Monday was Arthur’s first of many days going to school. I’m sure he has many years of education ahead of him, including many first days. However, this was the first time Paula and I have dropped him off at any sort of preschool or daycare and left him.
As the day started, my alarm went off and I knew it was time to get up and get going. The awkward thing about Monday was that Paula’s alarm also went off and she also made her way out of bed. Because she works in the evenings, she and Arthur normally sleep in longer than I would. Today, they needed to get up to be at preschool by 9:00 AM. While it’s not terribly early, Arthur had no interest in getting out of bed.
As I finished dressing myself, I rolled him over, changed his diaper and started to get him dressed for the day. The entire time this was happening, Arthur pushed me away as he tried to lay back down and sleep. Finally, when I finished dressing him, I picked him up to bring him downstairs for breakfast.
It was at this point that he finally realized that he wasn’t going back to sleep, so he let us know that he was not happy. He cried and screamed as we sat around the table and ate. I tried, ineffectually, to feed him, but he wanted nothing to do with the eggs and sausage we made for him. And this continued.
Finally as we were ready to leave, he seemed to be excited that we were getting in the car. Normally this means a trip to the park or the store, so he quieted down a bit. He even started to seem happy as we arrived at the school. I got him out of the car, and he was excited to walk to this new place while holding my hand. In fact, he was excited until the moment we got inside and said good-bye. He then broke down and cried, and all I could do was leave him with his teacher in the hopes he would calm down and have fun.
After dropping Arthur off, I had to go and teach Calculus. My calculus classes actually had an exam that day, so I was left to wonder how Arthur was doing while silently watching over my students. Normally, I would find any excuse to avoid grading, but this day, I found myself diving into it as soon as the class was finished. It was at least something to keep my mind off of leaving Arthur at school. The next day, when I had grades posted for one of my classes, they seemed astonished at how quickly I had finished grading. I, too, was quite amazed!
While I was at school, Arthur had finished his time in preschool. The first day was only an hour and a half, so Paula picked him up when he was done. She told me, that the teacher told her (I know this has now passed through a few levels of storytelling, but I still wanted to share) that Arthur had indeed calmed down fairly quickly after we had left. After calming down he spent most of the time playing with trucks and other toys until it was time to leave. After heading home, Paula played with him a bit longer before he fell asleep on the floor exhausted. When I got home, he was still taking his nap.
After I got home, he slept a little bit longer, but he finally woke up and he seemed happy to see me. We had a snack together, then Paula went off to work herself. Now that we were alone, Arthur got really fussy. He wanted to play, but he also wanted me to hold him. As I picked him up, he tried to jump out of my arms to get to something. Then, when I let him down, he ran back to me and held on to me until I picked him up. This continued through most of the evening. Even as I tried to lay him in bed, he was still just upset. Finally, when Paula got home from work, he calmed down again and went to sleep.
I am happy that he is out and spending time with other children, working with other adults and spending a little time away from me and Paula. However, seeing him upset like that all evening definitely made me feel guilty for leaving him. This is a time where my mind is saying one thing, but my emotions just won’t yield to the logical argument that I have presented to them. Yes, even as a mathematician, my emotions often defy logic. I had a hard time sleeping that night.
The Next Day
Yesterday, I did again have to go to work, but I have an extremely short day on Tuesdays. In fact, I have only one Calculus class in the morning. The students were actually working through the Pizza and Marginal Profit lab, so it was a fun class that went very quickly.
When I got home, I was still feeling the guilt of having dropped off Arthur the day before. As such, I took him out the park and we played for a long time. We probably would have stayed longer if he hadn’t tried to go swimming after a turtle he saw, but he seemed very happy while out at the park. Upon leaving the park, I stopped and got pizza on the way home as another attempt to ease my guilt.
If you’d like to see how the day at the park went, I did make a video from our time their. I have actually been spending most the day on Tuesday with Arthur at the park since I have such a short day. As such, I will continue to make these videos, mostly weekly, showing what we are doing together. I hope you’ll join us and subscribe to the YouTube channel.
Today, Arthur is again at preschool. The drop off went about the same as it did last time, he was upset at being woken up, happy to be in the car, then mad when we had to leave. I’m not sure what tonight will look like, but I hope that he gets used to the changes and begins to have fun while he is at preschool. Changes can be hard, but since he will have a new brother within the next couple months, he will definitely have a lot of changes to deal with.
Thanks for reading. While this isn’t really math related, I wanted to share the experience I had this week. If you have any advice for dealing with changes for children, I’d be happy to hear it. Otherwise, if you’d like to hear more about my experiences, make sure to follow us here or on Social Media.