The Talk

Today, on the last day of Isa’s fourth week of school, I got the talk: the “your daughter is hitting the other kids” talk.

It was hard.

To be fair the teacher was incredibly nice about it. She just asked that we focus at home on the idea that hands are not for hitting. Of course, we take that very seriously in our house. In fact, hitting is the one thing that earns Isa a time out, but we haven’t had to give her a time out in ages, because she hasn’t hit me in a long time.

I guess that doesn’t mean she’s not hitting at school. Nope, at school she is hitting. And I guess she’s doing it a lot.

I feel horrible. For all the kids at school that she’s hurting. For my poor daughter who’s struggling so much to make this transition. She’s only two and yet she has to spend 8-9 hours a day away from home, with a dozen other kids and three to four teachers. It’s not fair to her and I feel horrible about it.

Lately I feel like I’m really failing at this whole motherhood thing. The simple fact that I have to put my daughter in all-day care is a giant FAIL in and of itself. The fact that being in all-day care is causing her so much trauma only compounds the situation.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt like more of a failure at this whole motherhood thing as I do right now. The fact that I can’t offer my daughter what I think she deserves, well it’s a bitter pill to swallow. The fact that I can’t be with her more, twists my heart deep in my chest.

The one “good” thing about all this is that feeling like a failure makes not getting pregnant a little easier. I truly don’t feel like I deserve another child in my life at all right now. Who am I to want another baby, if I’ll just have to put it in a group care situation all day? What is the point in that?

It’s Friday, and I’m tired and I’m sure tomorrow things will look better. But right now they look pretty bad. I’m worried about my daughter but there is nothing, or very little, that I can do to make it easier for her. Really, she is on her own with this school stuff. And that is a harrowing reality for a two year old girl.

(I also wanted to thank Serenity here (as I already did in an email) for her wonderful advice on my tantrum post. Bringing a snack to school alleviated the tantrum issue so much that we didn’t have one break down the second half of the week. I really can’t thank her enough for her helpful advice. Who needs professional help when you have incredibly smart bloggy friends?! Not this girl!)

7 responses

  1. No – you have not failed your daughter because she’s in daycare. We all do what we need to do. I sometimes feel like I’ve failed Matthew because he’s NOT in daycare. He is so social and I know I bore the hell out of him at times – and he would love being with other kids all day. Taking him out of daycare was the hardest decision I’ve made so far as a mother, and I think about it every day.

    Isa is learning invaluable social skills. Every kid hits, pulls hair, bites, or shows aggression in some un-likeable way. It’s OK. She’s normal. She will get past it. But I do understand why you feel terrible. Every time Matthew pulls some kid’s hair, I’m horrified.

    I think we’re too hard on ourselves and always feel like failures. It’s not good, but I think we all do it. But we shouldn’t.

    Stop it!

  2. Oh hon, I want to give you a big hug and tell you not to beat yourself up. But I know its the sort of thing we hear and go ‘yeah, blah blah’. But it sounds like you are being really hard on yourself – yes she’s only 2, but she’s learning her place in the world and what works and doesn’t work as a separate being.

    From what I hear regularly, children act very differently out of the home to how they are in the home. I don’t know if this is just part of their learning boundaries and actions/consequences away from mum and dad, or something else entirely.

  3. You are not a failure. Isa is going through so much transition, and you can hurt for her, but don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes I feel that as a mom I’m like a contractor: I’m not providing all the services myself, but I am shaping my son’s childhood by choosing where to send him to school, what activities to take him to, etc. I chose to get him out of the bad family daycare situation. Being home alone with him all day drives me crazy, so I chose to find a Saturday morning class to take with him. That said, I often feel just like you do about having a second – who am I to want this when I can’t even handle one?

    Although our schedules are pretty crazy, it does help if occasionally one of us can pick up j early at school. Some days it works out that we can. Makes me feel better, and I think J too. I don’t know if you can do that, though.

  4. It no doubt is a very hard time for Isa, but I don’t see that her learning to deal with these things in group care as a negative. She is learning some great coping skills, even if the lesson is hard now. And lots of people send their kids to daycare for many hours at a time – that doesn’t make you a failure. (Or maybe it makes me a failure for not feeling guilty enough about doing this!)

  5. I’m going to echo the others here. This isn’t your fault, hon. It’s transition. It’s tough for kids to handle, but she’s GOING to have to learn it eventually. Better now before she starts to get stuck in her ways.

    And she’s 2. Hitting is really a way to express frustration when you don’t have the words to say it at that age. Completely age-appropriate, though tough.

    Lucky has been in full day care since he was 6 months old, and I can tell you, hands down now that he is in the pre-K room, it has been SO good for him. He understands the group dynamic, he’s engaged in the curriculum there, and most of all, he’s learned how to handle changes. If you look back to my daycare posts from 2009 and 2010, he had a rough go of it too.

    She’ll adjust. And a year from now, when you get there in the afternoons, she won’t even look up from what she’s doing. 🙂

    Hang in there, sweetie. Lots of hugs to you today.


  6. I’m so sorry. I know this is so hard. I think it’s probably just the perfect storm of Isa being 2, moving, and starting school. I hope that in the coming weeks things settle down and she gets into the groove. Big hugs.

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