See this cute little ballerina?
Yeah...well...she got kicked out of her class today. Yep. Kicked out. Asked to leave. No sucker, no sticker, no dignity. Why you ask? Well...as it turns out...my little peanut is a Stage 5 Clinger.
There was a spell about a year ago when Addie wanted nothing to do with me. She wanted anyone and everyone but me. I remember posting about how that made me feel. I said I was "hurt" and felt "unwanted". Oh how I wish I could take back those words and get my little Miss Independent back.
For the past 5 weeks, Addie has not wanted to go into her ballet class without me. If I stand at the door and watch her, she does great. She dances, listens, smiles, laughs and has an overall great time. Some days I can sneak out after about 15 minutes and she will stay in class the rest of the time. But other days, like today, she won't let me leave for even a second. She cries the MINUTE she doesn't see me in the doorway.
Her teacher told me the first day that if the kids start crying, we need to come into the room and calm them down so that they don't upset the other kids. I thought this was a great policy because it was better for everyone. But after 5 weeks of no progress, the teacher suggested I leave the room today and try to get Addie to "deal with it" for a minute before I walk back in. After 3 failed attempts, the teacher (in a rather frustrated tone) told me that Addie was "playing me" and that I needed to leave the room and if she cried again, I needed to take her home for the day. No sucker. No sticker. No dignity.
So that's what I did. I left the room when I could, I heard her cry almost the second I walked away, I heard the teacher yell for her to get back in line, and then I saw the doorknob turn. And out she came. The teacher said to leave and try again next week. So we left...both of us...with our tails between our legs.
I felt like a failure today. I know I wasn't doing her any favors by coming in to calm her down all those times, but what else was I suppose to do? The teacher won't let them cry in class and I don't want to drop her from the class because I feel like she will never learn to separate from me. I have decided to call the teacher this week to talk about a new strategy, but I would LOVE some advice from all of you.
Have any of you out there had to deal with a child with serious separation anxiety? How did you get them to let go? Did you pull them out and try again later? Did you keep making them go? I honestly feel like dropping the class would be a terrible idea because she will never learn to be away from me and not going to preschool next year is NOT an option. In fact, I actually just signed her up for another independent class at the park district on Fridays. She will be there 45 minutes with other kids doing crafts, reading stories, playing, etc. The class is designed for kids with separation anxiety so I PRAY this helps. But again...I am open to any suggestions or advice that any of you have on this matter.
Now...I am going to go take some Motrin before my clinger gets up from her nap :-)