ella_menno: (life by emmavescence)
My kids aren't back to school until Monday, but the school where I work has been back in session since this past Tuesday. It makes for some confusing conversations.

Last year, I was the assistant in the split 4th/5th grade, in addition to part-time library coordinator and part-time 'tutor,' for lack of a better word. This year, it looks like I'll be spending the majority of my day in the preschool room, where there are 14 kids. (It's supposed to be limited to 4 year olds, but the principal admitted five 3 year olds. It's amazing what a world of difference that one year makes.)

I'm finding it both enjoyable and exhausting. It's easy to forget how *needy* children are at that age - and I don't mean that as a negative, at all; they SHOULD be needy! - but it does take its toll. Add to that a whole bunch of "I've never been away from Mom before" jitters, and you end up with lots of tears and snot.

I want to tell you about one little girl in particular. She's three, and she comes to us on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. Let's call her Gigi.

Her first day (she came on Tuesday, as it was the very first day and we had some special stuff going on) went pretty well. She wasn't entirely in love with the idea of Mom leaving, but was interested enough in all the other goings-on that the time was up before she could get too upset about it.

Wednesday, however, was different. She came in crying; Mom finally left with Little Brother (and I'm sorry, I know it's part of the job, but I find it incredibly difficult to encourage a parent to stop comforting his/her child and walk away - it feels like a horribly invasive thing to do), and Gigi sat on Teacher's lap.

Well, after a few minutes, Teacher got up to attend to some of the other kids, and Gigi kind of lagged behind her, when BOOM! Out of nowhere, she made a break for it. She was just gone - out the door and down the hall, running far faster than I thought a bite-sized three year old kid could run.

Gigi made it past all the classrooms, past the main office, past the principal's office, and into the lobby of the church before I caught up with her. When I reached her, I just *grabbed* - getting hands-on with the kids is a sketchy business these days, unfortunately, but she'd easily have gone straight into the parking lot.

Once I had her, I swung her up to hold her next to me. She was really crying - not the angry, wailing type crying, but the "help me for my heart is breaking" sobbing. In her soft little-girl voice, she kept repeating "I want my Mommy. I want my Mommy." Over, and over, and over again.

And yes, my heart was breaking a little bit, too, as I carried her back to class. Yet I kept thinking: what an incredibly brave thing to do. Think about it: you're three years old, and the person who's been the center of your entire life brings you to a mostly-unfamiliar place, and then leaves.

It's so normal and expected for kids to have problems with that at first (and just as normal, though much easier, for kids to separate with no issues!) - but how often do you have a kid that young with the presence of mind to think, okay, there's the door Mommy went out of - if I can get through it and go fast enough, maybe I can catch up to her and we can go home.

Reading over this makes me want to draw comparisons to my own life: how much easier it is to just sit down and cry over things that make me unhappy, when maybe I could get up and run through a (metaphorical) door and at least try to change my situation.



ella_menno: (Default)

December 2011

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