Woody Allen once said “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
That’s apt, especially if you’re the parent of a young child. Just when you think you’re in a great routine with your child, something changes, something alters, and all of a sudden, you’re back at square one, looking at this little stranger and wondering what happened.
- Terrible breast feeder, to great breast feeder, to the most voracious breast feeder in the world, then weaned.
- Terrible napper, to great napper, back to terrible napper.
- Loves Mickey Mouse, wants nothing to do with Mickey Mouse, to wondering where Mickey Mouse went.
- Will try any food, hates all food, wants only one food.
And most recently,
- Hates daycare, loves daycare, loathes daycare.
One of the hardest things is dropping off your child at daycare for the first time. After a little while, it’s honestly a little liberating, but there’s always something niggling at the back of your mind. Then, suddenly, your child bounds off into daycare, forgetting to give you a kiss goodbye.
Little Man has had a lot of daycare transitions. He went from a one-on-one situation with one of my closest and oldest friends (not in age, but in length of friendship) who’s an ECE (that was amazing), to another home care situation that was less than ideal (no kids his age, talked “at” rather than “to”, no real learning opportunities), to a full-blown daycare centre, where he has since thrived.
Now, as he prepares to enter full-day junior kindergarten (JK), he has to transfer daycares again, to the one affiliated with his school – and it’s a good thing, all in all. I think he may be pushing the edge of where he can go with his current (albeit awesome) situation.
He had his “orientation session” last week for JK (to be honest, the term, while accurate, cracked me up. My version of an “orientation session” is VERY different – and a lot more boring – than what he did that day). The child is uber-stoked to go to the new daycare and then to the new school.
Enter THE CHANGE: Suddenly he didn’t want to go to his current daycare.
Our already-hectic morning routine took a turn for the melancholic. It would start out great, happy wake up, happy breakfast then (insert descending slide whistle here), we’d dive-bomb into Sad Kid Zone, and suddenly it took so much more effort just to get out the door.
What’s a parent to do? Yelling is futile, and just makes everyone miserable. Carrying him silently to the car when he’s gone into “limp bacon” mode usually turns into a deal. I have to find that fine balance between making sure he feels heard and validated, making the rules apply and actually getting to all the places we have to go.
Running out of options, we created a countdown calendar. He knows now that he starts his new daycare in 3 weeks. He’s excited. We cross off the days and we’ve started to make a fun, running list of all the new things he’ll be doing. New shoes, new friends, new teachers, new toys, new field trips, etc.
It’s working, surprisingly.
Unfortunately, then it became a question of reminding him that, just because he’s starting a new daycare and will be starting a new school soon, he still has to listen to his teachers at his current daycare. I think, for a while, he’d gotten it into his head that since he was going somewhere else, the rules didn’t apply where he was (a problem quickly resolved, believe you me).
The point is, as my awesome ECE friend says, this is one of a long, long list of transitions that won’t stop. Then, she inserted some maniacal dum-dum-DUM music when she told me, and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t kidding…
As parents, we have a responsibility to ask ourselves what the best way to transition is. Sometimes, it’s a question of easing the child into it. Sometimes, it’s a question of throwing the kid into the mix and seeing what happens. With some kids, it takes a LOT more effort than others.
Reflecting back on my 3.5 years with Little Man, I think of all the sudden changes we’ve undergone. I know that I’ve had it easy compared to other moms. And I know I’m in for a lot more trouble as the years go on.
We do what we have to do – with our kids’ best interests at heart.
So, parents, here’s to change: May it always happen (that’s where the growth is) – May we always have ideas on how to make it easier (that’s where the wisdom is) and may we always be (at least a little) up to the challenge when we’re blindsided by the next one!
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net