I have to tell you about my day. It was perfect, exactly the way every school day should be and I'm one proud mama!
Last night G.Q. had asked me to have lunch with him at school. I wanted to, we did it all the time in kindergarten and I want to do the same in first grade, but we've had so many issues in the mornings that I wasn't sure it was a good idea, even though I had already told G.Q. I'd love to have lunch with him. As an after thought I sent his teacher an email asking for her opinion, she thought I should put it off and use it as a reward for X number of easy morning drop-offs. I thought that was a great idea, too. Since I had committed and there was no way G.Q. would let me forget I committed, I decided to put a qualification on my yes. I told G.Q. that I would come for lunch if he had a good morning drop-off at school. He accepted the challenge and passed with flying colors. Drop-off was a breeze!
Lunch was so much fun! G.Q. had the biggest smile on his face when he saw me waiting at the lunch room door. I got the best hug and kiss! I sat with his class and G.Q. shared his lunch with me. About 1/2 way through lunch teachers and the principal take turns asking kids grade appropriate questions. They travel around the room with a mic and the kids are all eager to answer the question and earn their special pencil. "what is the color of a slice of pineapple?" Mr. Chavez asks. About every first grade hand flies up into the air wanting to answer that question. After hearing "green?" and "clear?," the third kiddo got it correct "YELLOW!" Time for the next question, the room gets very quiet. Mr. Chavez asks "How do you spell the opposite of boy?" Great question! First they have to find the opposite and then spell it. Figuring out opposites is pretty simple for first graders, but spelling...different story. 'Girl' is a kindergarten sight word, but in kindergarten the spelling isn't pushed. Kids learn to read the word and when writing, they are told to sound out and write phonetically, as much as they can. Again, almost every first grade hand went up very eagerly into the air. The answers didn't come so easily this time. "G-R-L-L" no. "G-R-R-L" no. "G-R-R-L-L" no. It was sweet seeing the kids think really hard and listen to the previous response, trying to figure out what to add or omit from that last answer. While all this is happening G.Q. is asking me how to spell 'girl.' I wouldn't tell him but I sounded the word out so he could hear each letter. His eyes lit up and his hand darted straight up in the air and he confidently said "G-I-R-L" when the mic came to him. The lunch room roared with excitement as Mr. Chavez gave him the thumbs up and handed him a pencil. I think Mr. Chavez was happy that after about 25 guesses they finally had a winner and he could move on and quiz the third graders. I was so proud of G.Q! I wasn't proud because he had the correct answer (yes, I was proud of that, but not the main reason) but because he had the confidence to speak into that mic and give it a shot with his answer. I wasn't sure how things were going at school with him, up to this point, what I've seen has been him being sad as I push him in class and go the opposite direction. He was having fun, enjoying school, making friends and he was proud of himself. After lunch, I walked out of the lunch room with G.Q.'s class and headed to the office. Got my hug and kiss and "I love you" signed from Gavin. It was sweet and again, it was easy. He was ready to go to class and knew that in a few hours, I'd see him at pick-up.
At school pick-up seeing G.Q. come out of his class laughing and happy was beautiful! He and another little boy in his class seemed to have really clicked. They play at recess together, eat lunch together and walk out of the class together. I think that connection is something that G.Q. has needed. And then I got to hear something really amazing, his teacher came over and said "I just want to let you know how proud I am of G.Q. and how proud he was of himself today. He did such a good job and you could just see it in him all day long." Progress...we're moving forward! *happy dance!*
I know this day hasn't solved all of our separation anxiety issues, but it's a step in the right direction. G.Q. saw for himself that he could do it, he could go to school, even if he was sad and going to miss us, he could go and have a great day. And I think using lunch with mom as a reward for good morning drop-offs might be a great tool. Today's reward only took one good morning drop-off, next we up the stakes a little, three good mornings before mom comes for lunch. Then we'll go to five days. Lunch once a week with my baby will be a treat for both of us...fingers crossed that this incentive is what helps get G.Q. past his morning worries. I promise to keep you posted...