Monday, April 26, 2010

the "s-word"

I’ve put 3 kids through preschool and met with their occasional resistance with what I think is a normal reaction--a combination of caving-in and dragging to. Frances, my just-turned-4-year-old, has been crying on the way to school for a month now, but this morning was the worst I can remember--ever--excruciating in it’s intensity, duration, and logic.

Frances started whaling at 7am with the first mention of the “s-word”. She screamed “I don’t want to go to school! I wanna go home and be with you!” the entire 16 block stroller trip and was still at it as I pried her off of me and ran out the preschool at 9:15. We’ve all dealt with “What’s wrong with you? Take her home already!” glares on the street. Generally, I can brush them off with the inner confidence that I know what I’m doing. Today I felt I deserved the raised eyebrow, winces and scowls. I probably should have brought her home.

But I needed to get a ton of work done today. I accept that I have to treat this new job as a real job. Yet knowing I was going to be here at home all day made the choice so much worse. (Couldn’t I have kept her home and done the work?) When I was going to an office and she--or her sisters before her--cried, there wasn’t such ambivalence. I had to go to work--end of story. I was proud of my hard-core resolve. I knew she would stop crying before I was on the subway. School was good. Work was important.

It hasn’t gotten past me that Frances started resisting school soon after I started working from home. I don’t know how her 4-year-old brain picked up on it, but she understands that mommy’s not going to an office anymore. (Could it be that I’ve worn the same t-shirt for 6 days straight?) I guess I should be flattered that she wants to be home now that I am but it just makes me want to cry myself.

I feel like I’m weaning her all over again--denying her a primal urge to merge (as my shrink would say). She doesn’t understand why I don’t want her home any more than she understood the buttoning of my shirt 3 years ago. Mommy needs a life, Frances.

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