A Garden of Delights

The first week is over

Posted on: September 20, 2009

Marcus finished his first week at Doane Stuart on Friday.  I took a day and some to gather some thoughts and observations, both on his state and mine.

1) In general, Marcus seems to be happier.  He giggles more, he laughs more, he has children to play with.

2) Marcus was sad on Friday.  He cried going in and didn’t want me to leave.  He was crying when I came to pick him up, but when I think about the timing I wonder if it was because of nap/quiet time…  He wakes up badly often.  If they woke him to get him ready to go home, I understand how that could have thrown him off.  He was actually cranky the whole evening, but Saturday morning woke up happy and started getting ready for “school” on his own.  Bad day, maybe?

3) I have had time alone.  It seems selfish to say this, but I have to.  I spent the last three days, not talking with anyone really (five minute chat with the receptionist at the Albany Institute , and another chat with a couple of elderly women looking through the NY timeline display plus home time with Dan and Marcus).  It has been amazing.  I’ve been filling notebooks, writing down ideas, reading (I devoured four books in those two days), walking…heck, I sat in the car and just stared into space one morning.  Rediscovering me.

4) I wonder at what the above notes mean.  Am I selfish for being happy Marcus is in school for most of a day?  He’s so young.  I do miss him and think about him.  But I’m glad he is there too.  So am I selfish for wanting this?  I don’t think so.  When I picked up Marcus on Friday, even with his tears and near tantrum (something that often tensed me up before and without a lot of self-stifling and control, often through gritted teeth), I was able to gather him up, hug him, smile and help him through the tears.  He stayed cranky, yes, but I was able to accept it and just watch it and be there when he needed me to hold him.  I didn’t have to police myself as much.  And because of this, I felt more assured that I was making the right choice.

Yesterday and today we have had an amazing time.  We are having an amazing time.  There have been no need for harsh words, lots more hugs, lots more talks.  I can hold my son without feeling that I have no personal space or that my contact quota (as I’ve called that sense of the world caving in on me from all directions that I get) has been filled.
I used to get Marcus’s three hour naps, but they haven’t been happening lately at all.  And lately, though I love him, Dan had been working from home a lot….  I never felt alone, and I really needed it.

I knew a long time ago that I wasn’t as outgoing as the rest of the world seemed to be.  I tried to adjust, but I really, I never did.  Instead, I became more reckless and more uncontrolled and more unhappy, which in turn made me more reckless, etc..  My son seems to be more extroverted than I am naturally (though according to my mother I was very outgoing as a child,; so who knows), and he’s quite cautious and “stand-offish” in public settings.  Or, perhaps he’s like me…  He likes to be alone in a crowd.  I don’t know.

I do know that so far this seems to be helping us be us.

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1 Response to "The first week is over"

I suspect that being among those who truly understand what to expect of very young children is reassuring to him….and, given your need for space, he is perhaps getting more direct human contact than on those days where your “contact quota’ was too full….my children benefited from my leaving work for the same reason. all those kids that needed attention through the day (the ones missing their mommies and daddies and homes) took a lot of affection. I would come home “touched out”. I do better when I fill my own childrens’ need for physical touch before tending to others’ children….and my kids are thriving with more of *me* in their lives!

Most of a day is a long time. Only time will tell if it’s too long for him, or not. But Friday may have been a sign that three straight days was more than he could handle then. Or that he just didn’t want to do school that day (Saturday, though, was fine for school – silly school, being closed on the weekend like that!)

The fact is that 3.5 yo people do not understand regualr schedules. It may be years before he really does.

It is good that you are able to emotionally detach when he is nearing meltdown country. That’s really the best a parent can do – to be there to help if needed, and to be calm. Calm begets calm.

Something to ponder…around age 4, if being filled up with love and security and things to explore and do, many kids can spend a few minutes here and there happily engaged with their own play. I find lots of writing time when my kids are busy with their own pursuits, and when they’re asleep. Babies and very little children require near constant physical attention, but that tends to ease as kids get older and more accomplished. And preschool will encourage him to be on his own more, so you may soon find you have more time to yourself than you thought you ever could!

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