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Monday, July 23, 2012

Motherhood Mondays: Toby's first day of school

Toby started school this month, and on the first day, Alex and I took him together.
We went upstairs to his class, and he chose a car to play with. (Oh, that little belly.)
He slowly took it all in...
I sat for a few minutes to get him settled (and to check out how the awesome car doors opened!)...
He said hello to the other kids and introduced himself ("Tibby!").
Finally, after a few minutes, I hugged him goodbye. My heart was in my throat. Alex and I left quickly (like a Band-aid, right?) and Toby burst into tears. It was so tough! But we knew the teachers were great and that he'd settle down in a couple minutes and have a happy morning (and he did).
He had an awesome first week (he goes three mornings a week), and we were feeling great. But last week was harder. At night, I'd ask him if he wanted to go to school the next day and see his friends, and he'd shake his head, "No." And when Alex would take him in the morning, he'd start crying as they walked through the gate. The teachers told us, interestingly, that a lot of kids will seem fine the first week and then have a hard time adjusting the second and third week. We'll play it by ear—the school seems lovely, and has a pretty backyard with a playground and sweet teachers and art projects and a guy who comes to play guitar! Toby could, of course, wait a year to start school, but I think he'll adore it once he gets comfortable and really thrive in that fun social environment. To help him along, we have been talking excitedly about school and packing his favorite snacks (Cheerios, strawberries, bananas); and our beloved babysitter gave him a funny monkey backpack, which instantly became his best buddy (see above:). This week, he seems happier about everything, fingers crossed.

Did your kids ever have a tough time with school? Was the first day hard? When did your little ones start? I'd LOVE to hear any thoughts and advice. It's hard for both babies and parents! xoxo

207 comments:

1 – 200 of 207   Newer›   Newest»
Cathryn @ My Heart's Content said...

We haven't started yet, my little boy is 2 1/2. But I leave him at nursery in church and the same thing applies....he cried hard for a while when I left and now he loves it and runs in happily. Just give him some time.

I think it's harder on you than on Tibby.

Le Smurf said...

Oh look at his sweet little face and his wispy hair! Bless his wee heart....
It's harder on you than it is on him though. That's what my mum tells everyone! Just keep that in the back of your mind!

CanadianJane said...

My little one just started preschool three weeks ago, very similar situation. Things seem to be going better this week. My husband brought her today and there were no tears at drop-off (easier if dad does drop-off?) Also they talked about on the way there that we would not go into the classroom, and she willingly went with her lovely teacher once they got there. As far as I understand though, it can be a bit of a rollercoaster, although gets easier. Mind you, there were days I was in Grade Twelve and STILL didn't want to go to school!

All the best to you. It gets easier.

Kayla Poole said...

Hi Joanna: I'm a preschool teacher at a private school in the city (I teach young threes). If Toby has quality, charismatic teachers, I guarantee that in another few weeks, he'll be crying when it's time to leave school--not when it's time to go there!

Giulia said...

we don't have the option for school before they turn 4, but it seems like a similar set up to a school daycare which is where we sent our kids. We had the same experience, they love the first week because they see it more like a 'camp', once they realize it's more permanent they think twice about it ;) I found sending my kids to a school daycare really helped them when actual school started as my daughter was used to schedules, and a school type environment. It is hardest on the parents ;)

rita mehta said...

adorable pictures! i don't have kids, so don't really have advice, but the teacher's input on the 2nd and 3rd weeks being the hardest makes sense... i know that whenever i change jobs/teams at work, the first week is great b/c it is overwhelming and new and fun, and the next few weeks are tough b/c it's still overwhelming and now it's becoming routine and you don't know your place, and then within a month it's great! he will end up loving it, that school sounds amazing!

Cheryl said...

It has so much to do with personality. My daughter (now 5.5 and starting K in August - eeeks!) never for one single moment had trepidation or separation anxiety with starting preschool. So independent this girlie. I know K will be the same. My son Samuel's age actually, will be hard. He's so so attached to me and home with me full-time. Such a mama's boy. We're waiting another year and then we'll see!

Emikos Werid Unexplained thoughts said...

He will be just fine. My nieces and nephews all had such a hard time and it took them longer. One of my nieces is like 10 and I have to drag her to school hanging on to my skirt lol so its so a kid thing. but it will help them become social and also learn things that they can not learn alone like sharing and such. You will be very happy later when he learns great things from school and have a great social being.

Anonymous said...

I remember my first day of school like it was yesterday/the same day I dropped my kid off for his first day at school.

I cried like a baby. Not we. I.

Nicola said...

My little boy started nursery a few months ago. He too was fine at first and then after a while started saying he didn't want to go and he didn't like it. He would get upset when I left him but the staff said that a little while after I left he was fine and playing with the other children. They do all sorts of things and it is a lovely nursery. It is hard but I know he needs children to play with and it is going for him. Friends tell me that this is normal and he will settle down so I am sure Toby will as well. Hugs. It is so hard for us parents. xxx

Erin said...

Hi Joanna!

I used to teach pre-k and I think the second and third weeks can be harder because the kids realize school is a real, permenant part of their routine. I always found the quick exit from parents was the best, otherwise it just dragged out the whole process and made it harder for the kids. Also (this is so embarassing) but when I was little, probably around five, I would get scared that my parents would forget to pick me up so they made a "we'll never forget you song" and sang it to me. Dorky, but it worked!

Miss Stovetop said...

We started my then 11 month old daughter at nursery for three hours a day in the afternoon in a playgroup, because we noticed she was getting really bored at home. It was a hard first week for us too, but I always ensured I said bye, kissed and gave a quick cuddle, and told her I'd be back. The second week was good and then it just kept getting better. Now, five months later, she runs to her class, waves to her friends and often has to be reminded to give me a goodbye kiss.

It's such a bittersweet time. They're slowly learning to be independant and we're slowly learning to get used to that.

Even though a lot of people say it was too early, it was one of the best decisions we took that worked best for our family. I was lucky enough to get a part-time job where I put in the same hours as Anya's nursery timings. Even now during Ramadan here in Dubai, her hours have changed and I have altered my working hours accordingly.

I'm sure Toby will get used to this well and rather quickly. I do hear that 2 year olds take slightly longer than their younger counterparts, but you'll get there :)

kate said...

My three and 1/2 year old STILL goes through periods where he is clinging to me and crying even though I know he adores his school, teachers and friends. Leaving quickly is totally the key because the longer you stay the worse it gets.

During those times, I write MAMA and DAD on each hand with pictures of us so he can look at his hands if he misses us. I also love Tattly Tattoos - they have a great one of a little family and I often put the mom, dad and little boy on Luke's hands or arms so he can look at them as well. He seems to like that a lot and it gives him some control over the situation.

Teresa said...

He will bre great.
My oldest (boy entered in on his second year at University and the youngest (girl) is in High School.
For him it was very much like Toby, with fits and starts. Crying and anguish - only for us Mum and Dad.

The younger was tougher because we felt abandoned by her as she was always looking forward to school and couldn't care less for us as soon as she spotted the School Gates.

It's called parenting and all of the sudden he will be great at school, no cries or whatsoever and you'll have these wonderful pictures to atest another phase of your Life together ad thinking "it wasn't that bad, as it looked back then" ahahahaha

Go Tobby!!!!

Lauren said...

"Tibby" !!! awww!

Maggie said...

When you said, "And he burst into tears." I thought you meant Alex! Haha

Joanna Goddard said...

le smurf, that makes me feel better!! thank you!!

Joanna Goddard said...

cathryn, so glad to hear.

Allison said...

According to my mom, on my first day of school, I cried so hard I had all of the other mothers crying. Yeah, I was a hot mess. But I soon began to make friends, and within the first few weeks I brought home a boy's phone number (I wish I could have maintained those feminine wiles in college!). I think it's just a matter of having patience and allowing the child some time to adjust to his/her new surroundings and expectations.

Joanna Goddard said...

CanadianJane, that sounds great. and i agree -- probably easier when the dad does the drop off, at least in our case. toby has huge separation anxiety with me, always has!

Joanna Goddard said...

rita--that's SO smart. you're totally right, it's tricky even as adults. i remember being homesick at camp/college/etc a couple weeks in, once the newness wears off and you realize you're...still there :)

Joanna Goddard said...

maggie, hahaha, that would have been awesome.

KJ said...

He's a doll - he really looks a lot like you! No advice as I'm not a mama, but sending good vibes nonetheless! xo

Lindsay @ Darling Clementine said...

Oh heart breaking. It's so tough. I remember those days like it was yesterday. Here's my advice, shared with my whole heart.

Oh, and so you know my little on is almost 3 and has been in 2 day a week preschool for almost a year now.

* accept that some days he'll cry, some days you'll cry and other days he'll run off without saying goodbye (those might be the days you cry!)

* know that learning rules from other adults is a great thing, learning to share and listen to someone other than his parents, family members or a nanny is so important.

* You will treasure your time with him even more (you don't think you could treasure it more than you already do but you do!)

* You will both be ok.

I promise.

With Juliette we "feel her out" regarding talking about school, some mornings she wakes up shouting "school day!" and some mornings she begs to stay home. We run an errand or two on the walk to school (like dropping mail at the mailbox, super fun for the little ones) and we talk about how we must get ready to head to the mailbox and then after that we head to school and she's much easier to scoot along on those tough mornings once we are out.

Another thing, we do special things on hard days for Juliette, like I'll bring her milk in a starbucks cup (super special exciting treat), or take her to pick out new bandaids on the way home. Whatever it is that will make them smile and keep their spirits up when they have tough days.

It's tough Joanna, but it isn't unnatural and it isn't anything you all can't handle!

Good luck!

Xx

Anonymous said...

We only do pre-school the year before Kindergarten. I figure my kids will be out of my home for many more years than the few they get to be here. Of course I am a SAHM, and that makes a difference.

Jesseeka said...

I went to preschool and still remember a lot of it! Also I think it made me more independent as opposed to my siblings who didn't go.

ErinBaird said...

AHHHH! Abby starts school next month and I am already freaking out. Same as you - I know the school is wonderful and that she will love it once she gets into it. But I'm so sad!!

liz c. said...

My daughter is one of the few exceptions bc she has a bit of social anxiety and is extremely shy. We tried a drop off 2's program but pulled her out after 3 weeks. She was just too upset (cried most of the 2.5 hours). Now she's 4.5 and still has some trouble in preschool, but is much better. It totally depends on each child. If he's only crying at drop off and then is ok after a few mins I think that is very normal and Toby will do great and love being at school.
Good luck. My best advice is to trust your instincts.

Shan said...

Aw, Joanna! He is too cute!

My mom always says she cried and cried when she dropped me off at preschool, because I DIDN'T cry and just bounded right in and started playing. Haha so I guess it's hard either way :) My little brother also had separation anxiety when he was away from my mom, and they had a little ritual where he would watch her from the window as she left, and she would wave. Little boys are the cutest at that age :)

Nicole said...

My two year old had a similar arc to starting school, but within a month was totally fine with our drop off routine. And speaking of college, I actually wrote about the similarities between the two: www.themangoandthetree.blogspot.com/2012/02/drop-off.html

Good luck!

M.i.c. said...

Hi Joanna,
I'm a kindergarten teacher at a private school in the city...it sounds like you guys are easing in beautifully! For school and making friends, I find that role-play always helps. Lots of socialization and playdates make getting into the swing of things with other kids at school easy.
The photos of Toby are adorrrrable!

Meredith said...

Aww, poor "Tibby" :) I'm sure he will be fine after a bit of time. My cousin's daughter cries when she DOESN'T go to daycare! When I started school, I would take a book with me each morning--it was my security blanket, and it helped!

I used to babysit a lot, and it was always interesting to see kids who went to daycare vs. kids who stayed home with their parents all day. I know that you have tons of playdates, etc, but I truly believe that kids who interact with other children and adults regularly end up much more well-rounded and happy. Plus, it gives you a little break so you're extra excited to see him later!

Cute dress!

Anonymous said...

I worked at a preschool. I remember feeling bad for the families when their little guys would arrive in tears and then, upon seeing their moms at pick-up time, burst into tears again. The children actually spent the day laughing and singing with new friends, it's just those transitions--like any transitions--are hard for young minds to process before they become routine. We would take pictures during the day, and I think this reassured the parents a bit :) I'm sure Toby's doing great!

Maryam said...

I just love that he introduces himself as "Tibby" SO CUTE!! <3

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

My situation with school is/was basically the same as yours. But after a few weeks, they definitely get settled and get used to the routine. My kid are only a year apart and were never without the other one until they started school. They had a had time being in separate classrooms at first, but now seem to like the independence. Toby will be okay!!

Kate Chaux said...

My son is 5 and will start kindergarten next month. He's been going to pre-school full time since he was 18 months old. From time to time over the years, he has had rough drop-offs (tears, pleading, even some screaming), but I tell him I love him, blow him a kiss, and leave. You can't show him any anxiety that you're feeling, it'll just make it worse for him. I usually call the school shortly after a bad drop-off and check with the teachers that he has calmed down (which he always does). Usually though, he is so excited to see his friends that he's happy to walk into his class.

Oddly, he is having a more difficult time right now than he ever has before. I think there is some kindergarten anxiety going on (he has mentioned the "principal's office" several times). We're trying to be patient and reassure him that it's going to be SO MUCH FUN.

I hope Toby grows to love school!

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

Oh - and a bonus when kids start school that young (like my son did, who is just a bit older than Toby) - some schools work on potty training with young toddlers!! It's like a "dirty little secret" of sending your kids to school at a young age! And in my son's case, when he sees the other kids in his class trying to use the potty, he's more apt to doing it, as well. I can't wait for the day when both of my kids are diaper-free!

vanessa (the gal) said...

happy monday! this is the sweetest first-day-of-school story ever!!! so sweet. oh, Tibby!
xx, Vanessa

**PS: if you get a quick sec... check out our cool {underwater} engagement photo's!

http://fashiongalfireman.blogspot.com/search/label/wedding%20bells

have a great week!

Anonymous said...

toby is so cute. i am teary just thinking about when my 1 year old will have to leave me and go to school! thanks for sharing toby's first day.

Zoë said...

I worked at a hospital's childcare center for a few years in college, where we'd take care of the doctors' kids. This will give him an amazing opportunity to a) become more social, b) get potty trained (that was my FAVORITE part of my job - seeing a bunch of little kids talking to each other in their row of training toilets, I died laughing every time), and c) improve his immune system. C was the reason my parents sent me to daycare at a local Montessori when I was 1.5 years rather than have a babysitter at home, in fact.

sadie said...

Both my boys started a babysitter in her home at 8 months old and "real" school at 2 1/2 years old and they went full time--5 days a week. It was so hard the first few weeks. The older one adjusts easily to these situations but my younger boy really hangs back and has to do things in his own time. And I am pleased to say that he has grown to love his school--when we drive by it he exclaims "There's my school!". By the way, he has the same monkey backpack as Toby and my older so had the owl by the same company. So sweet!
It is so hard to watch them hit these milestones which bring them ever closer to a sort of independence but truly it is so good for them to be in a group setting learning how to share and navigate all sorts of social situations that are not learned at home. As a teacher I see this all the time with first graders--I can always tell who has been going to preschool and who is making the oh so hard adjustment for the first time.
He will grow to love it and make some sweet little friendships that just will tug at your heart strings.
Good luck Toby!

GirlieBlogger@Beauty Fashion Blog Seattle said...

Go Toby! He must be a good boy. I took my daughter to school last week too. I cried. She was all happy though.
Beauty, Fashion and Seattle | Cheap Makeup Reviews

kati said...

aww, what a sweetie. doesn't it just break your heart a little to see them be so big? lola had the opposite problem when she started school. she was so excited to be there that she would barely remember to say good-bye to me and would actually cry when i showed up at the end of the day! one problem isn't necessarily better than the other, but i can't help but think that it's sweeter to know they don't want you to leave! i was kind of embarrassed in front of the other parents whose kids were happy to see them :)

M Hood said...

Toby will be fine, it'll be harder for you at first. But you'll adjust. Wow, very young to be going to 'school' at 2 1/2 yrs old :)
We started our son at 4, (pre-school program), and oh boy, he couldn't wait to get out of the house LOL, never was any tears for him (he's the only son so yah, he gets bored with mom and dad and some sporadic cousins and friends).
Same went for his Kindergarten too :), while our heart was all 'sad' but yah, you'll be ok. We cried too at first. :)

Tracy Johnson said...

His school looks lovely. I'm sure he'll have a wonderful time there. My little girl will be starting three mornings a week at the end of August. I'm so nervous about it. It's great to hear about other Mother's experiences. Thank you for sharing.

jen said...

For years, my son would cry every time I left him, and it absolutely shredded my heart. The only thing that helped me (not him - he was fine!) was absolutely trusting his teachers. They knew he had a particularly hard time at dropoff, so they'd always carry him for a while, and then they'd text me a picture of him playing and happy. I slowly accepted that he was okay - he just had a hard time with transitions. It also helped as he got older and could understand me when I started telling him, every time, "I will always come back." Eventually he started repeating that to me, and now he even says the same thing to our new baby when he cries! It is SO SO hard but it really is normal and okay. Consistency is key. Good luck!

Nina Leung said...

My three year old just started 4 weeks ago and LOVES it. Never had any problems until today! He didn't want his Daddy to leave. His Dad just got back from a 3 week Europe business trip so I think he's afraid Daddy is going to leave again :(
But, the first day of school, he was totally fine, just said goodbye and ran into the classroom. We left and I was the one crying! It really surprised me!

Emily @ Clementine said...

My 11 month old just started some day care. He was coming to work with me at my shop, which I loved, but over the last few months, he just lit up when kids came to visit and I realized he was ready for some new experiences. I've been overwhelmed at how hard it is for me (he does a little crying, but has gotten better each day), though being able to work (and sometimes shower after dropping him off - what luxury!) has been a nice change. I was unprepared for how hard it would be for me, but also for how proud and excited I would be to have him play, eat and nap with new people. And, I've discovered that the time I'm spending with him now feels almost sweeter. Plus, there's nothing better than the end of the day snuggle/hug/nurse.

kateOD said...

yes my 2 year old was the same way. happy the first week...sad the second week....she loves school now. She will still say she doesn't want to go some days but she I'll also cry and say she doesn't want to leave when I pick her up so I think they are just fickle at this age!

bestof2sisters.com said...

Ahhh sweet Little guy!

We started all our three girls relatively early. Isabella started out in Copenhagen, where they have a 3 day induction. Emilia started in Stockholm where they have a 2 week induction (!!! It's fantastic!! The little ones are so in tune with the teachers, the goodbye, the routines by the end of two weeks). And finally Lucia in Norway where the induction is 5 days (first day parents and kids get to play there together for 2 hours. Day 2 we also stay for lunch. Day 3 parents leave for one hour max, Day 4: parents leave for 2 hours incl lunch etc etc etc).

Great experience from all three countries! LOVE the easy start they have!

/Louisa

ELizabeth said...

Aw so precious! My sister had the worst time going to kindergarden, but my dad took her out to breakfast and "sorted things out". (AKA "honey you have to go so you can be a big girl, but you can still take a nap when you get home") I was out of my mind excited to go to kindergarden, so I think that Toby will warm up quick.

Jennifer of JennySue Makeup said...

Girl, I could go on and on about this subject. My first son literally cried every morning I dropped him off, at his 3 day a week school, for the ENTIRE school year until guess what, the VERY LAST day. Kid you not. Positive side, he cried every morning and made me feel like an awful person for abandoning him, but not once was I asked to come pick him back up, bc you know what, the little stinker would settle down right after I walked out.
Tobby will be so fine, and learn to love school. My big crier was voted Vice Pres of his Kindergarten class last year if that shows you how much he now enjoys school now!!

Rachel said...

My son started Mother's Day Out when he was 9 months old. I too was kind of a mess about it all. And over the years (he's now 4) he's had occasional spells of separation anxiety. But it's still hard.

He starts preschool in 2 weeks and I'm kinda amazed at the wide range of feelings I have about it all!

M said...

It's so normal. Once kids catch on that going to school is going to be a regular thing, a lot of them will balk at going for awhile. Most likely Toby will be happy to go after a week or two more. None of my kids minded going to school except my 2nd born, who had a hard time going back after Christmas break (which was loooong). It's all about the transitions, I guess!

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between daycare and what people are now calling "school" for children younger than normal preschool age?
Kate

Alexa said...

"TIbby"!! My heart just swelled. So sweet. I have no babies yet, but I can only imagine what it's like to watch them grow more and more independent!

Shelley said...

I hope it gets easier! My mom still talks about how I cried every single day she dropped me off for the entire 2 years I was in preschool haha but I was an extreme case! I was glued to my mom at all times.

Alison Kilpatrick said...

Thank you for posting! We're going through the same with daycare. My 18 month old daughter is going 3 days a week and it's been so hard. She just finished her third week and it seems the worst yet. I'm hoping this week is better. I feel sick to my stomach all day at work and just try and block it out. Nice to hear others feeling the same way. This parent stuff is tough.

Parker (Boardroom Belles) said...

My godson recently started school and it was the same thing. First couple of days went great - all that excitement. And once the novelty wore off and he was forced into a rhythem and forced to bend to someone else's rules, he was a sobbing mess. His parents aren't very strict so I imagine that was very hard for him, because he couldn't wiggle his way out of obeying the rules. Ultimately, it was soooo good for him though, because he is now much better behaved and he's learned to socialize with other kids so much better than before. I am sure your sweet boy will do well, once he is over the cultural adjustment.

I am afraid your part is the hard one here though...

Micha said...

I have an almost one year old, and it breaks my heart just thinking about his first day of school. I think I'm a sentimental mess right now knowing he is days away from being an official toddler! Thanks for sharing.

sip-n-wear said...

Im just so sad reading this post... We're sending our baby boy to mothers day out (once a week) starting next month and just thinking about it makes me so sad... He'll be around 18 months by then but has major stranger/separation anxiety... I hope your toby adjusts well and that ours will too... Thanks for sharing... At least i know im not the only sad mom sending their baby to school...

Batsheva said...

I was finishing up school this year, so when my daughter was like 11 months old i brought her to a daycare center. A babysitter would have cost us triple the amount of money, and i needed it for odd hours.
I thought she would cling to me and cry, but maybe bc she was young, she just jumped into the teachers arms!!
she still absolutely adores it, almost too much if u ask me lol.
i realized shes never coming back home

Bree said...

When my daughter started in the toddler room at her school at 18 months (she had already been in the infant room since 3 months) it took her about 3 weeks to adjust. By week three she would happily wave good-bye and walk into the class. The first few weeks it was hard at drop off, but she was fine once she settled in. Toby will do great and once he is totally adjusted you'll feel great about it too, promise. I would love to send my other daughter, who is two, to daycare just to have that socialization a few days a week. However, I'm a SAHM now and it's just not in the budget. I think a little school is great for them at this age. You are doing the right thing!

Lashley said...

From my time as a teacher in an "early preschool" class, I can say that it does get better.

One thing that can be helpful is to have a short and sweet drop-off routine. Something like hang up backpack, hug/kiss, ___ will pick you up after lunch time, i love you. Something comforting and natural, but I'd say under 3 minutes. When I taught, for some kids, it was too hard or confusing for mom or dad to stay for 10 or 15 minutes and THEN leave. Even if it took longer than a few weeks, having a consistent routine always helped my kiddos adjust.

blythe said...

It took our kid about a month to adjust from one daycare provider to another. He aged out of his home daycare at 13 months and had to start at a larger (louder, brighter, more kids, etc center. They warned us that week one would be awesome and that the next two would suck. And that they did. Moodiness, loss of appetite, hating bath time, lots of sleeping, clingyness and reliance on the pacifier, but by the end of week three/beginning of week four, he started cheering up and now, he acts like he owns the place. I try to remind myself that the displays of separation anxiety he sometimes shows are fleeting and I should probably enjoy them and deposit them in the memory bank for fond recollection when he's screaming that he hates me over a decade from now...

Anonymous said...

1. it's called daycare, not preschool.

2. did you know you're on gomi?

Catherine Masi said...

That FACE, my gosh. Oh, Tibby (will that stick as a nickname? It's very sweet.)
If I can chime in with some others here, I am not a parent but was a teacher of the little ones back when and, let me assure you, Toby will be wonderfully happy in the new school soon enough (and it is preschool- pay no mind to the unfortunate comment above. You are an awesome delight... it's true.)
Yay for you and your lovely family!

Sydney said...

your son is soo cute! I'm jealous of him. I don't start school until the end of Augus and to be honest my summer's borin,,, MEH! Love your blog!

Sydney
http://satisfashionsydney.blogspot.com/

Prairie dogs said...

Slow your roll, anonymous(es)! Toby is a cutey and y'all are great parents.

Katie M. said...

Awwww, this broke my heart too! My son is one and I can imagine feeling the same way when this time comes.
'Tibby'...that's adorable. He's the cutest!

bisbee said...

Just be prepared for anything - I remember that even when mine were well used to school, sometimes they would get into a pattern for a few days where they would cry bitterly when being left, but then that would stop again. It happens...be prepared! But...he will thrive...mine did and they are both married in their mid-30s now!

Allie Shultz said...

What a sweet, heartfelt post Joanna! It sounds like all three of you are handling it pretty well, even though it can be hard. I'm sure Toby will grow up with fond memories of his first school teachers and classmates. I started school at his age and still remember a few of my earliest days in the classroom.

Mollie D said...

I watched a documentary of what NY poeple have to do to get their kids in a school, did you have to do that?

This is so odd to me, our child is Toby's age and we are so far away from putting him in school but I know things are different in the city

2 by Design said...

This post couldn't be more timely! My husband has been able to be home with our little son (just turned one) for the whole last year, but now must return to work. We're faced with finding childcare for the babe full time and I'm DREADING every second of it. For the past eight months I've had to head into the office five days a week - and it's been tough - but at least I've been 100% certain he's in the most loving hands possible. But now?? Ugh. I'm freaking out a little. SO glad to hear your glowing thoughts about the school, teachers, etc. though, and I'm just hopeful to find the same kind of environment. Stay tuned :)

PS - cheese on a cracker, Toby is SO stinkin' cute!

Janie said...

my brother and i were both born in September so we could either be the youngest in the class or the oldest depending on what grade you went into if you know what i mean. my mom said her biggest regret was letting my brother be the youngest and not holding him back a year because boys mature slower and its better to be bigger as a boy. just food for thought :)

Jen said...

TIBBY! I'm dying. I'm expecting a little boy in October and this made me so excited... Toby is so cute!

The Meaning of Me said...

Oh, I remember our first day - it was awful. I think I cried all day. Held it together while we got our girl settled, but burst into tears on the way out. Another mommy saw me and said "It gets better." It didn't. Yes, it did. No, it didn't. We've been at the same place four years and we all love it, but there are still some days I can barely get in the car and drive to work. But she's happy and loves her friends and her teachers. That helps.

My cousin has two girls older than my own and told me my heart would break the day my girl reached for her daycare teachers and went to them willngly. It did. But she also said that while it would hurt like crazy, it was a good thing because it would tell me she was happy and safe and comfortable with them. It was.

She's had wonderful teachers all along. She gets an opportunity to learn and socialize with other kids. The teachers and the programs are excellent. And she's less than ten minutes from me door-to-door if there's ever an emergency...or when at the end of the day I just miss her so much I can't stand it.

She has had days here and there where there was some typical and expected separation anxiety. Everybody has days where they don't want to go to work or school, though. For the most part, she really has had no trouble. That makes it so much easier for the Mommy! And when those days have happened, the teachers handle it with grace and ease.

Best of luck to you and your little one! :)

Mindy said...

Awww...I took my baby to daycare at three months and it was SO HARD. The first day was ok because we were prepared for it, it's the days that follow that were the hardest. We plan to switch schools in a couple of weeks and I am worried about it. But I don't remember switching daycares or doing preschool so it obviously wasn't that traumatic for me. I hope it's the same for him. Plus it teaches them that they are resilient and to handle their complex little emotions. Ah, motherhood, it's tough dealing with all these new emotions.

Stefania said...

AWWW.

Definitely NOT looking forward to this, even though I know it is necessary, haha.

princess butterfly said...

It took eons for my daughter to get used to preschool. She even attended the tiniest montessori school with a teacher and helper that were incredibly attentive. I still had to leave her there screaming while they literally pulled her off of me. It was awful, but it did get better. When we had to move states, and I found a new preschool for her, I was terrified because it was not montessori, and it was not small. However, the first day she just skipped away and blew me a kiss. Then, it was me standing there crying.

It gets easier, and I agree that once the little ones realize what fun can be had, they enjoy it. I definitely hope this will be the case when our son starts school...someday.

sumslay said...

Apparently my dad used to walk me in and then tell me he left something in the truck and haul it out of there. Hahaha! So mean! :P

My first memory is my mom dropping me off at daycare when I was a little over one (not that I knew my age then, of course, but it had to be around that time). I just remember sitting in the floor and watching her go up the steps and bawling my eyes out. A woman in blue bellbottom-y pants came over to comfort me but...I was undone. I got over it though. ;) I just don't think I liked kids even when I was a kid myself!

Geetika Rudra said...

I used to make my mom follow my school bus to school in her car. She did it through the second grade! That's why she's the best!

xx Geetika

www.readgeetikasblog.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Awww "Tibby!"

Kristina @ Sarcire said...

Oh goodness, Jo! Time flies! It feels like yesterday that you were sharing your birth story- and here is "Tibby" starting school. How exciting and wonderful and heart-breaking all at once. :)

Much love,
Kristina

Anonymous said...

I was a preschool teacher for four years and witnessed many tears from students and parents alike. We found by taking pictures of the students doing their favorite activities with their friends and teachers, then emailing them to the parents so that they could discuss their children's day and friends at home seemed to help our shyest "friends" and made a great home-school connection for students and parents.

Y said...

Tibby! So adorable! and his little belly is super cute :) like a cute little old man :)
I bet Toby will be mr. popular soon with his cute little cheeks :)

xoxox

Elle said...

In my experience, the drop off is easier with the dad's because they tend to make it really short and sweet. Loving mamas can sometimes make it harder for the wee one by dragging out the goodbyes. The kids are usually all tear-free and happy within 5-10 minutes after the parents leave. Distraction works so well at that age. : )

Elena said...

So much good advice already, just wanted to wade in with a psychologist's point of view. Preschool can ultimately be a really positive experience - learning to socialise with a variety of peers, exposure to new stimuli, working with new boundaries. It's a big change, and like all things people (including the little ones) will adjust at different rates.

Like so many other people have said, you just need to give yourselves time to adjust. Trust your instinct that you've picked a good place and continue to be positive. Try and establish a routine to keep the rest of the day nice and familiar.

You're doing great! Do keep us up to date on how it goes!

x Elena

sadie c said...

I think it's harder for the parent than the child. I really do.

My little girl has been in school for a year now. My heart totally broke. She was more excited than scared, but watching her being walked down to her classroom made me want to kick the door in, shout 'stop, there's been a mistake, she's too tiny, I'll take her home'.
But I didn't. I turned and walked away. By the time I returned home the urge to cry had passed and I knew she'd be having a good time.

Even now there is an element of that sadness as she walks into school. Kids here (UK) start 'proper' school during the term they turn 5, so she was 4 when she started. Just seemed far too young to me. I chose not send her to pre school or nursery for the early years, and I am so grateful I had the choice of keeping her at home with me. They grow up too quickly.

My little girl turned 6 last month, and I have no idea how time has gone by so quickly.

School broke up for summer on Friday, so I'm enjoying 6 glorious weeks with my little pal. Very happy!

Lu said...

Oh, this is so precious! I'm sure he'll grow to love it (just as the babies in our family did :) We went through the Week 2-4 of tears and also used the 'Band Aid' approach (we were told it was best). Then as we were growing super self-doubtful, without warning, no tears in Week 5!

(Oh, can I ask what school? I like that there's a yard and what sounds like a healthy dose of arts activities!...Which seems more difficult to find than it should be...).

ZADIN said...

Seeing this post made me a little nervous cause I remembered that my son will go on the 1st of September to the kinder garden for the first time in his life. I'm sure we will have a cry me a river kinda tragedy.

Tibby was so brave, I hope my son will be too.

www.zadinblog.com

dani press said...

oh, what a time for little ones. i hope he adjusts well, as i'm sure he will. life goes by too fast! when did toby become a little man? xo.

Kendra + Patricia said...

it's heartbreaking isn't it? same thing happen to me with my 3 year old. first week she didn't even say bye to me and by week three and i had to pull her out of the car kicking and screaming. the buld up is the worst - waiting the the carpool lane when she starts saying "i want to go home" "i don't want to see the boys and girls today" that's when i start to get anxiety b/c part of me just wants to turn around and take her home where is want to be and the other part knows that being around other kids playing and having fun is good for her and she will be happy 10 minutes after she walks through the door....the lump in the throat feeling after i leave her crying though takes a lot longer to go away.

Mad Max and Family said...

Aww precious! I'm sure it's harder on the parents than on them (I would hope). My boy (18 mos) hasn't started school yet, but I'm thinking of doing a Mother's Day Out program (like school a few days a week 1/2 a day) when he turns 2. My Mom / MIL take care of him when I'm working (a teacher) so he hasn't really been in a daycare or school setting yet, but I know it would be good for him. He does okay in our church nursery ...so once I find a place I will feel comfortable, I think he'll do great! Give it some time, I'm sure as long as you grow to love the place too - it'll get easier!

-Tara
http://madmaxandfamily.blogspot.com
http://blog.chron.com/madabouttown/

Jessica M. said...

My son is only 9 months old, so he hasn't started school or even day care yet, but I do try to leave him in the church nursery during service on the weekends. It is so hard for me!! He cries in the beginning & at the end when I pick him up (as soon as he sees me he bursts into angry tears - which doesn't help things)...

I spend the entire service wondering what he's doing & then I rush out the door as soon as it's over to go pick him up. I wonder if I'll ever be like the other parents who just nonchalantly drop their kids off and enjoy their morning.

AnnaK said...

Oh my! This is killing me just looking at the photos. I can't imagine what you were both (are both) feeling!

Anonymous said...

My 14 month old goes to full time school - and recently switched from the infant room to the toddler room, not without a few hiccups. I focus on being excited about school and staying positive in front of kiddo; being uber consistent so she knows what comes next and can feel comfort in the routine of food, nap, drop off/pick up; and being as patient as possible. My kiddo rebelled against any of her new teachers giving her a bottle or a sippy of milk for 6 weeks before she gave in. Now she takes sippies fine and all is well. Hang in there - socializing our kiddos is good for them!!

Tanya said...

My son joined nursery at 1 year old, for two mornings a week. To help with the transition we put a little photo album of him and family members in his bag. The staff would use it whenever he was a little unsettled and it seemed to work so well they have asked every parent to do it.
Also, over time we realised my son prefers to be handed over in to the arms of one of the assistants rather than being plonked down.
I still find the drop-offs hard though 8 months later!

Shannon said...

I taught preschool for four years, and just wanted to pipe in to say that I agree with your child's teachers: many kids seem fine the first week and then struggle a bit to adjust afterwards. I think the first few days are exciting and intriguing, but then it's like, "wait, this is a permanent thing?" :) I salute you for leaving firmly and quickly. That's the only way for your son to understand that it's ok for him to stay and become comfortable there. When parents go back and forth or are slow to leave, the child picks up on the ambivalence or discomfort (or even dislike) and demonstrates it too. It does get easier, all around...and, as some parents forget, it is eventually necessary to separate, so good for you for doing it now!

Cláudia Rolim said...

This is so adorable. He looks so cute.
I don't have kids but I've heard the same story from my sister, regarding my nephews, both cried and even my sister did when she got in the car. I think most kids go through that. Although my mom said when I was 3 I begged her to go to daycare. My siblings are much older than me, I would see them go to school early in the morning and I felt kind of left out and bored being the only kid at home. My mom took me there one day feeling confident that I'd start crying and wouldn't ask to go to daycare again (she was a housewife, there was no hurry) but apparently not only did I not notice she stepped out for 10 minutes to see if I'd cry, I also said "you can go, I want to stay and play with my friends" when she came back. I guess it's good for kids to play and socialize with other kids, sometimes it just takes a while for them to adjust. If we think about it, doesn't that happen even to grown ups when they start a new job sometimes?

Notes from Holly St. said...

Just thinking about my daughter going off to school gives me a lump in my throat, I can only imagine how difficult it is to see Toby resisting what is already hard for you to do! Hang in there, I'm sure he'll come to terms with it soon. Kids are so good at adapting to new situations. Sometimes better than we are!

Courtney said...

My daughter started preschool when she was 3 1/2, and she didn't have a hard time with it, but I totally did! Even though the school seemed wonderful, it felt like I was going against all my motherly instincts to just leave my child with strangers (essentially) for twelve hours a week. What was I thinking?!? I felt really anxious the whole time she was at school for about 2-3 weeks, and then I got used to it. By the end of the school year, I was so sad we had to take a summer break! Her going to school was amazing for both of us, and I came to have a deep love for her school and teachers.
My daughter also got to go to a church nursery once a week starting when she was 18 months. It was totally what you described with Toby. For the first couple weeks she thought it was AWESOME, and then she went through a period of a couple months where I would have to peel her off of me and hand her to one of the teachers while she screamed for me and I ran out the door. Totally heartbreaking! But I knew it was for her own good to learn independence. And she did! She totally grew to love it. One trick was having her find one particular friend she loved, and when I went to drop her off, I'd say, "let's find elsa and you can show her ___" (a sticker, her painted nails, a new toy, etc.) it took her mind of the impending doom of mom ditching her.
Being a mom is so hard sometimes! There are definite growing pains when your heart goes through all those emotions on such a consistent basis. I'm sure Toby will pull through the initial rough patch just fine!

Courtney Suzanne said...

My son has been in daycare since he was 8 weeks old. At 18 months, he still doesn't like being dropped off, but suddenly has started to refuse to come home at night! I usually have to bribe him with the chance to look at the fish in the lobby's fish tank to get him to go home.

I have always felt bad having him in daycare all day while I have to work, but in a way, I think it's good for him to learn to socialize and gain some independence. He's much more social now than I ever was. I had a stay-at-home mom and didn't go to school until I was 4, and I was terribly shy.

Melissa Blake said...

When I first started school, my mom said I cried so much that she stayed with me the first day. Eventually, though, I adjusted and actually loved it.

On the other hand, my sister walked right in to the classroom by herself on the first day and never looked back.

So, I think a lot of it has to do with temperment. I'm sure Toby will be loving it soon! xoxo

Rosy (of Raindrops on Rosy) said...

awe first day of school:) haha such a cute story!

Kristin Donahue said...

Oh my. This is difficult. I loitered so much the first few weeks (as did the other moms and dads) that the teachers started ringing a bell that signaled it was time for parents to leave.

I can't imagine what it is like leaving them at kindergarten. I have a few years for that.

This fall both our three and four year old will be in pre-school. I work from home and my husband is a firefighter so it sometimes seems silly to be putting them in pre-school when we are both capable of watching and tending them, but I realized that pre-school is really good for them. They are discovering an entirely new world outside of our home.

Love you blog.

K.D.
thesavoring.blogspot.com

Madre Primeriza said...

Hello Joanna!
Our daughter started nursery at age 10 months old. For her and us was very, very taugh! But now,
when saturdays we go out and we don't took the nursery way, she becomes sad! May you imagine it? She is a very social baby (her third word was hello!, just after mama and papa) and she loves the activity, the fun, the songs and the action of the nursery class.
It's her little world. It's wonderful. Right now. In the begining, was horrible, horrible, horrible.
So, it takes time. Don't be worry! You are a wonderful mother!!!
Gessami

molly said...

I've always felt school is more for the parents than the children when they are young. I put my boys in a year of preschool before kinder, so the seven hours wasn't such a shock. But I'll be homeschooling my oldest two this fall. We shall see how that goes!

Parent 2 said...

My son Emmet didn't start school until he was a late kindergartener (I was home with #2 anyway and it didn't seem necessary) he sobbed everyday for three weeks and it tore my heart out. It is SUCH a good idea to start them early in the knowing they are okay without Mom. This little bit of independence ( I saw in my second son Finn when he started at 3) is so precious, but it takes a little time. For my first I gave him a special necklace he could wear to hold when he was scared, but this wouldn't work for a little guy- but something. Something he can hold or touch for comfort that is small and that he can keep with him- maybe the writing on his hand or tattoo would work as well. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

my just turned 2 year old has been going since he was 1. it is still hard to drop him off, especially if we go on holiday and come back after not having gone for awhile. but we know how good it is for him. kids who go to care are miles ahead of kids that don't i think.

Parent 2 said...

Like maybe if you, your son and your husband all drew little hearts on your palms? I just remembered how much my kids used to love when I wrote on their hands. i should go see if they still do!

fleur_delicious said...

I bet it will be easier with the second one - I remember stealing my older brother's homework (these little learn-to-read books they had in his kindergarden class) and running off to hide in the closet and read it before he could! I actually still remember a few bits and bobs from my "Rainbow Threes" class. I loved it. Toby will have a great time, once the routine becomes a real routine. =)

My only problem was when the time came to start practicing the transition from a half-day of kindergarden to a full-day schedule before first grade. Always the early bird, I had a really hard time making it through the day. I remember so many afternoons, we'd have our lunch, and then a nap and the next thing I knew, the room was empty and my parents and my teacher would be (ever so gently) waking me up, after I'd slept through the whole afternoon! Such a sleepy head!

Robin and Mould said...

Such a lovely honest post. So funny too as we've just had the EXACT same experience with our 3 1/2 year old. Including us buying him that exact rucksack to try and make the packing/preparing for pre-school more fun! He's been going for 3months now and is so much more confident and happy going. He still asks everyday 'is it a pre-school day Mummy?' but now sometimes he's sad if it's not! Progress. Plus the staff there have to keep a learning journey folder for every child which is full if photos and things he's said. Having a look through that made us feel much better.
Good luck to all of you from across the pond!

clementine said...

Oh i love your blog and hearing about your son, mine are 6 and nearly two, but i'm really very sorry to hear you've sent him to school so early! it's very sad :(

http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Children-Learn-Penguin-Education/dp/0140136002/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1343083641&sr=8-2

The other of this book is awesome! it has helped us no end xx

clementine said...

sorry
*author!
doh :)

Anonymous said...

He seems awfully young to be going to school. What is the rush?

duckeggblue said...

Oooh it's tough! I'm having a melancholy morning because my 2 1/2 yr old was beside himself with me leaving him this morning. Some days are fine, some days not so, even after a whole term. But I know he enjoys it when he forgets mama has left him and generally he has been a happier little person since he doesn't get so bored at home. Just find someone to hug and you'll both be fine!

Brigid C said...

Joanna,
My oldest 'baby' is almost 26 and I remember so clearly her excitement about attending 3 yr old nursery school. She talked about for months and like Toby, was fine for the 1st week and then the tears:-( Things went much better once she had a bud in class. After a couple of afterschool playdates, it was smooth sailing! Good luck to you and your hubby.

Carol Rial said...

I've been trying my little one to go since December and we're still together at home. He doesn't seem to be scared, some tears the second day only (he loves to be surrounded of people and other kids), but the four times he started to go to daycare, he got sick and didn't feel well till a month later!! He never is sick, only gets the flu or something worse at the daycare, and I cannot understand at all because he goes to the playground everyday and plays with lots of kids. I'm about to change of daycare to go, and it's sad because I love this place and the lovely teachers but I got to try something else. I have to work and since I have no sitter anymore because he was going to start the school... I only can work at nights, so I'm getting very tired and this is not good for my baby. Anyway, I know taking him to the school is the best thing to do, but It breaks my heart everytime I think about it, everyday he puts his tiny feet on the daycare, and this thing of getting sick really doesn't help at all...

Michelle Erba said...

Hey Joanna,
Have you ever seen the documentary Nursery University about the competitive New York City preschool application process!? It is fascinating (and slightly disturbing). Id be interested to see if you had a similar experience. Check it out for sure! (I saw it via netflix)

Jenny said...

I think starting school is always hard for little ones! I'm sure he'll settle in soon. xx

http://www.jenventure.blogspot.co.uk

Anonymous said...

I don't have children, but I do work at a YMCA in childcare, and this is a common issue we work with parents on. The biggest thing is consistency! Don't ever try and trick them, even though it's tempting sometimes to sneak out of the door. It's easier to leave when your child is happy and playing! It's best to always say goodbye, and remind them that you will always come back. If you have a place where you can consistently transition, that helps too. We have a hallway with a half door where we encourage parents to drop their children off, that way it's separate from their play area. Hope this is helpful, and doesn't come off as pushy!

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure I didn't consider school till my kids were four and could actually learn something at school. I would call this daycare.

jonahliza said...

ohmygosh.. i remember when i first found your blog. i think it was right after you got married, and i've been reading and lovin it ever since. toby is getting so big. congrats! i can't wait to have a baby. i'll have to go back and re-read your mom posts. hehe. have a lovely week!

Sonia said...

Hi Jo It's a big first step - I was a bit of a wreck at the beginning - but it gets easier for everyone, trust me. My Milla started a preschool two mornings at two, 6 months ago - I just stayed a lot at the beginning (I love playing play dough with the kids:)) so she got comfortable with the environment. At this age its not so much the bond with other kids, it's more if they form a bond with one of the teachers. Also, of course, time and routine will kick in. One important thing is if you love the environment, he will too. We changed centers after an agonizing few months as both of us were not happy and it was the right decision. Good luck!

Michelle S said...

gut wrenching. and i have a hard time leaving my DOG.

www.prettydinos.com

Morgan said...

Just the mention of your babysitter made me teary! I had to tell a family I nanny for today that I wasn't going to be able to work for them anymore, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done! I love that your babysitter is such a big part of your family; it really is such a special relationship.

Wenna said...

My kid has no one to play with at home coz she's the only child. At first I was having second thoughts- will sending her to school early (2 y.o) have bad effects on her (burnout,etc) later? But after a month she's looking forward to schooltime. Give the crying one month- that's what my pre-school teacher mom told me.

SK said...

Yay Toby!! Keep up the good work!

Ann said...

My little guy cried when I picked him up from school. He was having too much fun! I waited until my guy was almost 4. I figure my kids will be in school for so many years that I'm not in any rush to start them early. I relish every day I have at home with them.

NosyRosie said...

My heart was in my throat just reading this and the thoughts of when my little dude goes off to preschool!

Julia said...

Yes! Not the first day, but after for our 3 year old last year..its a mix of anxiety and excitement for him. I think it is great that you are starting with 3x a week. We started with 2x a week and it was just perfect for the whole family to adjust. I'm all about easing into transitions :)

Aja Lake [the gold hat.] said...

what a sweet post, joanna. i can't imagine the day that i send ace off to school!

p.s. check out kindergarten in paris + a cup of jo on the gold hat.

xx,
Aja Lake
the gold hat.

sarah said...

So cute! My son started preschool at 2 yrs old, b'c I worked part-time and decided if he had to be with a babysitter, he might as well be at preschool and interacting with other kids. He bawled his little eyes out ALL DAY LONG for the first week and cried on and off for the next couple weeks, but by the end of the first month he was fine with it! In the end, he did adjust and enjoyed it, but I do think that he was a bit too young (for him- all kids are different) and I think he would have done better if I had waited. My daughter started at age 3 and even though she is incredibly shy, she was perfectly fine from day one. Every kid is different. I think the important thing is to be sure in your decision and communicate that confidence to your child. And, keep drop off happy and consistent. Come in, spend a minute settling in and then leave. Not too rushed, but not too drawn out either.

Alexa said...

Sorry, Australian and thus confused. School? Is this a preschool? A daycare center? It certainly looks lovely, I'm merely confused by the system.

Mariely said...

What a beautiful post, your son is adorable!!
xo
www.stylegod7.blgspot.com

Ashley Hayne said...

As a preschool teacher, I can reassure you that this is totally normal. I hear the same things from parents all the time. We call the first week the honeymoon phase. Its okay the first week and then the 2nd and 3rd week we have a lot of hard drop offs. but then with time all the children are happy. Some children take a lot longer to be okay with drop off especially children that aren't morning people. But all of the children once the parents are gone have a blast even though some say they don't want to come back that night when they're with they're parents. Stick it out!

Ashley Hayne said...

oh and its really helpful to establish a routine at drop off. For example some of our parents read a book and then leave or play in the house area for 10 min and then leave while the child waves at the window. Children flourish when they feel comfortable and understand whats going on. :)

Nicole said...

All kids are just so different...my first was happy! happy! happy! about school from his first day (at age 3). My second started at 2.5, and was super introverted and anxious for the next 4.5 years. Seriously. He finally found his groove last year, thankfully. My youngest begged to start school from the age of 2, but we didn't enroll him until he was 4. He has had a couple of rough drop-offs, but more frequently is out of sorts at the end of the day. Following rules all day can really take it out of a kid.

LPC said...

Every kid is different. Pay close attention. If he keeps crying, for a few months, he probably really doesn't like it. If he gets better in a few weeks, he's fine.

Kenly said...

Our son started school one month ago and he was EXACTLY the same way -- cried a little the first week, cried a lot the second (as did I). The good news is our shy momma's boy now loves school. Yesterday (Sunday), he grabbed his shoes and said, "peeschoo mama!" Man, it's so heartbreaking when you think of them sad without you there. It really is the pits.

Anonymous said...

Similar thoughts to Alexa, above, except... American here...

Since when do kids start school when they're two years old, and in the middle of the summer? Are you talking about nursery school (which I've always equated with daycare)? What do you mean by, "we could have waited another year?" You could have waited another 3 years, no?

hayley [see.hay.fly] said...

As a preschool teacher, I will tell you that it is easier for the child than the parent. Out of sight, out of mind, is what I like to say. I'm sure he's having a blast and if something were really wrong, the teacher will talk to you :) Best of luck!

hayley [see.hay.fly] said...

And to the anonymous a few posts up...yikes! Children are always learning...I hope you have more faith in your kids! Two year olds can retain a lot about their environment, social skills, language, and spatial recognition :)

Anonymous said...

Since you asked for input, here goes (nicely) I would listen real hard when he says he doesn't want to go. He's young, but he's brilliant. What he's telling you is his truth, I'd honor it, plain and simple. He is little. I personally don't think children need preschool at this age for socialization. They want their parents. With outings, and playgroups parents can provide socialization. And you can be there too. He will be better bonded in the long run.

I'm speaking for experience. I enrolled my (then) 3 year old son in preschool. I'd pick him up and he was sad. He started not wanting to go. We pulled him out and decided that we'd wait for his cues that he wanted to attend preschool.

When he was nearly 5 he started to ask about going to school. We enrolled him 3x a week for 3 hrs. He happily went each day and thrived. Until preschool, he just wasn't "done" needing home, and the bonding and nurturing that only a primary care giver can give.

I thank my lucky stars to this day that we made this decision.

Anonymous said...

Oh my Toby looked so cute and I wish him all the best with school.
My mom told me that I used to cry a lot in the beginning but once I found the dress up clothes I ran straight to them without even saying goodbye. Oh good times.

Anonymous said...

I'm not so certain I believe in the "out of sight, out of mind" way of thinking.

What if what is really happening is the child saying, "I guess this is where I go now". "I guess Mom and Dad drop me off"

Children will turn themselves into pretzels in order to make Mom and Dad happy. It's the human design - children love to,please their parents.

What if a child sees how pleased their parents are when they show such enthusiasm over school. Then Mom and Dad can say - oh he likes it afterall! When what might really be happening is the child is sacrificing their authentic feelings in order to please Mom and Dad.

Now, this isn't the same for each child. Some want to,go and others do not. My reasons for that are an entirely different comment! :):)

Katerina said...

Don't worry, he will be just fine!! we started when he was 18 months-now he's 2 1/2 years old- and he was crying everyday for at least 1 month.At the end not only did he adjust but he loves going to his buddies.
By the way this is a good opportunity to say that I love your blog, keep up the good job!

Samantha said...

I work at a preschool that has a toddler classroom and the teachers are right, often times the second, third and fourth week are a bit harder...but then they end up loving it :)

You should check out a Montessori school when Toby is 3 and ready for preschool, I am a Montessori teacher and it is the best and most amazing program for early childhood education (in my opinion). Be careful though, the term Montessori isn't trademarked so there are some schools who say they are Montessori and are not really. Check for schools that have teachers trained by AMI (association Montessori International) for quality control. There is also AMS (American Montessori Society) but I don't know as much about that.

Good luck to Toby!

Honeybee said...

Our daughter (no 2.5 years old) started going to the nursery when she was 6 months old - yes, 6 months, we don't think hightly of maternity leaves in Switzerland. :-I

There was a 2 week introduction period when I went with her every day, just for a couple of hours first, then a bit longer, then I left for 30 minutes, then an hour etc. She did great and loves the nursery now. The hardest time was at around 9 months (separation anxiety). Still, just this morning, she said she didn't want to go. Even though last night she cried when I picked her up because she didn't want to leave...

He'll be fine, I'm sure!

mademoiselle tralalala said...

you must be very proud of him!

Annie G said...

I well remember the first time I left my oldest at pre-school. Hated it. Wept a lot. But a year later he was fine - he wasn't ready to do it before. However, my daughter was practically beating the door down to get in - even tried sneaking in as if they wouldn't notice. Both of them loved the experience - and it was probably because it was a great place with lovely people. I'd say give it a go for a month and if he is still really sad, leave it a while. As a primary school teacher, we constantly see sobbing children who are beaming within 5 minutes, singing and chatting, while their mothers are miserably wandering home, convinced they have done the wrong thing. Kids are like the English summer: one minute warm and breezy, the next cold and wet with occasional storms. Bring an emotional umbrella...

thebeautyphilosopher.com said...

Oh Toby! I'm already feeling sad at the thought of my five month old beginning solids, let alone school!

Rose said...

I don't have kids but I went to nursery from 2- and I just loved it! even though my Mum was at home (different times I guess and she's deaf) I loved going home to Mum too but I was quite a handful and the Doctor said it's good for bright children to start school a few hours a day- I loved it, worked really well for me!

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Heidi said...

Your experience with Toby sounds a lot like my experience with both my daughters. You're doing fine, don't second guess yourself because from what I've read on your blog, you are fantastic parents you and Alex. Truly. :)

Jennifer said...

Oh, this is hard! The teacher is right, though. A lot of kids are fine that first week. There are new toys, new kids, new things to do...but when they realise by week 2 or 3 they have to keep coming back every day, it's another story. My older daughter was a week 3 wailer. Then, she settled right in and was happy as a clam. My younger daughter, on the other hand, never admitted she was happy there, still parting with tears (and sometimes being peeled off me by the teacher) after several months. It was agony. Friends did observations in the classroom and assured me she was happy and well-integrated. The teacher promised the same. But the tears, the clinging and the heartache every morning often had me in tears and questioning my mothering. Hang in there. I have been a teacher and have seen the other side, and I can assure you this is much harder on mamas than it is on a well-placed kiddo. Best wishes to you!

PD said...

Joanna, I'm fascinated by how much motherhood opens women up to constant critique in our culture. (I'm thinking of a lot of anonymous comments about Toby being too young, etc.) I hope you keep sharing these moments despite the occasional entitled commenter- so, so many people (including me!) adore your blog.

Sydney said...

Hi Joanna,
I have gone through it six times over the past twenty four years (well, technically seven if you count my grandson) and it really depends on the child's personality. It sounds like "Tibby" (so cute!) is a bit of an introvert and it will take him a bit longer to warm up. I completely agree with what you plan to do, give it a couple of weeks and if he still resists, he may not be ready. I did the exact same thing when I went to Montessori school in the 70's, and according to my mother, after a couple of weeks I was fine and actually cried when I wasn't able to stay for lunch one day. It was a wonderful experience going to Montessori and I still remember it. I could figure simple addition, wrote in cursive, read storybooks and even spoke some French by the time I was four years old. All of it with no textbooks! He's such a lovely boy, I can only imagine how hard it is to leave him. I remember one of my sons first day of school. I was walking him in and he said, "You're going to get in the van and leave, right Mom?" He's sixteen now and always wants to go places without us. He's definitely our extroverted child! They are all different. My daughter cried every first day until she was in second grade.

Barbiekayle said...

Toby (Tibby) is soooooooo cute! I really love your updates, you are both amazing and caring parents, a true inspiration! :) xx

So R. said...

my first day of school another classmate threw up on me. i was traumatized but i think i got over it quickly :) your son looks so cute! good luck on his second week

Anonymous said...

My advice-- don't ask him if he wants to go. Just be excited and say time for school, etc. I don't ask my kids if they want to do non negotiable activities, etc. I just say today is soccer practice, today is sunday school, etc.

He is super cute!!

Pia said...

Hi Jo! My daughter's 3 now, and her first week of school bears no resemblance to the weeks now. The first day was super - she literally pranced in.
She changed her mind on day 3, and didn't want it one bit from then on - for about a week!
It's been 6 months since, and now school's just the coolest place. Their start in school is like a roller-coaster ride for us! Sinking heart, silly grins, et all!

ana {bluebirdkisses} said...

Johannes starts Montessori next wednesday and I'm pretty nervous too. I'm going to take him in a few days earlier just an hour at a time during outdoor play time so he gets used to the space and teachers, then we'll just do half days for a bit until he's ready for full day. He's only 17 months so I'm pretty nervous about it too, but hopefully it goes well and he starts to like it. Its harder on us parents than it is on the actual babies though

Benedikt Cervantes said...

I'm doing social service in a Montessori Kindergarden and it is always funny to see how great and easy the children handle the situation and how tough it seems to be for some parents

Darcee said...

My oldest one (a boy) barely said goodbye while walking into his classroom on his first day of K. My youngest (a girl) was about the same. My middle boy? A nightmare. He clung to me, cried the whole time I was there and for awhile after I left according to his teacher. This went on for weeks. The crying eventually stopped, but the clinginess didn't. That lasted for a few months. Eventually he got so he would go into the small enclosed playground outside the K rooms without me, but wouldn't socialize, even when his friends came up to him. He would just hang out quietly to the side, leaning on the wall. That? It lasted until March. Yes, March!!! After about 7 months, he finally went in without any problems and played. It was so frustrating, and quite the heartache daily. He was still very shy and seemed disinterested in school over the next 2 years at that school. Between his 2nd and 3rd grades, we moved to a different state, and he was like a completely different kid. Now he's entering 5th grade like a pro. I think the school had something to do with his anxiety, but I also know that he's just one of those kids.

Stacie said...

Oh those photos make my heart melt! What a cutie. It would be so hard to take your little one to his first day of school. Thank you for sharing!

Aadam Aad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renee said...

My oldest had a harder time in his second year, oddly enough, perhaps because he was a little more aware at 3-yr-old? - refusing to get dressed, refusing to go to the car, etc. I work at the school he attends, and I know his guides very well (guides = teachers in the Montessori environment). My second is starting this fall in the toddler community, and I know his adjustment will be more challenging - he has spent far less time away from us than my first did. I trust the teachers and have "counseled" parents for years now that each child adjusts differently, and that we will definitely call the parents if a child does not settle in (we care about the child first and foremost! we're not in the business of psychological damage!). At our school, there is an understanding that if a parent feels worried, he can call the receptionist, who will walk down to peek into the room to check on a child and report back to the parent. It is very rare that a child is still unsettled after the parents have driven away.

When I walked my first child into school as a toddler, he had no problem separating, and I cried all the way home! (and I'm a trained Montessori guide!! wasn't expecting that!!)

Anonymous said...

I think the general consensus is that it's absolutely daycare as a two year old is not capable of schoolwork per se. If we as parents call it school, it excites the children more and assuages our own feelings. Accredited preschools usually won't even accept students under three as they are simply not emotionally developed or mature enough yet to be in a truly academic environment.

That said, there are wonderful daycares out there and most working families need them at some point. Children do thrive and are better prepared for actual school when they arrive.

Anonymous said...

When my daughter started school as a 3 year old, her older brother, 5, had to come comfort her all the time (oh those understanding wonderful teachers!) so they made a "shrine" to her brother with pictures of him, and his favorite toys (cars) and when she missed him, the teacher would take her to the 'shrine' and let her sit there a while and look at pictures of her brother -- she always calmed down!

PS -- she is now 24 and still adores her brother!!

Jhope said...

Toby is just too cute.. My little one started at 2.9, and she was really ready and never cried at drop-off. That said, the first week at pick-up she'd cry the minute she saw me and would say, "Mama, I didn't realize how much I mis-sed you". That sentence broke my heart. She starts K this September, and I'm already missing her.

Wendy-Frances said...

This is fantastic! My daughter was in Montesori school from 11 months old. She could read, write, tie her shoe, dress herself before kindergarten. You can completely tell the children who didn't have that exposure in Kindergarten. She's going into 6th grade in the fall and is an advanced student. Highly recommended! Great job!

Maria said...

My little one started at 3 months when I had to return to work. It was hard for my husband and I but we made it through. At 19 months our little guy has loved each and every day at his school and learns so much every day. His first words were "Thank You", which I know he learned from the loving teachers.

Maria
www.mariapinkelton.com

Denise said...

First of all, congrats to you for leaving quickly! Whether parents like it or not, that is truly the best way to go. I taught toddlers and preschoolers for several years at a Montessori school on the UWS. I went through MANY difficult drop-offs. Warning... some children experience the same difficulties after vacations as well.
If I can attempt to offer some reassurance, over the course of the 3 1/2 years I taught that age group, I never had a child continue to cry for an extended period of time after mom and dad left. I often took smiling, happy photos within 5 minutes of the sad departure to text to mom and dad.
So trust me, he's sad to see you leave, but he'll have a BLAST once he settles in.

Thea said...

As an Early childhood educator myself, I see this with lots of children. We call it the "honeymoon phase"..when OMG, I'm here everyday with the same people??haha He'll settle in..I promise that it's a lot harder on the parents than the children as children are so adaptable and accepting of their surroundings. Just be consistent with your routine and he'll love it!

Emlue said...

Great job at leaving quickly! I have worked at week-long VBS camps, as a Sunday School assistant, as a full-time summer nanny, and as a part-time daycare assistant. In each of these jobs, my life was made SO MUCH easier when parents spent a small amount of time to introduce their child to the setting, then left quickly. It really does make it worse when the parent sticks around - the child sees that when they cry, Mommy or Daddy comes back - thus, they cry every time you leave them, because you will come back! If they realize that it doesn't help if they cry, they move on to bigger and better things. Props to you for doing it right! I am sure as he gets used to it he will have tons of fun. :)

Circa Style said...

I'm many years away from kiddos (and 11 months away from my wedding), but I will never forget what a terrible time my younger sister had going to kindergarten! For 2 complete school years, she got on the bus in hysterics, cried on my shoulder the entire way to school, and made me walk her to her classroom before going to my own.

I wish I could sum this up with a tale of new found independence or at least a tip, but my sister, now 23 years old, has not changed much. She didn't fair well going away to college and still lives at home.

I sincerely hope this challenging time gets easier and more routine for both you and Toby.

xo,Heather

Alison said...

Our little boy has been in day care/pre-school since he was just 4 months old because my hubby and I were both finishing college. He loves it so much now that he is terribly sad when he has to leave for the holidays and summer. Even though we know he loves it, the first couple weeks back after a long break are always kindof tricky.

Fra said...

When my parents took me to kindergarten, I made such a fuss, crying and resisting to being left there, that after a few weeks they gave up and allowed me to skip it altogether. So I stayed at home until six, when I started school.

Although everything went smoothly at school, many times in my life I have thought that if only my parents had been tougher on leaving me at nursery school, now I would be more constant, I wouldn't change jobs every 6 months, and I wouldn't be so terrified of breakups.

If I have any children, I am certainly going to act differently, because I am sure it will benefit them in those moments when life is tough.

Anonymous said...

What a cutie.

According to my Mom, I went for 2 days and said "OK Mommy I can use a break now."

Best wishes for your lovely family :-)

Tracy Carson said...

HI Joanna! I love your blog and living vicariously through your life in NYC. I am coming for vacation in October and I couldn't be more thrilled! Anyhoo, our transition to school woes were very similar to yours. We have a 5 and 3 year old. We read the book, "A Kissing hand" prior to the first day of pre-school and it has proven to be so helpful. We now use the kissing hand for anytime we are apart from each other. I encourage you to pick up a copy and take a look, it is a wonderful story of a fearful raccoon who travels to school with his confidence in a kissing hand from his mother. Very sweet...after all "the kiss will stick!"

tamara said...

I sit for a boy who's nearly three, and it's always interesting to me to see how he reacts to different situations. I've been sitting for him for about 4 months and at first he was a little lukewarm with me, and now gets excited to see me. He usually likes going to school, but sometimes when I drop him off at his gymnastics class or go to do music and movement classes he gets really shy and cries. Little ones are so funny and interesting!

Anonymous said...

Who said Toby was too young? I asked what this was all about because I genuinely wanted to know... I am American but didn't (until another commenter sort of cleared it up) understand the use of the term "school" for something which a two-year-old attends and begins in summer. I began to wonder if New York State has some sort of crazy new school system. Joanna sounded like at LATEST Toby could start at three, as though that were some commandment by the state.

There was no critique and I find it very odd that mothers always imagine they're being critiqued. If anything, not having children opens you up to extreme criticism. (Frankly, as a non-mother, I have no clue when any child should start school or "school," and I don't get about the issue, I just want to understand.)

Anonymous said...

I am a firm believer that if a child is saying they don't want to go to preschool and is crying when you drop him off, you should listen to him. He has some many years of school ahead of him, and you have so few years to enjoy just being with him, why does he need to be in preschool now?

Take him to parks and museums and music classes. Play cars and trucks and smear finger paint on paper. Enjoy being with him.

It's over so fast.

Hank Ewing said...

We tried when my son just turned 3 and it was horrible. I don't think the teachers were all that supportive/interactive and I have a sensitive one. After about a month of class (where he was doing okay - no crying) we were literally driving home from a short vacation, it was 9PM and a little voice from the backseat said, "My stomach hurts, I don't think I should go to school" Broke my heart - from there, we pulled him and it was the best decision. I found other ways to work in social interaction - a one day a week "class" with a teacher who happened to be very warm and inviting. Just what he needed to build his confidence.

Celine said...

AGAIN, some input from France ! First, good to hear that Toby is slowly but surely making his pace towards school - growing so quickly ! None of my kids ever made a fuss about separation (first time with the grans, first time in school) as we worked a lot on (in a nutshell) "that's the way it is, no other way round, you'll enjoy it, and we'll be back soon". We are lucky enough they are very keen on socializing. In France, school starts at 3 - it's called "Maternelle" and say, is not compulsary but i know no parents who skip it. Lasts for 3 years before things get really serious. Maternelle is an excellent First Course as they really learn a lot : socializing, becoming a pupil, plus all the stuff about writing, counting, singing, and pre-reading. But still, I understand this is hard for both parents and kids as all of this is new. And you have to adjust with it. My motto has always been "The More I Personnaly Feel Comfortable with this New Event, The More My Kid will Feel The Same". They really are like little sponges, so try to keep as cool as you can when leaving cute Toby off to school. Thanks for reading through this loong comment ! I am confident this will get to normal very soon. Kids are surprisingly adaptable.

Mélanie A. said...

Mathis is 20 months old and he has been to the daycare since he was 10 months . Daycare in France is almost school, they have activities such as music , painting, pottery . He goes all day long, he had very tough time at the begining , it was much better in the middle of the year and it seems it has been getting back to the tough time . I know the teachers are very good with him , he is with others kids and I feel good about it even if it is sometimes hard

Bethie said...

My little Charlie (she's a girl) has been in daycare two days a week since she was three-months-old. As a result, she is more social, more independent and has even developed a bit of an English accent (we're Americans living in London)! Starting her so early meant that she didn't really know what was going on, and it just smoothly became a part of her world. Now when she wakes up and we tell her she gets to go to school, she gets excited; it is the sweetest thing!

My only issue with the whole setup is that she's been bitten by kids at school and is now starting to bite. Ugh. Whenever I ask anyone how to remedy the problem, they say to bite her back (which I just can't bring myself to do). I know it is a normal instinct for kids, but it is just so humiliating when my sweet little girl bites her playdate when she tries to play with her doll!

Chelsey said...

I used to teach at a preschool and that is exactly what we would recommend. One idea, that worked on most of our children, is to tell Toby that its like he is going to 'work' - just like mommy and daddy. Grab your 'suitcase' (lunch box), you're going to stay for a bit, and then we pick you up! Easy as pie and making it really exciting every time gets them excited. We would have children crying because they didn't want to leave! you'll see that soon. Trust me, its harder on the parents - Good luck!

Sarah said...

My daughter London has been going to "school" aka daycare 5 days a week all day since she was 14 months old. And unfortunately we have had to switch schools 2 times since then - she's only 26 months now. The transition to a new school or class can be rough and result in morning drop-off tears which kill me but usually after a month she is comfortable. And we know we have a good place when she doesn't want to leave at the end of the day.

Janet said...

I have a 14-month old boy myself and I admire how you get to spend so much time with him while working from home doing a job you love (and are phenomenal at)! He is absolutely adorable.

maticki said...

I feel a bit confused with the term school! our daughter is 21 months old and she has been going to the crèche since she was 6 months old, but the school starts when she turns 4 years old (and this is early for me, I am from Croatia and started school when I was 6 years old). Do you just mran kindergarten or is school mandatory in US when you are 2. 5 years old???? btw, she wasnt aware of the thing when she was 6 months old until she was a year ols or so, then she loved it and round of the age of 18 months or so she started crying every time we took her there and then would love it as soon as we were out of the site. now we took her to my parents and sister to Croatia for the whole summer and are dreading the return! (she at the moment forgot all her english and is only speaking Croatian). Parenting, always exciting, ey!

Sara Wetmore said...

This post couldn't come at a more perfect time! Just this morning my hubby and I went to check out a school for our son who is 16 months. He won't start until Sept. 2013 when he's 2.5 yrs but we needed to register now to get him on the wait list (wait lists for everything to do with kids are nuts in Toronto). We watched the one mom drop off her little girl and the daughter was sobbing...like body shaking sobbing. It broke my heart and I started to tear up a bit too, but I couldn't stop thinking that my son was just born (in my mind, anyway) and how could we possibly be thinking about school already. You can't blink with these kids. Before you know it they're practically grown ups! Thanks for telling your story. I'm sure Toby will be fully into it in no time.

Wendy Michelle said...

reading your posts about the first times in toby's life feels oddly reassuring. i say oddly because we don't know one another and the net can be so very impersonal but your posts are anything but that. i want to thank you for being candid and sharing these moments with us. being motherless leaves one wondering (even before having children, as in my case) how she'll know what to do in all of these scenarios. i feel you are giving me a little peek as primer. gratzi from the bottom of my heart! you pulled me in with the fashion and i opined that the "mama stuff" might not resonate..i was wrong :)

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vandegee said...

They cry once they realize this is a THING - this will happen every week. But they also quickly grow to love the independence of it, their special time away from you ("What did you do today in school." "I don't remember" or "Played" or sometimes even "nothing" - they're way of keeping the memories for themselves, keeping it "special."). Don't worry. Muscle through the tears. (They will come and go many times over the next few years!) It will actually help him get over the separation by being consistent. So hang in there!

p.s. It might also help to have just Alex drop him off - mom always makes it worse. Or even a friend or babysitter or grandparent. They may cry with you but will just dash on in with another adult...

Hena Tayeb said...

My little one just turned two. We haven't started school yet, I can only imagine how high everyone's emotions must be running. We are going to start next year.

Anonymous said...

My two and a half year old has been in daycare three days a week since he turned one. The SECOND week is harder than the first, because the shock & newness of it aren't a distraction at drop off anymore. They all really do settle down soon after the drop off, but that screaming is awful. It'll come back too (be ready!), after months of being dismissed with a hand wave and barely a 'bye', all of a sudden we'll have a week of bloodcurdling screaming and wailing for me not to go. My son STILL tells me he doesn't want to go to school a few times a week... but when i pick him up he can't wait to tell me how much fun he had all day and show me his pictures and tell me about his friends. Good luck, it's hard, really mostly on us, not them. Hope my perspective helps!

Anonymous said...

i don't have any children. I am about to start college. when I started school I was nearly 3 and my patents were attending language school in France. they had an agreement that any child too old for the nursery had to go to school and let their parents study. so off I went, learned French and had the best time of any 3 year old in the world. :)

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