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the invisible thread

Oh, the school woes around here. My poor, sweet little girl is having the toughest time with the transition to school. I am the mom on the playground after drop-off who everyone looks at sympathetically. People I don’t know come up and hug me. Everyone knows Pia’s name and over-enthusiastically greet her. Kids come up and stare at us. Some ask “what’s wrong with her?”. Her friends come up and try to take her hand, try to hug her, but nothing seems to get through her veil of tears. This morning she woke up at 6:00 and essentially just wanted to cuddle for the 2 and a half hours before school. We managed to get her dressed, coax two bites of scrambled egg into her mouth, and brush her teeth between outbursts of tears. She went into school still sobbing and choking out “I need more cuddle time!” My heart is beyond being broken into two.

We have done ‘the kissing hand’ for quite some time, but the potency of that seems to have worn off. I needed a new trick, something more tangible. I often tell Pia that our hearts are connected by an invisible thread, so that even when we are apart we are still together in our hearts. So this morning I gave us matching “invisible thread” bracelets to wear, each with a little clear stone attached. I told her that if she misses me at school or is worried or sad, she can rub the little stone and I will feel it and send her more love or take away her worries through our invisible thread. I have no idea if this will help one bit, but I’m at a loss for how to help her infinite school sadness.

I know going off to kindergarten is hard on a lot of kids and that our situation is hardly unique. But Pia has gone through such enormous transitions in her life, and handled them with such grace, it makes me feel so inadequate that I can’t seem to ease her pain this time. Any advice for easing school woes? Or is this one of those things you just need to muddle through, let the sadness be, and hope everyone comes out stronger on the other side?




7 responses »

  1. I’m so sorry it’s been hard for you guys. Does her teacher have any ideas for you? How about her 4k teacher? What if she talked to Pia and reminded her how much she adores school? They must be pros at this, right? Serious, serious, serious big-time props to you for getting her there every day and walking away – you are super strong. I’d give you a big hug if I could, despite our non-hugging-friend status.

    • I am accepting the hug via the wormhole. Thank you, it made me feel much better 🙂 I am getting a lot of support from the teachers, which is nice, and I am having lunch with her 4K teacher on Thursday which will be hugely comforting. Tonight she kept saying “take my worries away!’ and “i can’t stop thinking about school!”. Finally I told her to count to 100 in her head. It worked wonders and put her right to sleep. Amazing.

  2. Courtney – I’m so sorry. It can be a tough transition for both sides. . .& perhaps she sees it’s tough for you, too? Aree did not say she “liked” kindergarten till almost the end of the year. People would ask me, ask her, & we’d get through the question, but. . .it only took 3 months in 1st grade & she actually seems to like it now. No adoption/loss issues, just close to mom & lots of time together, & she missed that. So we would often sit down & do her favorite thing after school – a snack & read books with mom. Plus it was a nice time to have my coffee. Now I’ve been trying to “fill up” Nop after 2 weeks of 1/2 days. Tomorrow starts the full-day routine, & I’ll really miss having a child (or 2) around, after almost 8 years of this! Hang in there. Nop seems like he is having absolutely NOOOOO problem adjusting! Perhaps having a playdate over after school will help Pia start to form some relationships . . . & taking some special thing for her teacher (a flower from your garden, a cookie, etc.) Also, I attached a laminated family photo to Aree’s backpack.

    • That is a GREAT idea, Nancy. Last year Pia would so proudly carry things in to give to her teacher… so sending something for her to give is a fantastic idea, as is the laminated photo. Thank you! The adoption/loss issue is playing into this as well. Today after school she asked me “you’ll never send me to the orphanage?” So I see that we are dealing with kindergarten woes as well as much, much bigger issues.

  3. Courtney – would the teacher let you stay around in the class for 10 minutes opening time each day, or come in for lunch with her for a week or two? Or would that make it harder?


    Oh, I remember being like this, the worry and non-stop thinking about it… my heart hurts for her and you. I hope things have improved a bit.

  5. I hope it is going better now. That is really tough. I think the playdate idea is a good one if you can get together with her classmate (and his/her Mom).


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