Tuesday, October 22, 2013

And the solution to our impossible situation...

It's been a long month. From my last post, you all know that Alex was having trouble at her Montessori school.  (Quick recap: Alex's new French Immersion school is only half-day Kindergarten, unlike the full-day Kindergarten she went to last year. So to fill the gap, we registered her at a nearby Montessori school for the second half of the day.) Here's what's happened since.

The mornings before school continued to get worse, not better. Most mornings, she'd start crying and whimpering when she work up around 6:30 and would continue to do so until it turned into all out wailing at 8:30 when we got to school. That's until it turned into me having to drag her, screaming, through the school yard into school. Yes, I was that mom with that kid.

And again, we knew the only reason all this was happening was because she had to go to Montessori school. Not because she had to go to the new French Immersion school -- she likes it there  Why do we know? Because she didn't cry on Fridays -- the one day of the week that she didn't go to Montessori.

During a particular bad morning just before Thanksgiving weekend, I lay all the cards on the table; if she went to both schools for the rest of the week, she could come home after school the next week.

So last week was project boredom. Every day, she came home on the lunch bus after half-day Kindergarten to sit around the house with me while I worked. The goal was to show her that being with mommy isn't that much fun because mommy is sitting in front of her laptop all day long.

Project boredom failed miserably. Despite interacting with her as little as possible, she was happy. Every morning she ate her breakfast (something she had stopped doing weeks ago) and went to school without a single tear. Some mornings she even forgot to hug and kiss me goodbye. And every day she came home, had lunch with me and then found something to do.

Flash forward to yesterday (Monday) morning when it was time to go back to Montessori. On the weekend she said she was going to go back and although Ryan thought that her decision to do so was a good sign, I was more skeptical. I had this feeling that she was telling us what we wanted to hear, not what she really wanted to do.

And so, Monday morning came around and the bawling started, along with the chant 'I never, ever want to go back.'

And so, she's not. What it came down to is that we realized that we had to stop deluding ourselves into thinking that she needed more time to adjust (it's been 2 months after all!) and accept the fact that she's actually trying to tell us something. She's trying to tell us that although there's absolutely nothing wrong with the school, it's just not the right fit for her.

So, what does this all mean? For me, it means that for the next 8 months I have to be selective with the work I take on. Unlike 2 years ago when the kids were both in half-day school, I now work basically full-time. I have several retainer clients with a fixed number of hours of work per month. They'll be my priority and I'll have to be choosy about any contracts I take on above and beyond that. (Although there's certain people I'll still take contracts from.)

It means that for 8 months, I'll have to go back to working many evenings. It means that for 8 months, arranging meetings with clients will require creativity. It means that for 8 months, we'll put together a hodge podge of care -- a sitter's going to come in one afternoon a week, etc. It means that for 8 months, my friends and family will be relied on from time to time and I'll be less available for a coffee break or a lunch date. It means that for 8 months I'm going to be juggling a lot of balls.

But, most importantly, it means that for 8 months, our child will be happy again.

It means that for 8 months, I get to spend a little extra time with my baby.

And isn't that why, 5 years ago, I decided to stay home with the kids and start my own business? So that I could be there for my kids as they grow up? I have 20 + years left to work -- and if I'm lucky those 20+ years will be in running my own business. So what's 8 months in the grand scheme of things?


Anonymous said...

totally agree that this is the best solution. The time spent with Alexandra is rime that will and can never be repeated... so have fun with her..a lifetime of work awaits starting next september

ME said...

Don't you wish that children came with an instruction manual ?
Deb - this is the best solution for Alex and you. Don't despair over it. You and Ryan are awesome parents.