Changing Pre-Schools: Not for the Weak of Heart

Oops, I did it again

The “wise” Britney Spears can sum this post up the best – “oops, I did it again.” One of my past blog posts, “Cher Said It First,” detailed how I spent too much time focusing on my oldest child during my second pregnancy and not enough time enjoying the pregnancy itself. “If I could turn back time…” Get it? Well, I made the same mistake again. Tenfold.

I have never put more pressure on myself, as a mom, than I did in choosing my kids’ school for the current school year. Our oldest started Kindergarten, and our youngest (twins) needed to switch from the school where our family has gone for 5 years to one closer to home. I toured schools and toured schools and then toured them again. I met with professionals, I interrogated teacher friends and I researched like you wouldn’t believe.

I quickly found a school that we liked for the twins…and then turned my focus on Kindergarten. Once the school was picked, I made a huge deal of her starting a new big kid school, her new teacher, her new schedule. She was excited, she was ready and she was eager. And she did awesome. She really rocked it.

What I neglected to think through was what the twins’ change would be like.

Changing Pre-Schools

The twins knew they were going to a new school and they seemed OK – not great, but OK. They took it all in stride…or so I thought. Crying and clinging the first couple of drop-offs, and crying and clinging at pick-up, quickly escalated to running out the school front door and down the sidewalk, only for us to find them back in their car seats crying into their loveys.

And it gets worse. For the first week, I picked them up earlier every day to help with the transition. But they cried when they saw me, and they kept making comments like, “You took so long to come get us,”… “we didn’t see you at lunch time,”… “why did you take so long to come back,” etc… While I was confused by the comments, and the emotion, I assumed it was all part of the transition.

Blindsided. Heart broken. Awful. That’s how we felt when we finally figured out what was happening. Their previous school was all full-time students, as were their teachers. Every day, they all showed up around the same time and they all left around the same time. At this new school, the half-day kids are combined with the full-day kids. And guess what happens at lunch time every day for the half-day kids? Their parents show up and take them home. And guess what else happen every day at mid-day? Their regular morning teachers leave and any number of different teachers step in for the afternoon. Our children thought we left them.

As a mom, can you possibly imagine a worse feeling to unknowingly impose on your children?!?! How did I not think of this? Because I was so focused on making sure we got Kindergarten right, I didn’t ask the right questions for Pre-School. I want to say, the school they are in isn’t doing anything wrong, but I should have recognized the difference and been prepared.

We’ve now talked to the twins about why some go home and some stay, and above all else, tried to insist that we would NEVER leave them. But they’re three. And there is only so much we can explain. Changes as big as these affect our entire family in any number of ways. I can’t be prepared, nor can they, for them all, but I can certainly have the foresight to access where things will remain the same, and where they will be different, for each of us.

So, I definitely did it again, only this time, the repercussions are deeper (I‘m quoting Britney Spears songs, for crying out loud). “You see my problem is this. I’m dreaming away. Wishing that heroes they truly exist.” What I wouldn’t give for that hero to be Cher, and for her to “turn back time,” so I could better prepare our family and avoid all these broken hearts.

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