Sunday, November 4, 2007

Figured it Out-Now What?

Ah, the joys. Just when we think we've got something figured out parenting-wise, it all goes pear shaped. Not even the trials and tribulations of adolescence prepared me for the abject confusion of parenthood!

For the past week and a half, Elise has been sliding back to her pre-Montana visit self. Heightened anxiety about everything, trouble sleeping, sensitivity to sound, obsessive circular thinking and poor self-expression stand out most. Well, most after constant clinging to Mommy for dear life. We were starting to get alarmed, and then the earthquakes hit. The ensuing bedtime crisis distracted us for a few days, but then we realized things were continuing to deteriorate.

On a hunch, I started talking to Elise about school when I went up to get her out of bed Saturday morning. Her thumb was immediately in her mouth, a sure sign of stress. I had struck a nerve.

We talked for awhile, and I told Elise how the school we'd both liked the week before was full, and how it would be quite awhile before she started. And we'd be talking about it a lot before we ever went. The thumb comes out of the mouth. Look of concern.

"Mommy, I want a school where you will come with me every day and stay the WHOLE time."

So that's it, eh? I found myself wondering what in blazes that woman had done to my girl in her previous preschool life. I knew the experience had been isolating, but this is a stronger reaction than I'd expected. What I do know is that my child's personality changed dramatically for the worse while at that school, and the prospect of going to any school triggers some of the same behavior. We're going to have to think through our return to the world of school a little more carefully than I had imagined.

So, I guess we'll be continuing to work on the preschool thing. I had dismissed a co-op setting out of hand because I didn't think Elise would react well to having rotating shifts of "in charge" adults around. I also think it would be an invitation to her to manipulate unfamiliar adults and keep things going at her own speed. My assumption was that this would be a bad thing, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe a little power over her surroundings with Mommy present a good deal of the time (at least to start) would be a good thing? I dunno.

I sure would like some advice from anyone and everyone out there who has experience in this area. The strange behavior that had us so worried is almost completely gone, and all that remains is the deathly fear of separation. How do we help our girl go to school?

1 comment:

the C.O.G. said...

Your Daddy has no good ideas! Maybe the fading support once you find a good school will do the trick.