Okay, here goes…
I dread picking up my children from daycare.
In fact, I find ways to prolong it.
Sick, right? I’m supposed to want to pick them up. I’m supposed to miss them so much from a hard day’s work of teaching that I’m bolting out the door at 2:20 pm. I see a lot of my fellow teacher moms doing it. Meanwhile, if I don’t have any meetings to attend and I’m not expecting any students to stop by, I find myself locking my classroom door, turning off the lights, and basking in the sweet silence that is suddenly my classroom.
Barring no prior obligation, 2:20-4:00 is the ONLY part of my day I get completely to myself. It is sacred, and I never want to give it up. It is a time to get tasks done in a brisk, orderly fashion because my children, and the 165 other “children” I have, cannot inundate me with questions, concerns, and demands. It is pure serenity, even if I’m grading papers, and that’s saying something.
Sadly, my need for quiet time is not the only reason I dread picking up my children from daycare. Oh, if only it were that simple.
I dread the encounters with the teachers and the inevitably disheartening news I will hear.
I imagine a mom who walks into the classroom, glowing with pride as the teacher recounts with great zest how little Billy (why is it always Billy?) was the perfect angel yet again, sitting quietly during circle time, using the bathroom with no complaints, wiping his table space when lunch time was over. The perfect angel who shares his toys and makes all the teachers wish he were their child. Oh, he’s such a little darling.
This is what I get: Big C had a really rough day. He pulled a girl across the room by her hair. He knocked over a little boy’s block tower. He threw sand in another kid’s face. He pushed a kid and took his ball. He spent some time in the director’s office again (Dear God, it starts already?). He refused to take a nap and threw a tantrum. He scratched his arms up during a meltdown. He choked a girl when she took the toy he was playing with. He threw a chair and hit another child in the face.
The best report I get is, “He had a great day….for him.”
My response to all of this? Usually, with an embarrassed look on my face, it’s, “I’m sorry.” Sometimes, I ask, “Is there anything I can do?” They struggle with this and say ridiculous things like, “Well, just discourage this behavior at home,” implying I am encouraging it? Gah!
I’ve learned to treat my pick-ups like a war zone. I keep my head low and scan the room, looking for potential teacher land mines. I spot Big C over by the puzzles. I rush over, give him a quick hug, then it’s Move! Move! Move! We reach the doorway….I think we’re going to make it…and then I hear over the squall of children, “Mrs. Catharsis! Mrs. Catharsis! Can I speak with you for a moment?”
Then there are those days when I finally – finally! – get a pretty decent report on Big C’s day, and then I walk over to Little C’s toddler room only to discover he’s bitten another child.
I actually get excited when Little C gets a note home stating that another child bit him.
There’s something a little sick and twisted about that. I know.
So that’s my guilty secret. I love my boys dearly, but a mother can only take so much negative news before she feels utterly deflated.
Sometimes, a mother just needs to sit at her desk in the the dark and dream.
This post can also be found on the blog, Sammiches and Psych Meds.