perhaps not...

I wanted so badly for it to work out.  She seemed so sure of herself and so ready those first couple days.  Alas, it has gone downhill from there and tonight, after a long discussion (oh, we need to have ever so many more of those!) Mike and I decided to call it quits on school for Claire for the time being and hold off for a bit.

School for her wasn't on my radar at all when the head of school from our local Montessori school, where I worked for 5 years before Claire came along, called up to see about a work-trade possibility for this fall.  I thought.  I visited.  We chatted.  It seemed promising.  Just a couple mornings a week.  She'll LOVE it, I was sure.  She's so independent and so interested in exploring, and it will appeal to her sense of order and certainly she could use some time with her peers..... and, and, and........


After 2 good days and then an easy drop off again on the third, that third day ended roughly 1 hour into the morning.  Claire, inconsolable after 3 different kind souls tried to offer her a loving shoulder and comfort, wasn't having it.  Nope.  It was "mamaaaaa!" and only me.  We tried again the following week (last week) and had one very trying day and then a day that went great aside from one itsy bitsy little detail.  That I was in the room with her all day, and if I went out of sight, she melted.  As long as I was in there, she was happy to go about her own business and let me do my thing.  That has to count for something, right?  Surely it does, but that's not really the long term plan.  The trade doesn't involve me being in her room.  Today, (even though the plan was to try to go in again like I did last time, perhaps helping 'ease' her in, since the drop-off-and-leave route doesn't fly with her and she will howl until I come and not accept comfort from others) I tried to leave her after seeing she was doing well, but I made the mistake of not telling her and ended up back in the room again and even with me there, it was teary at times.  Not so pretty.

I have gone back and forth over this for the last 2 weeks.  I've been sure of this and then sure of that and then minutes later back to the drawing board.  I feel like such an amateur.

Really though, I suppose I am.

Here's the thing. (really, there are about twenty "things")  She was going two days a week.  Two days we'd work at, and then any progress made was largely dissolved over the following 5 days where we got back into our regular at-home routine.  Because what else were we going to do?  We kinda dig our home routine, you know?  And that's what it's all about.  I wanted it to work for her because I thought it could fill a gap in her world.  I saw her working confidently and at ease while I was in there the one day "we" made it through, and I wanted that for her.  I wanted her to spend time exploring in a space where she could relate to others her age or thereabouts, to play and become part of this wonderful little community.

But 2 days a week just doesn't give enough consistency for us to power through the challenging days and help her hold onto her baby steps from day to day.  And (and this is a big one).... she is just two and a half, and so I'm not even sure that it's developmentally appropriate for her, at this point, to be ready for school.  It certainly doesn't appear to be individually appropriate, anyway.  And so I shall follow my child back to the place where school wasn't on my radar, and we will go back to our home time that we are truly so very lucky to have, and we shall try again later.

I won't say I'm not disappointed.  I am disappointed.  Not in her, of course.  And not that she isn't ready for school at 2 1/2.  And not really in myself for not having prepared her in other ways, because I stand wholeheartedly by our attachment parenting choices and I feel that her attachment to me is healthy and appropriate and I am in no rush to break that and rush my fledgling towards independence.  That will come sooner than I'm ready for it anyway, I know.  So just in general then, I suppose.  Because I had in my mind what I hoped and thought it might be like, and because it did not turn out that way.

A lesson for me, then (geez, another?).  Maybe a big one, (or many) should I choose to dig into it.

If things were different, if the circumstances were that we needed her to be in school right now and I wasn't just doing a trade in order to give her this opportunity (and therefore, by necessity, just drove off and didn't have the option of coming into the class or hearing her screaming...) then maybe she'd have a few weeks of really hard days, get through it and learn a bit about how she can in fact power through the harder moments and gain a little independence from me.  And then she'd be alright.  Proud of herself.  Acclimated.

Maybe that's how it'd go down.  But who knows.  She is a persistent and very willful little girl.  She is smart.  She knows what she does and doesn't want.

Undoubtedly there is a huge societal pressure to have our children be ready to do this or that at increasingly early ages.  And I admit that (even as a parent who hadn't previously considered any sort of early schooling aside from what we do at home for her) I was happy and so proud of her when she rocked those first days.  Maybe it even made me feel like surely I'd 'done something right' as a parent.  See how confident and autonomous she can be at such a young age! (and such)  And so now I find a small part of my mind asking if I am doing her a disservice by not allowing her to go through the rough patch of teary school transition.  Guilty for denying her the opportunity to prove to herself and us that she can work through her fears and her tears and come out shining.  That I'm keeping her little wings from spreading a bit.

But then my heart shouts "Hold up!  she is two.  TWO!  there is plenty of time for all of that, embrace the time you have together now and stop stressing over this ridiculousness!"
And thank goodness for the wise heart.

But given the length of this post, clearly I feel the need to defend my decision.  But to who?  To the pretend people that I fear are out there judging me for delaying my young child's ability to cope without me and become independent?

Well, pretend people out there, I say to you....... I say...
I say Wait, why am I even wasting energy addressing you?
There is life to be lived and enjoyed and we may all do well to throw aside our worries
over the pretend voices of some pretend negative people.

And maybe we could do a little looking and searching and asking within, since
that's often where those voices are coming from anyway.

I am happily choosing to follow my heart in this one, not my fears.


  1. Oh, Amanda,This too shall pass!!!. I get it and it's RIGHT to do what's in your soul. Claire will be going to school for a very long time, and she'll be fine. So hang in there, Amanda. Be happy. And continue doing what you are doing with Claire. Love you, ca

    1. ah, thanks Carol! Truly, I am ecstatic to be able to be home with her and I so look forward to our time together..... I've just been wanting to add a little variety to the mix and thought this was going to be a good fit. It is honestly more about me letting go of how I thought something would be than it is that I have any concern whatsoever about her 'not being ready' for school at an age where there is no need for her to be. This is all something that would have ended up in a journal, if I were still keeping one..... I don't typically write those things out here but chose to this time. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  2. Estela had a very hard time transitioning to school and she was 3 at the time. Now at almost 4, she still gets weepy at drop-off everyday. We have her in 3 days and just for her benefit, not because we need the childcare. The difference, I think, between our situations, is that Estela has a hard time saying bye and then once I am out of sight, she has a ball and I pick up a truly happy tired little girl who had a great day at school. I'd be feeling very differently about it if she struggled the whole time.

    Ada is 2 and we've debated about putting her in with her sister, but have decided, we think 2 is too young and the best place for our baby is home with one of us our grandma. But we're lucky to have the choice.

    I have no idea if we've made the right decision about either of them, but I think they are both happy and we followed our gts. That's all a mom can ever really go by!

    1. hi Danielle!

      yes, I think our guts are pretty wise~ and once Claire is to that place of just being briefly teary and then cheering up and enjoying the time there, I'll look forward to bringing her back for a couple or few mornings a week.

      and yes, we are truly lucky to have the choice to be able to keep these little ones home with us, so we may as well hold on to that while we can!

      hope you are doing well! how's the cow??

  3. I am so proud of you for being such an amazing mama! I wish I had my priorities straight when mine were that young. I did get there eventually, but it took sweet forever. You are right~there will always be time for school later. And who says she even has to go away to school? You might even eventually home school her. Whichever way you go in that area, she will be prepared because you're doing such an amazing job!

    Now that I'm older (perhaps that was my problem, was that I was so young when all mine were little), I see the importance in treasuring the time we have now. Someday, you will miss this time when she's young.

    Kiss Claire from us! Love you much!


    1. Aw, thanks Jen! Homeschooling has always been an option for us..... there is a pretty big homeschooling network around here and I like the freedom (especially of schedules and travel, etc) that it would give us. We'll see!~ I hope your own homeschooling adventures have been going well so far!

      I keep reminding myself of that (the missing the time when she's young bit) when she wants me to carry her everywhere and I don't feel like it. Eventually, I won't be able to. Or at least won't be able to without it being a pretty ridiculous sight.

      love you too!

  4. Hi Amanda,
    Good for you for initiating such a difficult new transition especially at such a young age. You should also tell Claire how proud you are that she tried. Maybe if she sees how happy it made you, it will make her want to continue. I've discovered that children watch you and your reaction/mood has a huge influence on them. They feed off of the vibes you emanate. If she sees you're happy, cool, clam and collective, she won't have the feeling of awkwardness or angst, maybe...again, she's 2.5. I thought of something that might help, maybe invite over one of her classmates and allow them to get to know eachother. Then at school she might find comfort when she sees someone she's already familiar/comfortable with. Nonetheless, kids are unpredictable from day to day. So take this incident with a grain of salt. There will be days when she asks you, mama do I get to go to school again (with a big smile upon her face) and there will be days she won't want to get out of bed. Hmm sounds familiar, weren't there days like that in college?

    1. Thanks for your encouraging words~ she had a few good days there, dropped off confidently with smiles all around. but once it started wearing on her and throwing off the rest of our week together (and for just 2 days at school) I decided that the big transition is, at this point, entirely unnecessary. I was proud of her for giving it a go, and yes, seeing her there when she was happy did indeed make me quite happy, but truly, at this point, if it doesn't work I don't feel the need to push it. we are back to enjoying our easy home days again, and I'm newly motivated to find some fun things to get out and do with her, but as for school, we shall try again later~

      I do recall a love/hate relationship with the early mornings of my college years, yes indeed~


thanks for taking the time to read and comment~