So, I’m an idiot. Yeah, like, complete and total. Get this.
For the past week or so Hubby and I have been desperately trying to figure out what is up with Sam. Remember, he started school this year and all was going well. (Thank you so much to Mom Central for the B.O.M.B. Award for that post, by the way, and Classy Mommy in particular!) He loved school the first few weeks. I never had a problem dropping him off. He was always happy when I picked him up.
At some point that changed, and all of a sudden I was the mom with the child who was writhing around on the floor screaming and sobbing that he didn’t want to stay at school, could I please, please take him home with me? The first few times I thought it had to do with his getting over a cold; maybe he just wasn’t completely recovered yet and still cranky. But this week he was healthy and we had our worst day yet. I dropped him off and then had to wait in line at the entrance to get his pictures while listening to him scream for half-an-hour. It was completely and totally awful. Today I just didn’t even tell him it was a school day and we skipped. He has a field trip that I’ll be chaperoning tomorrow and I thought it would be a good chance to see what might be going on.
Because of course we assumed immediately that something had happened at school. I tried to talk to him about it in various subtle and not-so-subtle ways - Do you like school? Is your teacher nice? Who are your friends? Are you all friends in your class? Is anyone mean to you? What are your favorite toys? Etc.
Nothing. He likes school but not when he misses mommy. He likes his teacher. He likes his friends. Circle time is his favorite part. He likes the playground and doing the craft each day. He likes school sometimes but not when he’s sad that I’m not there with him.
We realized over the weekend that it wasn’t just school. Hubby and I went out to see a movie and the same deal happened when I tried to leave. A few days later Hubby tried to take the boys out while I stayed home; same thing. It was clear that it wasn’t school specifically, it was anything that separated him from me. Whenever I talked about going anywhere he’s say, with tears in his eyes, “Are you going away?” I still had no idea why. I spoke to friends about it. I spoke to his teacher. We always went through the same list of possibilities - had something happened at school? No, at least not that we could tell.
So today, while we ditched, we were out for a walk and I was on the phone with my mom explaining the situation. Same deal - what happened at school? Nothing. What could it be? Don’t know. We went through the possibilities. But then she says, “Well, maybe it has something to do with you going to Blogher.”
I stopped in my tracks. ” . . . uh . . . Blogher? You think?” But I already knew.
On the day of Blogher DC I left before the boys were even awake. I returned shortly before a late bedtime. It was easily the longest I have been away from either of them, about 14 hours. I almost didn’t go - remember? And a lot of that was because I was worried about them, mostly Robby though. I was preoccupied with breastfeeding and pumps and such. As well I should have been because that woman flying up 95 that evening single-handedly expressing milk from her rock boob into a Dunkin’ Doughnuts paper napkin? Yeah, that be me.
I knew Sam had had a rough day. I’d talked to him on the phone several times, but it still had never occurred to me . . .
I went home after speaking with my mom and checked the calendar. I knew the last day that he was fine going to school. I knew roughly when the trouble began because I remembered when he had the cold. Want to know what happened between the Friday that he was fine and the first Thursday that he freaked out?
It all made sense. All of his troubled behavior. His fear of being away from me. That day was the first time we’d ever been apart for so long, and before that he didn’t really know that mommy could be gone for an extended period of time. He woke up and I wasn’t there.
I know. Idiot. Nincompoop. Totally.
It’s easy to forget how young he still is (not quite three and half). He’s the older brother, and he’s learned so much and come so far. And he typically expresses himself so well. I feel like I usually understand what’s going on with him. I forget sometimes that he’s my baby too. And then I missed this huge thing that has seemingly scarred him.
And I don’t really know what to say to make him understand that mommy’s not going anywhere, not again, not for a long time.