Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bad News at "School" :(

So, after I wrote this post on the first week of school things started to go downhill for the buddy at Mother's Day Out. Part of the problem is separation anxiety and part of it is that he's over-tired. And I think part of the problem is that it's just a two day a week program and he never gets a chance for it to really become routine to him.

Before he even started I was quite nervous about how he would do since he was having some issues in the church nursery, which is only for an hour a week. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the first couple of weeks he did great! He didn't eat a lot of lunch and he was tired and needed his lovey/paci a lot, but we were ok with that. He seemed to enjoy playing in the sandbox outside and meeting new kids to play with. But a couple of weeks into the school year things started getting ugly.

Part of the problem is that he is used to 2 naps at home but they only do one nap at noon. This means that he's used to going down for a nap by 10:30am at home, but he has to wait until noon at school. This makes for an especially cranky 1.5 hours before he can lie down. I have tried on so many occasions to remedy this by doing just one nap with him at home, but within 2-3 days he gets overtired, starts waking up all night inconsolable and stops sleeping well for that one nap.

I think another issue is that he's learned that I'm right around the corner. It's impossible to know for sure, but I imagine that knowing that his mom is so near but not with him when he's sad must be hard. This is also the worst part for me. Since he's quite the high pitched screamer I can hear him crying and screaming throughout the day. Of course, this prevents me from being able to focus on my own students and it takes everything in me to keep from running down the hall to comfort him! His teacher says that he's upset, crying or screaming about 80% of the time they're awake. Ugh. In the first couple of weeks, having his lovey/paci kept him calm and comforted when he got sad. But, apparently it's no longer working. We're told he can be ok for a few minutes at a time if he's really distracted, but he then gets upset and starts crying again and says "momma" over and over.

Right now we have absolutely no idea what to do about this situation. On the days he goes to school, even when I give him an early bedtime he has interrupted night sleep, so I know there's a component of over-tiredness going on right now. We have talked and done trouble-shooting with his teacher, but there's nothing we can do about the school schedule. Since he's at the same place I work, moving to another center wouldn't help or be useful. It's also frustrating because the program is open just on Mondays and Wednesdays so it's like he can never really "get used to it" since he's still home 4/7 days of the week (and at my parents' house once a week).

All that to say, this post has absolutely no advice in it, nor do I think there is any particularly helpful advice to be given. I think this just may be one of the times in parenting where things just aren't working and you have to push through and give it time. We have an amount of time in our head that we're willing to continue with this before we re-evaluate everything and decide if we need to do something completely different. But for now we will give the buddy a bit more time to adjust and will hope that within a month or two he will be ready to do just one nap at home too and that will help his tiredness at school.

I mean, look at this sweet child! I can't stand to hear this happy boy cry. :(

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

First Week at School

This is a few weeks late. :/ I wrote it for HelloBee. :)

I suppose I jinxed myself after writing a post about getting "organized" to go back to school! The day before school started for both of us, Little Piñata decided to get the sniffles. We're new to the daycare/school atmosphere (technically Little P is enrolled in the Mother's Day Out Program), and started getting worried about whether having a cold should keep Little P at home. So we tried to find someone to watch him the next day if he wasn't feeling up to going to school. Since it would be my first week teaching my 3 year olds, I knew it wouldn't be a good idea to miss work at all last week. They're so little and need to get used to me as their teacher and shouldn't have a sub. Mr. Piñata teaches as an adjunct at a local University and it was his first week of classes as well, so he couldn't watch Little P either. And of course, following Murphy's Law, both of my parents were out of the country for business. 

Thankfully, even though we made back-up plans for his care on both Monday and Wednesday, he ended up being well enough to go to school. It just made things a bit more stressful, calling, planning and figuring things out, but it did help me to be more clear about the illness policy of the school right from the beginning though! I now know that it's fine to send him to school with a cold, just as long as he hasn't had a fever in the past 24 hours. 

In the end, Little P ended up doing GREAT in his class! I was kind of nervous since he started having separation anxiety back in May when I would leave him with people. Often times this included uncontrollable screaming and I really didn't want that for him or his teacher. Plus, I was pretty nervous about just one nap. At his school they do one nap starting at 12:00pm and let them sleep as long as possible (although the school day ends at 2:30). He's 15 months old and usually takes two naps at home, the first one at 10am or so, so I was nervous about him being over-tired and cranky at school. Even though he takes just one nap once or twice a week, on those days it starts around 11/11:30am and it usually lasts about 3 hours. And he certainly isn't used to sleeping in a room with 4 other toddlers either! But, he ended up doing great for his first week. I left his lovey there and I think that helped with both the separation anxiety and the sleeping. His teacher said he was definitely tired and would fall right asleep at noon, but then slept for 1.5 hours each day. This is quite a bit less daytime sleep than he's used to, so he was in bed by 6:15pm both nights he had school. :-)