Kicking and Screaming, Nursery School here we come

I remember when I was a young adult going with a friend of mine to drop her  three year old son off at nursery school.  I did not have any children at the time and revered this relationship with my friend- I thought of her as a big sister and a role model for me of what it was to be a good, young mother.

We got to school and as soon as my friend undid the carseat-belt of her son, he started screaming.  She offered some platitudes and then picked him up, kicking and screaming, and marched into the church basement where the school was held, with him protesting all the way.

I waited outside, horrified that my role model would be such a mean mother and put her child through such a trial.  I vowed in my head, never to be so mean to my kids… if I ever had any.

Six years later, I dragged my own  reticient child to nursery school, took off his jacket, hung it in his cubby, ignored his plantive cry- “no, mommy, no!,”  peeled his little fingers from my pant leg, spoke a firm: “I love you.  I will be back to get you after school…”  and left the room, choking back the tears as I climbed in my Chevy Celebrity wagon.

I had become the mean mommy.

NOW- 20 years later…. I wonder if I could have done it differently.

What comfort items might I have left my son to hold on to as I left?

What kind of preparations might have made for a better transition?

How might I have asked the teachers to help me?

How might I have gotten some support from other parents… who didn’t seem to have to peel their children off of their legs?


Please share some of your experiences here… they may be a blessing for someone else.


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4 Comments on “Kicking and Screaming, Nursery School here we come”

  1. Patti Says:

    Oh my goodness there are so many times I wish I could go back and have a “do-over”. Dropping my baby off at day care and having to leave her as she was screaming and crying [and alternatively rushing to pick her up at the end of the day and have her not want to come home – UGH]. We all have those moments, but as I look back, 18 years later, I realize If I had the same experience today perhaps I would do it differently but my kids turned out to be wonderful people, so while we all make parenting mistakes at some point, we need to celebrate all the times we do things right!

  2. Linda Says:

    Wow, your post brings back memories of my son and his first weeks at nursery school. I have to say though I had teachers who would come and welcome him, talk about what they were doing, and try to engage him with an activity and others….he still cried but I knew from the teachers that he would, after a period, become somewhat, engaged with the group and the activities…It was such a help to have their support and then feedback when I picked him up. I still felt guilty but I think it would have been harder without the support of the teachers. Totally opposite experience with my daughter. She couldn’t wait to go and I think I was more lost then she when she began….

  3. At work, I’m responsible to run things, and I feel capable most of the time. At home, I’m responsible to run a household, and I feel INcapable most of the time! I often wonder why that is. Perhaps it’s because there always seems to be so much at stake. I don’t want to warp my children by doing a bad job! Over and over, it seems I have the opportunity to learn the same lessons: a little willingness to see things from my kids’ perspective and a little firm kindness go a long way! I feel so grateful for the stories and tips that other moms share; they’ve helped me so many times!

  4. Catherine Says:

    I don’t think Jesus would question in the least our using firmness and doing the best we can in situations with toddlers as the one described. Did he actually TALK to the high priests and the Levites before turning the tables on the money changers? I don’t think so. I think Jesus knows that sometimes firmness is the best way to go. He was drawing boundaries all the time, walking away from those whom he healed but who wanted more, not healing many who maybe wanted to be healed, but perhaps for the wrong reasons (who knows?). And what about how he treated his disciples? I think it was with loving but straightforward firmness. And that, I’m sure, is OK with Him.

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