Tuesday, January 15, 2013

First days at the new daycare

On the first day, I go with him and we stay there together for an hour or so. Koopa starts crying upon our arrival and refuses to go into the classroom. I takes me a few minutes to convince him to step inside, but when he's finally there, he immediately spots an unfamiliar toilet behind an open bathroom door and runs out of the classroom again. The teachers close the bathroom door and promise to keep it closed, and he finally agrees to go back inside. The kids are all being very cute and welcoming and introduce themselves to us. Koopa gets comfortable enough to look around and start playing with some toys (he especially likes a little wooden toilet from a dollhouse) but wants me to be right near him all the time, and doesn't want anything to do with the other kids. We leave together after an hour or so.

In the evening, I tell him that the next day I'd go away and leave him there for a while. He gets upset and says "But I don't know the names of the kids!" ("Но я не знаю как деток зовут!"). I promise him that I'd stay with him for a while at first, and we'll ask everybody's name again, and then I'll leave.

When we arrive there on the second day, Koopa looks at the board hanging outside of the classroom that has pictures of all the kids glued onto little bears cut-out of paper (their class is called "bear-cubs"), notices that his picture is not there and demands an explanation. The teachers promise him that it will be there soon. I stay with him for a few minutes and then decide to leave. He's protesting but I know he's getting more comfortable there and interested in things, and also, I know that if I don't leave, it will take him much longer to start interacting with people there.

I pick him up after lunch, before nap time, and he seems OK. The teachers say he played with one girl when they went outside and even interacted with grown-ups a little bit. On our way home, Koopa inserts his correction to the teacher's report: "I didn't PLAY with her. She just threw some snow at me and I threw some snow back at her."

After that I started leaving him there for nap time and longer, for the whole day. He seems a little more comfortable there but its still difficult for him. I know it will take a while for him to fully adjust. Koopa takes time. Two biggest issues: (a) he still hasn't used that new toilet; (b) he doesn't talk there, at all.

That toilet fear has to be taken seriously now, somehow. It's doesn't seem like a kind of fear that you can wait till it passes on its own. I guess my secret hope was that by going to this new daycare he'd start using that unfamiliar toilet and that would help him get more comfortable with all other unfamiliar toilets out there in the world. That doesn't seem to be happening. I started putting pull ups on him and encouraging him to pee in the pull up because otherwise he just holds it in the entire day.

And the no talking... I don't know. This one bothers me much less. He interacts with kids, responds to teachers by nodding/shaking his head, and can even laugh when they tickle him or something like that. But no talking. Not a single word. I guess that's ok. Some kids do that.

I have to say I'm in love with his teachers at this new place. They took his fears seriously and asked me to provide all the information I can about them and about his earlier development, and said "We'll work on it together". God, seriously? Together? We don't have to do it alone?

It's still hard to get him there in the morning, and I imagine it will be hard for a while. I hate daycare mornings. In his old daycare, I selfishly avoided dropping him off in the morning, and Gleb was always   the drop-off-er (dropper-off?), while I was on the pick-up duty (much more enjoyable). Otherwise I'd have to start my every work day with my eyes swollen from crying (they finally manage to unglue your screaming kid from you and you quickly run out maintaining a cheerful attitude, and then stand there by the classroom door listening to him cry and weeping yourself). That's still how it works. I hate those daycare goodbyes, but what do you do, they're part of your parenting contract.

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