All Akimbo: Baby’s got the preschool blues

By Kim Blakely, Mojo’s mama

I usually love this time of year. All the pencils, pens, crisp sheets of notebook paper, staplers and paper clips, the desk organizers and book bags … aaaah, school supplies.

But Mojo? Eh. He’s not all that interested in such things, and his lack of enthusiasm is putting a damper on my back-to-school spirit.

Actually, it’s not just the fact that he has zero desire for a new three-ring binder that’s getting us down. It’s the fact that this year, unlike in years past when stores gave those kinds of things prominent placement, Mojo’s world – and thus, my world – is about to change.

He starts preschool right after Labor Day.

It’s only two mornings a week, just three hours a pop, but it will mark the first time I’ve left him with people he doesn’t know almost as well as he knows us – his grandparents, his aunt, his godmother, his … well, that’s really about it.

Neither of us is doing well with this adjustment, and I don’t know which of us is having a harder time. I’ve tried not to let my reticence show – honestly, I have. And I think if he seemed more OK with it, I would be, too, no matter how sad I am that the time when it was just him and me Monday through Friday from 8 to 5 is coming to an end. This is just the beginning of our separation, I realize, and that makes it all the more difficult.

On Sunday, we visited the church where Mojo will go to preschool, and when the service was over, I encouraged him to show his dad where his classroom will be.

He was excited as he led us down the hall but then suddenly his eyes got red and watery and he stopped talking. It wasn’t until we got in the car and he was strapped into his seat that he strangled out, “I don’t want to go to preschool.”

My heart broke a little more.

I reassured him that I knew he was scared about going but that I also knew he was going to have an amazing time, but he just shook his head.

For me, knowledge is power. If I know what’s going to go down and how, I feel better prepared to deal with it. So I’ve taken that approach with Mojo, telling him a little at a time about what’s going to happen at preschool, and explaining that while all the things he’s going to be doing – many of the things we’ve done together for years, him and me – would be fun for me, too, I’m a grownup and preschool is for kids like him. I’ll have to wait for him to finish, I’ve explained, and then I’ll pick him up and we’ll go home together.

I must be going about this all wrong, though, because the more we talk about it, the less it seems to help.

I’ve got to be quiet about it all, I guess, and just let what happens happen. I know he will have fun … eventually.

Maybe after I go drop off Mojo on that first day, I’ll head out for some therapeutic office supplies shopping. Rest assured, though, that I won’t need a Post-It to remind me when it’s time to pick up my little guy. I definitely won’t be tardy for the end of the first day of preschool.