Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Sinking Feeling

There was no outward sign that it was going to happen. Even in hindsight, I don't see what we could have been done differently on our part to have it not happen. If only he had given us some clue that he was concerned. If only he had said something. If only he had pre-presented, as it were.

Thursday was the first day of school for the lad. He was quite excited at the prospect. He'd spent all last year, slumming with me on campus. He was excited about the teacher he was going to have. "Is she the best teacher there?" I'd answer him by lowering my voice -- so the others wouldn't hear -- and say, "The best teacher ever." All last year, I'd point her out and we'd wave to her and he'd smile at her.

He would learn how to read books! He would learn how to paint even more magnificent pictures than he currently paints! He would make new friends! He would be in kindergarten!

But then, unbeknown to us, he got a sinking feeling.

His first day was on Thursday. Up until the moment Pete let go of his hand, the lad seemed fine. In an instant, he melted. That sinking feeling dragged his sorry butt down into a puddle. He was drowning in hysterics. I wrote about it that day. His question to the principal amid his hysterics? "Will I ever see my Mom again?"

He did settle down. He had a fine first day of school once he settled down. And he was going to not cry on his second day of school, no sir. It was going to be his birthday present to me.

We didn't make it to the gate on Friday. He started crying 20 yards away. We pulled up short near the benches. And then he did what he inevitably does in moments of extreme stress for him. He puked. And then he puked again. Little puddles, really, those two. I washed them down with his bottle of water. You could barely tell.

By the time I'd gotten the principal to join me with him, his sinking feeling kicked him straight in the gut, and he spewed like only he can.

It took a few minutes, away from the classroom, sitting and talking, then walking to the bathroom, and then walking back to that gate. He didn't see his teacher walking the children into class. He only saw the remainder of the single-file line of children, followed by another woman. He hugged me. I hugged him. He was teary, but he was going.

Then, "Mom, Mom, I've got to tell you something," was his blood-curdling scream. I spun back to him. The other woman was grabbing him to keep him back. I ran up to him and opened the gate -- the hell with you lady, that's my son -- and he screamed, "That's not my teacher! That's not my teacher!" He was terrified. And then his teacher was there.

Sure, we have our theory now about the cause of it, but we didn't recognize it when it occurred. In the orientation on Wednesday, the day before the first day of school, the teacher was explaining how the kids are cared for. You leave them at the gate. And parents can't go beyond the gate. And they are so how careful about returning the kids to their parents at the end of the day. And then she made some mention of kidnapping not being possible or some such line.

And one little boy latched onto a word. And he sunk.

[Here's hoping others' sinking feelings are proved wrong. Visit Sunday Scribblings.]

[By the way, the other woman -- the one who wasn't his teacher -- is the morning kindergarten teacher. They work closely together, of course, but the lad didn't know her.]


Hope said...

Some youngsters just aren't ready for kindergarten. My oldest boy cried everyday when he first started. Turns out we were both crying, him inside, me in the parking lot. After a week we decided to wait until the next year. It was the best for both of us. By the third guy I wasn't even needed to walk down the hall.

Anonymous said...

Love the engaging story line and the twist at the end. It kept me reading on. It brought back memories of how the mummy of my boy hid behind pillars to watch him enter the second day of class. Excellent post!

Anonymous said...

Poor little chap, no wonder he was worried - the first days at school are hard enough as it is, without having to worry about being kidnapped as well!

JHS said...

Oh, wow. I wondered what caused such an extreme reaction. 1 word. Kids are so susceptible.

Reminds me of an incident with my oldest . . . you've inspired me to write about it, actually. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

oh your poor little man --What a great Mom to struggle with him 'till it was all figured out ... Thanks for sharing!

Sherri B. said...

Isn't it amazing how incredibly sharp children are? He picked up on that one word and it turned his world upside down with heart went out to him so much!

Jillie Bean (AKA Bubba's Sis) said...

Bless his heart! I hope this next week goes much better...for him and for you!

Jeni said...

I have no idea how it happened but all three of my kids went trippy-trotting oh so happily into kindergarten. I don't remember any of them even giving me a backward glance, much less a wave. However, the spring before the oldest started school, she was in a daycare program and I didn't learn until years later when she told me herself, how she felt so terrified and isolated there. Funny that the daycare providers never mentioned a word to me when I picked her up about her being uncommunicative with them, segregating herself from the rest of the kids and such.
Here's hoping things will start to mellow out -for both of you.

Bea said...

Oh, that poor boy. I remember how terrified I was of kidnapping at that age. I took the "kid" part very seriously - one of the great advantages of being a grown-up, I felt, is that one could no longer be kidnapped.

Carol Woolum Roberts said...

My middle daughter took about two months to finally get comfortable with kindergarten. But change is always a bit daunting for her. A wonderful post.

Tumblewords: said...

Amazing what one word can do - poor little kid. Nicely written!

Becky said...

Poor little sweet brave guy. I hope that things get better this week! I hope he has a really sweet librarian. I hope that everyone smiles at him and reassures his wide little eyes. I wish he were at my school. I'd go give him a hug right now. It WILL get better. For everyone.


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