There are so many days that I forget that my outgoing, adventurous, independent little girl was once a Stage 5 Clinger just like her brother. I think it's because I've tried my hardest to block out that first year of dance when Addie cried for me EVERY class. If you've read my blog for a while, you may even remember Addie going through this and how hard it was on both of us. I was scared to death for preschool and pictured her clinging to my leg screaming at the front door.
Except that didn't happen. Addie's first day of preschool was like a dream. She smiled, hopped out of the car, hugged her new teacher and never looked back. Addie has never cried a single day in dance, preschool or any other activity since then and some days, I can't even get her to come home with me! I can't even describe how wonderful it is to see her enjoying school and her other activities.
But now that Blake is at an age to start taking classes of his own...I feel like I am starting from scratch. It's really no surprise...I've always known that Blake was going to be a clinger. He's been a Mama's Boy since the day he was born and I have always been fine with that. But now that he is 3 1/2 years old and only TWO months away from starting preschool...I am getting scared.
Blake is so much more strong-willed than Addie ever was and when he doesn't want to do something...no one can convince him otherwise. Maybe that's just a boy thing. Or maybe it's just a Blake thing. Either way, this kid is a tough egg to crack.
Last week, Blake had his very first t-ball class. I thought it was the perfect introduction into a structured, solo class for him. It was outside (his favorite), it was with his sister, cousins and friends and it was only 45 minutes long. For weeks leading up to the class, Blake talked about how excited he was to take t-ball and use his new Spider-Man glove.
I was sick to my stomach the whole drive to the field but to my TOTAL surprise...Blake went right into class. He sat in circle time, he did all of his stretches and warm-up runs and even when the coaches divided them into different groups (and he wasn't with ANY of his cousins or friends), he still went willingly without a fuss.
And then the girl made him wear a helmet.
I don't know if he didn't like the way it felt on his head, if he couldn't see or if he just plain didn't want the damn thing on...but once the girl told him he had to wear it...he was done. The helmet was on the ground and he was running across the field crying for me.
I managed to get him back out to play one or two times but for the most part, Blake had emotionally checked out of t-ball. I tried so hard not to force him to play, but my frustration gets the best of me in those situations, especially when I feel like EVERY parent is looking at me.
So for the rest of the practice, I sat next to Blake on the bench and stared longingly at all the other kids, including Addie, who were out there having fun. I just wanted that for him so badly.
After that first day, everyone told me that it was a good sign that Blake participated for 15 minutes. Maybe he would do 20 this week.
He didn't play a SINGLE minute this week, even though I had Daddy stay by the field while I hid like a freak behind the concession stand watching.
I thought that maybe if I was out of sight, it would help him. But it didn't. He still had no interest in going into class, but rather than sit on the bench, Eric took him over to the other field and had him run bases and play catch. Technically, Blake played t-ball most of the 45 minutes...just not with his class.
I cried out of frustration on the way home that day and Eric thought I was a total lunatic as usual. He couldn't understand how I didn't think the day was a success. I just kept saying, "BUT HE DIDN'T GO INTO CLASS" and he said, in his annoyingly calm voice, "But he didn't cry! He didn't cry one time AND I still got him to play. Eventually, he will want to play catch and run bases with his friends and he will go into class. And if he doesn't, we try again."
Damn it, he was right. I knew he was. Blake really didn't cry one time that day and although he wouldn't go on the field, he didn't cry to leave. He wanted to watch the kids and he wanted to play with Eric. I guess that's more than I could say for Addie after her second class.
So I am holding out hope, my friends. I can't say that he will go into class this week, or for the rest of the summer, but eventually, I know my boy is going to get where his sister is and love school and sports just as much as she does. We just have to get through this hard part first.
I figure if I can downgrade one Stage 5 Clinger...I can do it again.