Monday, August 24, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: I'll have a heart attack with a side of anxiety, please.

I think that my husband thinks that my head will implode. I'm in tears as I write this. We went to K-'s orientation and her teacher wasn't there because she was ill. Argh. So, I get to hand my child off to a woman that I've never met to have my kid hang with her for 6 hours. I know, I know. I spoke with the principal and just flat out said, "Hi! I'm a parent of one of Mrs. F-'s students and she isn't here and I'm having a heart attack." He told me that it was all good. I asked how long she has taught, how long she has been there and so forth. Turns out that she is a veteran teacher, having 23 years under her belt. She has been at this particular school for 18 years of the 23. He said that she is an excellent teacher. I told him that we appreciated her hanging back to keep illness away, but I still admit having a huge, hard time.

Folks, K- hasn't slept a night away from me EVER. Other than the day and a half in the hospital that I wasn't aware of her existence, she has been ours and I have seen her every day for all of her life. The school is old. It is due to be rebuilt in a few years. The class is tiny. There are so many things in the classroom. That is a good thing. There is a reading station, 4 computers, a station for circle time that has day/weather . . . , a station for pretend play, a sink with soap and water (important for germaphobe mommy), each child has an individual cubbie to hang coats, backpacks and lunch kits in. Of course, they have sandwiched her desk, a few chalk boards and who knows what else. My heavens, it is a festival of so much stuff. That's a good thing too, right?

I'm rambling. I'm irrational. I understand. Hubs insists that I'm crazy. I didn't sleep last night, worried about her and praying all night long. Part of that anxiety was a work thing, which for the record was all for not. I'm pleased to say that I went in with a spring in my step, God firmly in my heart and mind (thanks for that sermon, Pastor) and tackled the day with gusto. It's just when it comes to K-, I become Mama Bear. Big time Mama Bear. I don't mean it harmful. I've not let her know about any of my anxiety. I needn't cause her strife over Mommy's issues.

It's not Mrs. F-.

It's not school.

It's about me letting go.

It's about hoping that we did right by K- and sending her off to learn great and wonderful things. It's about having her not having me there to bail her out.

It's sink or swim. We've given her all the parenting we have. She's a great kid, but a little high strung (oh, my where could she have gotten that from? Hmmm . . . ) She is so caring. She just wants to be someone's friend. She loves to learn, but gets so busy about what everyone else is doing that she rushes. I want her to take her time and show her teacher what she can do. I'm so worried that the teacher won't see that. I don't want to be that parent who puts their child in a class with disclaimers.

We have to do this for her. This is her next big step in life. She is excited. She is ready. It's up to me to hold it together to let her go. I can't disappoint her. So on Wednesday morning at 8 AM, we'll be walking the 8 blocks to the school. She'll be skipping along with her backpack and lunch kit. We've made the trip several times. It's becoming familiar. We know where the sidewalk pitches back and forth because of the tree roots. We're getting to memorize the lawn ornaments. We know where the crosswalk is. We've been able to watch the city workers replace the curbs and be some of the first people to walk on them. We've played on the playground equipment. We know where the swings are. We don't need to know anything more, right? :)

I promise, I'll survive.

Smiles in my day:
- No "Monday morning chat!"
- K- wanted to play baseball after we got back. Boy, that girl can crack that ball! I spent more time digging the ball out of my flower beds!
- Hubs bought me The Cure Trilogy DVD set for my birthday. I know that he isn't too keen on The Cure, but he sat and watched part of it with me last night.
- Going to orientation tonight with Hubs and K-. She was so excited as we walked back home. She was able to meet up with some of her preschool classmates and that made her day.
- I spoke to the pediatric dentist's office that we were referred to by our neighbor. I explained K-'s dental situation to the woman on the phone, who was very caring and spoke to me for quite sometime. We have an action plan in place in the event that the pulpectomy (remaining portion of the root canal) needs to take place and we aren't successful with Dr. Rick. We will be transferring K- over to the practice regardless, as considering her dental history, we think that the pediatric dental office may be a better fit for her. I will remain going to Dr. Rick. (I love him! Why wouldn't I?!) This was a weight lifted.
- I spoke to the insurance company in regard to the pediatric dentist and though they aren't providers under our insurance plan, we have "a great traditional insurance plan" (as told to me by the lady on the phone who was stunned by our coverage) that not being a provider makes no difference. We will still have 80/20 coverage. Hubs is a county employee and as such, they tend to be provided with pretty decent insurance plans. Hoorah!
- After the orientation, I came home to drown my stresses in a chunk of DQ ice cream cake. Yes Rachael, it is my favorite, too. Oh, and my grandma's cold chocolate cake with custard frosting that my mom was able to finally duplicate this year. Grandma has been gone for 13 years and it has taken my mom that long to figure out why the icing was failing. She was using 2% instead of whole milk!

Have a wonderful day!


An Aquarian Mind said...

Your amount of worrying is normal. It is a big step for both of you. I bet she is 10 times as worried as you are; she has never done this before and you have!

Take deep breaths and remember that it does get a tiny bit easier each year.

Rach said...

The worry is normal. Really. Of course, I'm looking at this through the eyes on the other side of the desk as well. :o)

First of all, I assure you Mrs. F feels DREADFUL for missing this event as she is just as anxious to meet her babies and their parents as they are to meet her. Nothing is more unsettling the first day of school than not knowing ANY of the students in your class. Really. I promise Mrs. F, for all her years of teaching, will most definitely be a bundle of nerves come Wednesday morning. That's not to say she won't do a great job, it's just to say well, we ALL get nervous and she's going into this blind.

Second, our role as parents is to create children who are independent, successful members of society. This is K's first step. I beg of you, PLEASE don't be a helicopter parent (not that I think you will be, I just have to put it out there since I deal with SO many of them on a daily basis). Remember, we learn as much from our mistakes and missteps as we do from everything around us. There is no way to "protect" K from experiencing these things--trust me, I learned this with Hannah. Instead, should something not so wonderful come to pass, you should talk with K (as her teacher will do as well--we don't call out and embarrass our babies) and ensure she finds a better way next time. Really, the best thing you can do as a parent at this point is to be supportive and LISTEN and wait.

Having said that, I've been on the other side as well, and I KNOW how awful that is. You should have seen me at my first parent/teacher conference. Talk about a wreck, lol! But then, talking to the teacher, I realized a number of things. One, she *knew* my Monkey. Two, she loved her. Three she just as desperately wanted her to be successful as I did.

I'm so sorry if this is coming across as a lecture, I'm not trying to. I promise. I just want you to know it really and truly is all going to be wonderful and you will be amazed at what a year K will have. Really! :o)

(So says the lady who is panicked because her baby will be attending a preschool without having met the teacher, LOL! Gotta love those who say "Do as I say, not as I do". ;oP)

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Well, Happy Birthday Day to YOU! I've been off the computer doing basement and school things and missed that one.
I feel your worry and totally understand. I know nothing I say will ease it (you know I'm totally freakin' along with you girl) but trust me that everything will be OK. She's a wonderful, smart little girl. She's going to shine :)

Believe me, I have worries of my own outside of the whole "my son could eat something and die" issues. He just turned 5 and is really immature in many areas. He's very smart, but sometimes his personality over shadows that fact.

Hugs to you!! I'll say a prayer for you Wed. morning. Don't forget to say one for me too.

Bailey's Leaf said...

To all of my kind friends,

Thank you for seeing me through my nervousness. I'm glad to know that my worry is typical-- even from a teacher sinking her kid into a class. I know that the strings must be clipped and that K- will fall on her face from time to time. That's why we chose public school. Kiddo needs to learn how to function in the outer world and mommy holding her hand the whole way isn't going to make her grow as a person.

No helicoptering. :) And no, I didn't take it as a lecture. I took it as advice from one parent/teacher (who's been on both sides) to another (who hasn't been.)

Thanks for helping me out!