Several weeks ago, when I dropped Butter off for his first day in a new class at school, he clung to me for a few minutes before giving me a happy “Bye!” and running off to play with his friends.
Last week when I dropped him off, he took off for the slide without a glance in my direction. I didn’t even get a hug last week.
Yesterday, as he ate picked at his breakfast, I told him “Bye bye!” and started for the door. Never, in nearly two years of life, has that little boy’s face screwed up in a pout as quickly as it did yesterday morning.
I’ll let you in on a secret – I’m a sucker for his pouty face. He had big, fat crocodile tears in his eyes, too. Admittedly, I’m a wimp for those tears. So I stopped and went back to give him a hug. He proceeded to grab my arm when I attempted to stand back up and hold it around his body while he tried to eat his eggs around it.
I eventually extracted myself from his grasp and made it to work on time.
This morning he was all set for “School!” and telling me how he was going to play with his friends on the drive down. He chowed happily on his Cheerios and told me all about how his water was “coooolllldddddd.” He willingly climbed out of his car seat when we arrived at school. He held on to my hand and chattered in his nonsense language while we walked down the hall to his classroom.
He froze when I opened the door.
He turned and buried his face in my leg. His teacher, bless her, finally got him in the classroom, but he ran immediately for me when I went to put his stuff in his cubby. I offered to sit with him while he ate his peaches. Nope, he didn’t want that. All he wanted was to hug me and cling to me and make sure I was never going to leave him, ever.
His teacher took him from me after a few moments and held on to him while I said goodbye. His little face was all pouty and full of crocodile tears when I turned to leave. I’m proud to say I made it out of the classroom, talked with the director, picked up his Ident-A-Kid cards, and made it all the way back to “Mommy! Van!” before I broke down.
I haven’t cried at a drop off since the first day, when I took him to the classroom and he ran off to play without so much as a look back at me.
I knew we’d have to deal with separation anxiety eventually. I just never thought he’d make to nearly two years without it, then decide that he only wanted me around all the time. And I never, ever imagined how hard it would be to leave him when he started to cry at school.