when my child is in school, I wander

When D is in school, I walk.
My mind is churning so anxiously with thoughts of him that my feet can’t bear to stay still.
The exertion of movement gives me something else to think about.
Something to drown out the sound of his cries as he heads towards school.

His heart is torn. He now alternately cries for Miss LaRoche, his teacher who greets him at the gate and leads him into his room, and for me, his mum who leaves him with a cheerful “I’ll be waiting right outside school” even though my heart is breaking into a million pieces and the tears are just waiting for him to take Miss LaRoche’s hand so that they can fall unabated.

It’s Friday, and it’s gotten easier in some ways, difficult in some others. Easier because D looks all composed and happy when I pick him up, and immediately launches into a narrative (half-real, half-fictional, I imagine) of all the things he did at school and what he ate and the games he played. Difficult because the anticipation of school drives him to tears in the hour leading up to the moment of drop-off.

And when he’s gone I walk along beautiful roads like this one …

And sit in beautiful parks such as this …

Watching the waters … who knew a mere lake could be so endless …

But none of these settle my mind …

Monday we talked a lot about school at home. Wrong move. At bedtime on Monday night, D was in tears thinking about school the next day.

Tuesday morning, Miss LaRoche had to pull a crying D out of the car, and I vowed I wouldn’t let that happen again. Mrs. Kim brought him out at pick-up time and D said she had given him a hug and cookies.

KrA came up with the brilliant idea of henceforth dropping D and me at a little distance away from school so that the two of us could walk and give D more time to get acclimatised to the idea of a morning at school. Which is what we did the following day.
We also decided not to pester D with talk about school unless he volunteered information. And he was only eager to share how his day at school had been.

Wednesday morning, D was still teary-eyed during the walk to school although he willingly went in with Miss LaRoche. When Mrs. Kim brought him out, she said he had been more willing that day to be introduced to the other children. D said he had had doughnuts at snack time. Mrs. Kim said it was actually bagels.

Thursday morning, more tears but as we neared school, D kept asking for Miss LaRoche. He went in with her although I could hear his cries of “Mumma, Mumma” all the way until I reached the school gate. But when I went to pick him up, D was waiting patiently with Miss LaRoche while the other children had gone off to play in the playground, something that D wanted to do but he had already been readied for pick-up. Miss LaRoche said he had opted to do lessons in class and had played with a handsaw and a wrench! So I naively thought Friday would be different.

Friday morning, more tears although the thought of playing with the pop-pop toy during park time appealed greatly to him. Despite the tears, he was impatient to see Miss LaRoche, and his cries continued even though he was ready to walk by himself up to her and not have to be carried.

My little child tells me that his teachers comfort him at school when he’s crying. And that soothes my heart a wee bit. He says he likes Miss LaRoche and Mrs. Kim. Over the weekend, he asked me a couple of times if we were headed to school and mentioned “Mumma not in school. Teacher saying no mumma inside school.” But he also knows that “Mumma waits right outside school.”

And the sight of him as he came from the play area back to the school room on Friday, not knowing that I was standing there watching him, my little baby on his own with his classmates, was something to treasure. Let’s see what this week brings.