Thursday, August 20, 2009

One of "those" Moms

Next week my “baby girl” starts school. She is 5 ½ - can’t forget that half. To be particularly accurate, she is 5 years, 7 months. I started kindergarten at 4 years old (1 month shy of my fifth birthday) and survived just fine. She’s been in daycare since 3 months old and in a pre-K class for the last 18 months. She is brilliant if I do say so myself. She’ll do fine. It’s me that is having the problem.

I’ve talked with a friend who has a daughter just a few years older than mine. She has warned me that starting public school will mean I have to give up control. It started with not finding out her teacher until this week. I also didn’t know which day of the week she would start school (they start in small groups before all starting together later in the week).

Today I had to research her bus stop information. A teacher friend told me that the schools have to balance giving out information in plenty of time versus giving too much time for complaints – and there are always complaints. I
didn’t find out about open house until the end of last week – it is scheduled for this week. I do not know the name of her teacher’s assistant, her bus driver, what the policies are about after-school care, or anything. It is driving the Control Freak in me bonkers. I can handle the control freak part - deep breaths, some venting and move on. It's the other buttons that are being pushed which are more difficult.

Letting my daughter go to school at all is triggering. When I completed forms for after-school care, I had to check some boxes -- can her picture be taken for promotional purposes? Can she go on field trips Can she play on playgrounds where there are no fences? My response - NO. I am looking at the bus
route and realize that she may have a male bus driver. Will there be an assistant? If not, I may just have to drive her.

I read the papers. I read blog posts. I am in court often. I hear the stories of abuse that happens by school teachers and other officials.
At daycare, there is an open door policy. You can drop in at any time for any reason. We all have door codes to gain entrance. The first year Daughter was in care, I popped in every day at lunch to nurse her. So I kept an eye on things and really got to know the teachers. I also pay tuition and that gives me some control in what happens. At school we can go no further than the office without signing in and being escorted. You can not go to the classroom normally.

When we went for
orientation, Husband and I signed in. We were directed to a parent-session. Munchkin was led down the hall by a teacher to see a classroom. When I moved to go with her, they said "oh she can come with us." I started to object - "she doesn't know you." Then realized that sounded silly. I'm getting ready to turn her over to a teacher. A teacher about whom I know nothing much. A name, college, work experience, and I've talked with her 20 minutes tonight. This is a huge step for me. I have to turn my daughter over to a virtual stranger for many hours. I will not get daily notes about what she ate and did. I will have to trust my daughter for information.

Pass the
xanax and give me strength. We've had the Stranger Danger talks, the Private Parts discussion and that "You can tell me anything." All I can do now is breathe very deeply.....and sign up to volunteer often..... and try really hard not to be one of "Those" Moms (you know, the helicopter ones)


Mike Golch said...

All Moms go through this,especially when their baby goes to school.

Rindy Walton said...

The hardest part of parenting is definitely letting go. From them letting go to take their first steps alone, to the first day in kindergarten, to them saying goodbye as they drive off in the car alone, to when they pack their stuff to go away to college. It's always hard, and it's always necessary. We have to realize that no, we can't protect them, and bad things will happen...but through faith and trust, we have to believe that God will always keep them close (and us too!).

Paul from Mind Parts said...

This is hard I know. I heard you when you talked about your fears and triggers. I do the volunteering and keeping my eye out on the school a lot. And this does help.

I don't know how I was able to do it, but I saw this step you speak about from my daughter's perspective and put mine second. I was happy for her that she gained this new independence. I don't know that you can easily shift that focus for yourself. But that's what I did.

As you get to know the other parents, other kids, hear the stories your daughter brings home, etc. it will get better.

Marj aka Thriver said...

Great post for the carnival. I cried on my son's first day of kindergarten. Volunteering at the school helped me a lot.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this post, and for the carnival. i can really relate to your feelings in this post. my daughter is not yet 2 and i can't stand the idea of leaving her alone with someone i don't know. i thought i would start her in day care when she turned 1, but i couldn't do it. now we're planning to start when she's 2. i'm half excited for her, half dreading it and sad and scared. ok, so maybe i'm only 10% excited for her.

i'm glad to know you can volunteer at the school. i hope that helps and i hope as time goes by you feel better.

Patricia Singleton said...

I totally agree with Rindy about letting go being the hardest part of being a parent. I will never forget my daughter's first two days of school. She rode a school bus with her older brother who was in 1st grade. The bus came to his school first so she was on the bus alone and fell asleep. The bus driver found my daughter asleep on the seat when she got home that morning and took my daughter back to school. The principal called and told me the whole story. Christie came home all excited telling me about the story that afternoon.

The second day of school, my son was home sick. Christie made it to school on time that day. The bus driver made sure that Christie got off at her school. The second afternoon, Christie fell asleep on the bus on the way home and wound up back at the bus driver's home. I was frantic by the time the bus driver called the school to say she was bringing Christie home. After that day, the bus driver made sure that Christie got to school and got home ok and on time. We can laugh about it today but back then, it was frightening.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you are able to let go means that you're doing great as a mum. It means that you are teaching her well. And from what I've read while lurking , with you as a Mum your DD will thrive :-)

This probably isn't very much consolation , but I hope you've read my comment took it to heart.