That’s what Julie said to me last night. Her plan involved me sitting in the lobby at her preschool, and then she wouldn’t cry. She asked me over and over again, each time insisting that this was a great idea. And because I love her, and because really, all I was going to do was catch up on laundry and try and find the living room (sigh…), I said okay. We discussed it at length, where I would sit, she was very concerned that there be a table available for my coffee.
I should have sensed it wasn’t going to work when she failed miserably (literally) to hold up her end of the bargain. Drop off was just as wretched as it was the other days, with the added bonus of her actually screaming that she didn’t like me anymore, as she clutched her little burp cloth (her new “lovey”) and beloved Blue Puppy. But I soldiered on – I had told her I’d stay and stay I would.
Even though I could hear her screaming.
Normally, she stops right way, but because she knew I was there, she kept screaming today. For an hour and a half. Which sounds like a lot, until I remember that her brother topped nearly four hours his first year in kindergarten. But regardless of how she compares – my baby has never cried for an hour and a half in her entire life.
I finally left, but only after the preschool director and her teacher assured me that she had calmed down. That she would be fine, and that I should leave her there for the full session. I cried all over my mother on the phone on the way down to pick up Marc, and was sure that when I got back to pick her up, Girlfriend would be curled in a fetal position, still sobbing.
Lo and behold – I went to pick her up, and couldn’t immediately locate her on the playground. Every other time I’ve gone to pick her up, she’s been right by the door, scared and timid, afraid to venture out into the playground. My first thought was that she had been so disruptive that they had taken her out of the classroom, and I was going to find her somewhere else. But she was actually out and about, PLAYING IN THE SANDBOX. I use all caps because she’s never actually engaged with the other kids, let alone wandered into the SANDBOX. She came running over to me, delighted to see me, and waved goodbye to all her little friends. I was holding her and surrounded by four or five little girls all hollering “Goodbye Julie!”
Lesson learned – don’t follow Julie’s plans. Because Girlfriend knows not what’s best for her, and in the end, what’s best for her is to drop her off quickly and don’t linger. Even though it feels completely wrong – because she was so happy. She was delighted when we got home, and chose to stay home and play all afternoon. I had errands to run all afternoon, and I thought for sure she’d be clinging to me, scared and traumatized after the morning – but she was happy to stay home with Daddy, to play with her big brother after school. She’s not traumatized, she had a great day. Except for the first hour and a half.