Baby steps towards independence

I SAT in on my son’s new child-care class last week, taking in the activities, the routine, the hugs, the time-outs, the chaos and the surprising order… the eternal patience of women who do this Every Day.

I did two weeks work experience in a day-care centre when I was in high school. But I quickly ruled out a career in child care because it is exhausting – and I wasn’t even 18. Imagine being in your 30s or 40s and trying to wrangle a mob of 20-odd children to sit quietly and eat. Or wrangle them to do anything, for that matter.

Madness.

But I was there to ingratiate my son into a new life that is independent of mum (sob). He got upset when I left the room to have a quiet coffee, but I was pleased to see (sneaking peeks from the kitchen) Miss Sue settle him quickly and a throng of concerned children gather close. Nwwwah.

He seems quite happy with the centre we’ve chosen (I’m pretty sure their water playground plays a big part in that). Immediately taking possession of the scooter and using their toilet. But every so often his shaggy-haired head would pop up and he’d search frantically for me, before bending back down to play.

And this Friday, when he does that… I won’t be there.

I hope he’ll be okay. I hope he doesn’t get into a tug-of-war with some child over a toy. And, if he does, I hope someone intervenes before he starts hitting. And if he is caught hitting, I hope they’re not too stern with him (initially). Don’t get me wrong, he deserves the same treatment as everyone else, but I know he takes the criticism of strangers to heart and I know he can fixate on perceived hurt for an incredible length of time. Let him develop a healthy perception of this new arrangement first.

Most of all, I hope he realises all the fun and stimulation he’ll get from being there, rather than sitting at home while I work. In the two hours I was there, there were collages, clay modelling, playdough, paper cutting, dancing, stories, and an assortment of toys, blocks and dress-ups that he simply doesn’t have at home.

And I hope that, when I cry… hmm, that when I cry, it’s not debilitating. I hope I can still see the road as I drive home.

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