So, today, it happened. Just over an hour after I had left him, I got a phone call from one of the teachers, saying, “Ben is very upset and is crying a lot. We think you should come and get him sooner than we had planned.” (They all call him “Ben” all the time — it doesn’t bother me, but I’m surprised at the 100% assumption of using the nickname.) As I was only 15 minutes away, having coffee, I was happy to oblige. When I got there, he was hysterical — “Mommy! Mommy! I want my Mommy!” I could hear him in the hall. I walked in, Liam in my arms, and sat down on the floor in front of him and gathered him up in a huge hug, Liam and all. His face was wet, red and swollen from crying. My poor guy.
I asked him, and the teachers, what it was that had upset him so much, and they all said it wasn’t anything in particular. The teachers surmise that after watching a few kids have tearful goodbyes with their own parents, he decided he ought to find out where I was. He was happy immediately upon my arrival. A few minutes later, I asked him how his day had gone so far, and he smiled and said, “It was great!” I told him we were going to go home, and he wanted to stay. The teachers recommended that we go ahead and leave early today, and then come in later tomorrow (hopefully missing most of the tearful goodbyes between other kids and their parents) and keep it short. We’re also making sure to plan for his time tomorrow to coincide with outside playtime, which, so far, is his favorite thing.
My poor little guy. It breaks my heart that he wanted me and I wasn’t there. For my entire walk there, I kept thinking, “He needs me and I’m not there”, and I kept reminding myself, “No, he wants me, he doesn’t need me –he’s actually safe and fine.” I’m encouraged by the fact that he still characterized his day as “great” and that he wanted to stay. I asked him, later on this afternoon, whether he wanted to go to school tomorrow. He said yes. I told him that Liam & I would take him in the morning, and drop him off, and then come back a little while later. He didn’t like that — he wants us to stay.
I’m not entirely sure if this is the right thing for him. I see the way he desperately wants to play with the other kids, and I am happy to hear him tell me about the fun he has. But, he misses me. I know that, eventually, he’ll have to be without me, even if he misses me, but I wonder if he isn’t still a little too young for it to be forced on him. I do like the fact that he likes school, he just wants me to be there. For tomorrow, we go back to school. From there, we’ll see.