Transitions . . . a word I almost shutter at the thought of. Hunter has always just had a few issues with them. We're hoping it's something that we can help him grow and develop out of, but for right now we are all still learning how to manage it.
Kids Day Out ( Mother's Day Out ) has been a great addition to our schedule of activities this fall. Hunter's first day was almost too good to be true - he walked right in with only a slight look of hesitation back at me from the door, then started playing with the other children. The teachers reported back that he did pretty well all day, with the exception being nap time ( Duh. )
The next time I took him, he walked right through the door and never looked back. Then after picking him up he babbled excitedly all the way home about his "fwiends" and "school" and the days activities - so much, that I even felt guilty like I was depriving him for keeping him home the other days of the week ( although I realize as a mother, I can feel guilty about almost anything and quickly got over it - HA )
The following week was even better! Hunter gets so excited to pack his lunch the night before and we talk about school and his teachers and his friends, well Ava is the only one I know so we mainly talk about her :) But it seems to pump him up for the next morning.
The little skunk kept crawling after me while I was trying to take his picture - he found this very funny
Drop off was perfect and when I arrived for pick-up I was greeted with a . He was proudly showing me his "sTar". His teachers told me he was the Super Star Student of the day. ( I laughed hard about saying this later, but knowing my child . . . ) I said, "Oh is it an everybody gets a turn kinda thing" to which his teachers both replied, "No, he was really really good ! He played well, ate his lunch great, and even took a 1 1/2 hour nap !" HA HA HA - So yes, after laughing at my response, I joined my little man in his proud glow. We shared this glorious news with the world via text & video messages and phone calls - because those who know him, know the value of this moment ! ( because though he may be precious and perfect in the comforts of his loved ones keeping - he has never been 'Super Star Quality' outside of his comfort zone ) But the cutest and sweetest part of the entire day was when we were discussing this achievement and I asked him about his Star and he replied so honest and precious, "I was dood Mommy". My heart melted and I told him that he was good, and I am SO PROUD of him. ( he later told his Grandmommy "mommy proud of me" :) I sure am . . .
Which brings us to the last couple of weeks. Something changed in my little man and the next 2 weeks after getting the star he cried so much/hard during class I was called to come and get him. Not saying I'm terribly shocked, because that's what I would have expected from him early on, BUT coming from the wonderful experiences we'd been having, I was a little defeated feeling. The first day they said he was great all morning ( even during school pictures ) until it was time to come inside for lunch, then he fell apart and wouldn't eat, so they took his temperature which read 99. So to be on the safe side I brought him home. He was 100% by the time we got home and finished his lunch in his high chair. We laughed it off and joked about him being smart enough to play the "I sick (at) school" card.
I may or may not have used the "Don't smile at Mommy - Don't you do it" to get these handsome grins - HA
This was also 'Picture Day' - of course we didn't order any because there is NO WAY my child was going to happily cooperate for a stranger with a camera :)
Then the next week it started the morning before we even left the house. Instead of being excited about going, Hunter fussed and whined about not going but I kept turning the tables by saying, "Oh, well I don't want you to go have fun at school with Ava and you're teachers" which makes him smile and say "Yesss, I fun school". But it didn't last and he fell apart at drop off. I told them to call of course, if he didn't get happy . . . and after 2 hours, my phone rang. :( So after discussing with KDO's director, Hunter's long history of anxiety with new people, places, and transitions we decided that neither of us knew what to do. We agreed on the facts that it's both hard on Hunter AND the teachers AND Mommy to just let him cry for that long & hard, but at the same time we don't want to just give in to his cries or let him drop out. But for that day . . . it was time to go home. Of course he was fine, minus a horse voice from crying all morning, and even explained to me that "baby was twying (crying) at school".
Our first attempt at a solution to Hunter's "needs" was for me to attend KDO along side him. The day went fairly smooth as long as I stayed right there during each activity & transition. The hardest part - nap time - when thirteen 2 year olds are expected to lay down on nap mats & go to sleep OR be still and silent for an hour & a half. This was VERY difficult for Hunter and me, just as it was for all the other kids. So finally after what felt like forever the teachers were able to turn on Curious George and the day ended on a happy note. :)
3 days later . . . it was my job to convince Hunter that he wanted to go back to school once again. The night before I stressed over and over what he should expect the next day and emphasized the fun that each transition brought; art time allowed him to make something for mommy to hang on the fridge, there would be a HAY RIDE for him and his friends, and after group play time he would be allowed a juice box during lunch! I also thoroughly explained that he would be expected to mind his teachers by laying down & being quiet during nap time though he didn't have to go to sleep but that mommy could not come and get him until nap time was over. So when the time came to head to school, we re-discussed everything from the night before, making sure to emphasize the fun parts! I had really been hyping up the hay ride adventure, but got a bit worried when the teacher told me it would be pulled by a 4-wheeler rather than a tractor ( Hunter's mindset doesn't always do well with change or when his expectations aren't met ). I dropped him off with only a few tears and Mom, Granny, and I headed off to War Eagle for a few hours of craft fair fun! ( It was a beautiful day and I'm so blessed to have these memories of wonderful times spent together with them. )
Hunter made it the full day with a pretty good report! Only a few short tears here and there but much better than how it'd been; And no nap of course, but after 30 min of rest, they let him color. :) He met me at the door with lots of smiles and was thrilled to know that Granny and Grandmommy were waiting for him in the car. He was so precious describing his day to us, telling us all about the hay ride and showing us the pumpkin he'd made for my fridge. LOVE
He loved his hair fixed like this! He kept asking to look at it in the mirror to see if it had "messed up" and referred to it as his "choo-choo hair" HA!
Which brings us to today . . .
It's been 2 weeks and Hunter is doing so well! I hate to jinx it but my little man seems to be coming around and possibly even liking school a little bit. I'm hoping that if I can keep just a few steps ahead of him, I can help better prepare him for transitions and other anxiety provoking situations in the future. I've also noticed that when the spotlight can be shared, as in walking into class with Ava, it seems to help his confidence level. Last week it was so cute - we arrived to class a few minutes late and the kids had already gathered around for a story. So when Hunter became hesitant to join the group Ava announced, "I hep Hunter." She walked over and very sweetly kept encouraging her friend to coming into class.
It was so precious!!
This week was their fall party where they enjoyed special treats and were able to dress up in costumes. He was absolutely adorable as a baby ware-wolf
( or "bear" if you asked him ).
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.