Drop off

From the minute she becomes aware of the fact that I am heading her towards clothing and shoes she begins her pleas. “Doan WAN frens! Doan WAN school! Wan stay Rosie’s house!” The ease of the first day of drop off is long behind us—every day since has been full of tears and cajoling and heartfelt reassurances that I will always come back to get her at the end of the day.

It takes Herculean effort to get her to the car—Teddy Grahams are employed as enticement, with only minimal results. The ride to daycare is not a long one, but today it feels like a cross-country trek. Through sobs she requests her favorite song, but as soon as she hears the first notes her wails begin anew. “Noo! Doan WAN Rosie’s sonnnnng!” I turn it off and we turn in to the parking lot.

She clings to me like a barnacle as we enter the building, offering cautious observations while I sign her in. “Rosie’s mat? Go on swings? Go higher?” I feel a tiny stab of hope that maybe by some miracle she’ll decide that my leaving isn’t quite so devastating. But I squelch it, because I am not dumb.

After sign in I walk her down the hall to the place where she’ll have breakfast and with every step I feel her arms grow tighter around my neck. Peeling her 30-pound body off me is no small feat, and she is quick to resort to the old “leg retraction” trick as I try to set her on the ground. I lay her gently to the floor in the pile of spilled Teddy Grahams and say, “I love you. I’ll come back to get you later. Have a good day.” And like ripping off a band-aid, I walk quickly to the front door and leave.

The thing is, I get it. I get not wanting to be left at a brand new place with foreign smells and new rules. I know that sucks. But I also know that it will get better for her (right?) and that one day she’ll hop out of the car eager to see familiar friends. (Surely?) She will adjust. I will adjust. Things will get better.

The rising sun is just beginning to fill the sky with pink and orange as I pull out into traffic. I make it through two whole red lights before my own tears come, falling on the scarf that still holds the crumbs of bears made of graham crackers.

6 comments

1 ginnymom { 11.05.10 at 4:30 pm }

I need some of those Teddy Grahams. And maybe a hug.

2 Julie Ross { 11.05.10 at 4:53 pm }

Unfortunately having had to perform this routine daily since G was 7 weeks old, I promise you it will get better.

3 ginnymom { 11.05.10 at 6:05 pm }

Even though she loved her school and her friends, my Rachel cried almost daily for years (it seemed like years). I would work hard not to ever let her see me respond any way but confident and positive. Nevertheless, two steps outside the door I would choke on a sob and cry for 5 minutes. Your story brings that all back like it was this morning. Blessings on both you and Rosie.

Shall I offer to come pick her up every day at 3?

4 Sam { 11.05.10 at 8:33 pm }

Oh Rachel!!! I am so sorry! But I feel your pain, and I can say, it gets better. We never had any type of separation anxiety with Chase until we moved (back) to Jax to a new (old) school! The first week was brutal. Everyday the same conversation that Rosie is having: I don’t want a new school. I don’t want new friends. I don’t like it there. I want to go to Maribeth’s…on and on. He cried every day and so did I. I was lucky if I made it out of the classroom door (hormones). BUT, now, HE.LOVES.IT! And has friends, lots of them! So, buck up little camper, it will get better! XOXO

5 Rachel D { 11.05.10 at 9:44 pm }

Yes! It WILL get better! Hang in there and I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly she adjusts. It was really hard to switch from our babysitter to daycare a couple of months ago but within a week Lily-Anne stopped crying at dropoff and now she is playing by the time I unload her stuff. Rosie is no doubt an extrovert and playing with other kids all day will probably make her incredibly happy once she gets used to it.

6 bebe { 11.06.10 at 12:03 pm }

This post made my heart hurt – for Rosie and for you. But it will get better. You are handling it beautifully, and Rosie is very resilient and outgoing. Hang in there.

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