Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Penelope vs. Preschool

If you are a long time reader of the blog you know that I am basically at professional parenting expert level. Olivia and Jackson were AMAZING kids. They had their moments but in hindsight, they were really easy kids, very well behaved, never had any behavioral issues with them.

Then Penelope came along and she's her very own special kid. There is literally nobody like her and I really appreciate that. She's spunky, she's funny, she's sweet, she's lovable, she's difficult, she will make you want to pull your hair out, and she leaves you emotionally and mentally drained at the end of each and every day but she wouldn't be the same if she didn't. Since my AFE my abilities to parent my kids has changed and some days I do OK and feel like myself and then other days I really struggle and I feel like Penelope is falling through the cracks. I feel like she needs more structure and guidance than I can give her every day and I thought that a three year old preschool program would be beneficial for her. And for me because she is a LOT to handle on her own but throw in Lucy and it's overwhelming.

So we signed her up. We did all of the paperwork (well... Matt did) and my contribution was to take her to her first dental visit.
Which went about as well as you would imagine. She agreed to sit in the chair but she would not lay down. I had to open her mouth myself so the dentist could check her teeth and I had a question about how her teeth were coming in and he had to see in there and yeah, it was a rough ten minute visit. She was thrilled with the goodie bag but when the said they would see her next year she replied with, "Not so much." and we left. I already told Matt he gets to take her next year. 
We had the home visit from her teacher, who is absolutely lovely. She's so nice and so kind and she didn't even blink an eye when Penelope wanted absolutely nothing to do with her. She bounced off of furniture, got a dress up costume on, ran around like crazy, wouldn't answer questions, basically what you'd expect from a three year but one who was maybe amped up on sugar or something. 
We spent a LOT of time talking about school, picking out a back pack, sorting what would be school clothes, putting extra clothes in her bag, doing anything and everything we could to get her super excited for school. And she WAS. She asked every day if we were going and was endlessly distraught when she didn't go anywhere. 
So FINALLY the day came to actually go to school. She's only doing a half day program so it's only for a few hours and I really felt terrible thinking maybe she should be in a whole day program, maybe I'm being a fun killer. 
I'm not kidding, she was SO EXCITED. 
The first day was me kind of dragging her into the building. We got our stuff hung up and she was excited to see the classroom again and the teacher. 
We did a quick hug and I explained to her that I would go but I would come back to get her. Really pepped her up, really tossing out all of the cool stuff about school. 
She was pretty excited even still until I left. I had to peel her off of me and run down the hall kind of crouched down so she couldn't see me. I heard her cry and I just kept going and cried in my car. When I went to get her she was full out in meltdown mode and they said she'd been like that most of the day. 
The second day I expected to be a little better. She was GREAT walking in. Let me do the whole routine of getting her in the classroom and I didn't have to peel and run, but she wasn't happy at all. When I picked her up I could hear her crying from outside and when I peeked out the window, she was sitting at the bottom of the slide, crying, and rocking back and forth. Nobody playing with her, just crying.

It literally broke my heart, you guys. 
Then we had a weekend and so over the weekend we watched shows about school, we read books about school, I asked questions about school, I really kept up with the school theme because I don't want her to think I'm just dumping her somewhere.  So we went all of last week basically doing that every day. She did artwork at school and didn't really participate on the paint day, didn't do the chalk day at all. Hardly eats when she's there. Asks for me a lot.
The next week comes and I'm not even kidding- if there was ever a time that I felt like an absolute piece of garbage mom, it was Friday. I was on my way out and I see Penelope standing in the corner looking like she was going to cry. I just felt TERRIBLE. When I came to get her I could hear her on the playground saying, "I just want to go home" and I really left there thinking maybe I'm pushing her too much. Maybe she just isn't ready to be in a preschool setting. Maybe I have failed her as a mom. Maybe I'm not doing enough to help her get ready. Maybe I'm not socializing her enough. This is obviously my fault because we don't go on outings and stuff like I used to do with Jackson and Olivia.

I mean, the entire weekend I had a running list of things I'm doing wrong and every way that I'm failing her and how obviously I'm traumatizing here.

So this week it's gone better (so far). I mean, it's only Tuesday but so far, it's going OK. Yesterday I had to drag her in and run out but when I picked her up, she excitedly told me that she played with another girl, and she said goodbye to the little girl!!! She told me her friend is nice and beautiful while we drove home and I'm not kidding, I teared up because I seriously hope this is the breakthrough moment. She talked about group time, and how they brush their teeth, how gross the lunch is, that they play at a park, etc. I mean, it was like a totally different kid. So I'm hoping.

It's so crazy how preschool basically tamed her at least there. She's still crazy and loud at home, but it's like all of that is gone while she's at school. Which is probably a good thing because I guess I don't want reports of her jumping off the top of the slide and stuff, but it's such a strange change in her. So that's how preschool is going. It's early days and we've kind of been through a lot but I'm really hoping it gets better and better.


The Flynnigans said...

Awww, it broke my heart reading about her breakdowns. Must’ve just killed you. :( You’re doing the best you can Sara, and I hope with each week, it gets better and better for the little miss. :) xoxoxo

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Aw, I'm sure that was rough leaving her and knowing that she's crying and upset. I'm so glad that she finally played with a girl though. I hope the rest of this week has been going well. These things are just big adjustments; so it was tough at first, but I think she'll really like it as time goes on and see that it's super fun! Just keep talking positively about school and she'll get there. :)