper and falling to your death. It feels, often, like bailing a sinking ship with a sieve.

I've developed a mantra, of sorts. May these be the biggest problems my children ever have. May this be the hardest part of my life. It doesn't help, really, but it is humbling enough to occasionally gain some perspective.

Comments (31)

When are we going out for drinks? Or a pedicure? Or just come over, because honey, you need a break.

Ah hon, you sound tired :-( Hang in there...your children really are wonderful, and someday soon they're gonna remember that and just sleep like little angels or something :P

I was a cryer at pre-school. And one day, the teacher told me that I couldn't do the art project if I was crying. So I stopped crying...and I loved school throughout the years I was in it.

Hopefully, she will have her breakthrough soon as well!

Once he's mobile he'll be soooo much better. Trust me on this one. As for Mia, you're not ruining her life. She will pull through and you definitely need a night/day out.

I hear ya, Beth. I'm sick of so many things - not yet finding employment (but I know, for now, we're still okay-ish financially). Tired of picking Sweetie up from school and hearing about her continued troubles with listening to the rules of end-of-recess time. But I'm trying to remind myself, like you, that if this is the worst we have to deal with - it's okay. Manageable. Bound to improve sooner or later. Good luck to you. Hang in there.

It took my daughter MONTHS before she adjusted to preschool last year. Granted, we started half-way through the year, but it wasn't until the last month of school that she would go willingly. There were times I thought I must be the worst mom in the world for continuing to force her to go.

But then this year! She adjusted to the idea of going within a few weeks (going twice a week instead of just one day helped). She's making friends - like, her own friends, not children of my friends. She talks about her teachers all the time and says how she can't wait to go to their class. She's turning into a more independent girl who is less and less frightened of the world outside Mama & Daddo.

As long as you're confident in the program and her teachers, I think you're doing the right thing by toughing it out. It will get better. Best of wishes for the interim.

Oh man, I'm sorry you're dealing with all this! I think that is an excellent mantra, for what it's worth. I need to think that when Gabe throws himself on the floor screaming because I won't carry his very heavy 31 pound self every second of the day.

I'm sure Mia will adjust. I'm sure she is going to love it. What about playdates with some of the kids in her class? I haven't been through this yet, so feel free to ignore me, but perhaps if she sees super familiar faces she'll be happier?

Thinking about you.

So aside from discussing with the pediatrician (I know, wouldn't you think I have something a little more exciting in my bag of tricks by now?) and talking with her teachers to come up with a plan, I think your best bet is to just stick it out. This is exactly what preschool is for- they aren't learning fractions, they're learning about the world outside of home, and how to deal. It's hard, but I sincerely believe you are NOT ruining Mia's life.

And for the rest of it, I do believe this is exactly why God created vineyards.

My 5 year old went happily to preschool but has spent the last month crying over kindergarten. To keep perspective (I love your mantra), I recommend having a few good friends with older kids. A third grader devistated b/c she's the only girl not invited to a bday party? A 13 year old so anxious about getting her period at school she can't sleep? GAH! Give me Kindergarten woes anyday!

Jeez I hope you have lots of brownies...or wine...or Valium ;)

As for the preschool thing, could she maybe bring something from home? a blankie, or picture of you guys...with the purpose of keeping it in her cubbie/bag for reassurance? just something the preschool my kid goes to had done.

Oh man. You need a nap and 24 hours of sleep. I don't have advice because I would be doing pretty much exactly what your are doing. I think you are doing it right - enforce the positives of preschool, give her big hugs, tell her she's loved and take her to class. You are NOT ruining her life. I firmly believe that.

Does Owen respond to Motrin or Tylenol for the teeth? I don't like doing that all the time but on the really hard days it helps Ben, especially at night. Hang in there. :D

Pre-school prepares her for elementary school, and I can't help but think that this is part of that too. I'd rather my daughter work through the beginnings of separation when it's only a few hours at time. I don't want her crying at kindergarten, when it's going to be a full day away from us.

I think you're doing the right thing by leaving her in. She will get used to it eventually. I have a friend whose son cried every day the first year of pre-school. This year, his second, he won't even bother to say good-by to her.

This will all pass Beth, it will. Hang on, because it DOES get easier. One day, Mia will be in school and Owen will be in pre-school and you'll wonder where your babies went. I wonder every day how mine got so big. Then again, you could have one more like I did at that point, just to be insane and start over. :)

You are a saint. You sound so tired. **Hugs**

This is my mantra...even though its really depressing I always say to myself (especially when its the constant waking up at night deals), "If I only had 30 days to live, I would be cherishing these moments. I would be loving that my kids want my attention." I told you it was depressing. But it helps me, in a weird, morbid, twisted, grateful sort of way.

Hang in there.

Give him the pizza already. Those thighs aren't getting any bigger on their own.

As for school, all I can tell you is that there is a boy in my daughters class who HOWLS. Every day. For the whole 2 hours. His big brother goes with him, and that doesn't help. The teacher loves all over him, that doesn't help. Nothing helps.

Except that every day he goes, he howls a little less. Sometimes it's less in decibals, sometimes it's less in quantity. But he's getting it. And that's good for him.

Good luck, sister.

Hang in there Beth! I have (lately) come to figure out that there is always going to be something I struggle with in parenting. For the rest of their lives. Once you have kids, you worry, have sleepless nights, go through stages and wonder if you are doing things right FOREVER. It definitely gets a little easier the more independent they get but the issues just get more complicated. I have come to realize that the day I found out I was pregnant with Sissy, my life changed forever. I never really thought about the deeper meaning of that when people say it. I always took it as advice about diaper changes and more love than you knew you had. Boy was I wrong! LOL! Lately I have felt a lot like you and have been trying to put things into perspective and telling myself that it isn't as bad as it could be. Some days though, it is, and I really think that is okay too. :)
sorry for the novel! ha!

Ugh. I'm sorry. It's days like these that cause me throw ice cream down my throat. The lack of night time sleep would kill me, Beth. Do you know any high school or junior high kids that can come over after school for a couple hours here or there? It might allow you to get stuff done in peace or at least take a nap.

it's only October!

she will adjust. it just takes time. you are definitely NOT ruining her life by sending her to preschool. :)

My oldest had trouble with preschool. He cried at drop-off, and then sometimes the teachers would tell me pitiful stories about how things went after I left. Some days I would say to Paul, "That's it! I'm taking him out! I can't stand this!" I found that saying it (since I really COULD take him out) helped. I left him in, and that worked fine, and I think it ended up being good for him. But looking back on it, I think I also could have taken him out without damaging him. I think either way probably works out well, in different ways.

Also, for baby: tranq darts? That's what I'm about to try with a certain fractious teething toddler.

Everyone one else has said it, but it bears repeating. It will get better. My younger daughter had a love/hate relationship with preschool, she so wanted to be a big girl and go to school, she was sad and shy and (for a while) cried while she was there. This year, she's like a whole different kid. I don't know if it's because she went last year or just because she's older, but I'm positive that her past experience made this year's transition SO much easier. I would say if she isn't crying full out for the entire school day, keep trying. She's obviously taking it in and learning if she's passing it on to her Little People.

Not everything in life is easy, but that doesn't mean you get to skip the hard stuff. It's a lesson I've been trying to teach my 5.5 year old for, uh, 5.5 years. I don't think pushing Mia's boundaries a little is necessarily a bad thing.

About Owen. I'm sorry. It sucks. But that will get better, too.

Poor Mia! Poor Owen! Poor Beth! I wish I had some good advice for you, but we haven't done this one yet. Count me in as someone else who would be happy to bring over brownies.

How about this one - "Character is forged through fire."

It doesn't always help me, either, but at least it means there's something deeper to the days when all my children do is cry and nothing I can do fixes any of it.

This too will pass. It HAS to. That's my mantra. But I do like yours too and will start using them too- it helps to keep perspective. If I lived anywhere close, we could have a playdate and let the kids go crazy together while we have a few, ahem, adult beverages.

This too will pass. It HAS to. That's my mantra. But I do like yours too and will start using them too- it helps to keep perspective. If I lived anywhere close, we could have a playdate and let the kids go crazy together while we have a few, ahem, adult beverages.

You are doing the right thing. Mia sounds like she's getting the hang of it, at least intellectually (she likes playing pretend pre-school). Emotionally, maybe she's not quite there yet. But she'll get there. Could you make friends with one of the other mommas so that Mia could have a playmate familiar from outside class?

I just try to remember that being a mommy in the U.S. is so much easier than what most of the world has to go through. OK, I don't really do that. I keep stashes of chocolate, and some days I eat a LOT of chocolate.

I worked in a daycare for seven years and I can't remember a single kid who didn't stop crying after a while and who didn't eventually come to enjoy the time there. I mean, sure, would they have preferred to be home? Probably. But in the same way we as adults would prefer to stay home rather than go to work I think.

I did have one little girl who was very dramatic. It took a lot of work and patience to get her to stop crying. But she was a special case. She broke down in heart wrenching sobs if another kid looked at her (in her words) "bad". I doubt very much Mia is at that little girl's level. I won't tell you not to worry because having raised a kid myself, you never stop worrying. But I have faith that she will grow into it and enjoy herself one day soon.

Everyone has said it, because it's true, it will get better. And without second guessing you, seriously, maybe give in on some of the laundry, toy corralling. If getting it ALL done gives you peace, then do it, but if it's only adding to this tough phase, let it go, sugar. I read here every day because I think you're an incredible Mom. And I have no clue if your house is spotless or not. Just not a factor. Especially not right this minute in Mia and Owen's current phases.

Oh Beth, I love your mantras, and will now adopt them for myself. I really do not think you are ruining Mia's life and that this is just part of growing up. Better that she adjusts now and is not in kindergarden sobbing on the floor, right? But I know it's REALLY HARD and that sucks. You are a good mama who does something that is uncomfortable for YOU and MIA but yet sticks with it -

As for Owen - oh, I was Thomas' favorite teether until very recently, and YEEOUCH.

We're in the to pre school or not to pre school fase right now. In The Netherlands people bring their kids to pre school when they turn 2.5 years. I find people frown upon the facct that Monkey isn't already in pre school.

We've been lucky; Ramekin has always loved his part time nursery, and now adores his preschool. But some children take longer to adjust.

If she's going every day, perhaps that should be cut down to just a few half days a week? And gradually increase them as she gets more comfortable there, and gets closer to actual school.

oh gosh, you poor thing :(

them crying all day is so tireing because we (as in mums) get a chemical reaction in our brain (designed to be a sick to prod us on to tend to the crying child). Men don't have this, which is another reason why they sometimes don't understand why we get so worked up! (ok, not we, me. sighs.)

another good mantra is 'this too shall pass. this too shall pass.'

or 'pass the wiskey bottle' that works quite good too...

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