I'm too sad to go to school.

My child is desperate not to be left at preschool. Over the summer, he was excited about the prospect of going to school in the fall. We talked about how he would make new friends and learn more about the alphabet and counting, and he was pretty positive about all of that. Once we visited the classroom, he couldn't wait for school to start. Now that the time has come (this is his second week of school), he does not want to go. Well, he DOES want to go, he just wants me to come with him. And stay with him. And if I'm not there, he doesn't want any part of it. I have heard all of the excuses listed below, in addition, I'm sure, to some I'm forgetting:

But what if I have a fever?
I'm too sad to go to school.
How will I ever find you when you come to pick me up?
Does my teacher even know your phone number?
I have a headache.
I can't do it.
I don't like school.
We don't learn anything there.
It's not even a REAL school, like big kids go to. It's not even kindergarten!
I'll just stay home by myself.
I'll just come to work with you.--You can leave me in your office while you teach.
What is my dad doing today?
Can't we just ask someone we like to babysit me?
Three times a week, I carry him into the building and down the hall to his classroom. He refuses to walk into the building. He refuses to stand up. Three times a week, his teacher, Miss____ gets the job of physically peeling him off of my body as he cries hot tears and snot onto my shoulder. This morning he snagged his foot in my knee-length skirt and accidentally flipped it up over my hips, giving the entire 4 yr-old room a nice long peek at the tie-dyed men's underwear I was wearing. (Don't judge! Men's underwear are comfortable, and tie-dying them makes them pretty, too.)

I know that Eliot enjoys at least some part of preschool. When I come to pick him up in the afternoons, he is invariably sitting alone, waiting for me with red-rimmed, watery eyes, BUT there is also proof that he has not cried all day long. After he shakes off the sorrow and injustice of parental abandonment, he smiles and holds my hand and calmly walks out to our car telling me stories about his day. He proudly tells me he was the calendar person, or the lunch person, or the line leader. He made a ladybug with googly eyes (!), or he drew his name in glitter, or he beat the first level of an "I Spy" computer game. He had a corn dog for lunch, and he dipped it in ketchup.

He told me on his second day that he had made friends, "a girl friend, and a boy friend," and that they had tried to make him feel better. Unfortunately, "their ideas didn't work," he reported, shaking his head. So it isn't as if the other kids aren't nice to him, or that he doesn't like his teacher, or even that he doesn't enjoy the classroom. He has no trouble with lunch. He reports that he uses the bathroom on his own just fine, and Miss _____ helps him with zips and snaps if he needs help. The problem seems to be that he is just absolutely determined not to like preschool. Just because. Probably, it is due to the fact that, like all children, his purpose in life is to break his mother's heart into tiny pieces. Repeatedly.

I hope it gets better.

I'm sure it will get better.

It has to get better.

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