Danny the Brave

Showing me his science project - mixing colours!
Well this morning went as expected so I shouldn't act surprised. It was Danny's first day in a new environment - science enrichment class. He'll still go to his normal classroom during the week but Mondays will be a new thing.

I did my best to jolly him along this morning and Craig had written him a little note to tuck into his pocket, that said how proud he was of him and how much he loved him. But as the time got nearer to going he got quieter and quieter and then flat out said he was frightened and didn't want to go.

By the time we got to pre-school I was just talking nonsense, "Oh, look at all the acorns Danny!", hoping he'd come out of his mood. It took me 10 minutes to get him to go into the room then another 5 to calm him down. He was crying very hard and begging me not to make him do it.  I can't blame him - new room, new teachers, new students. He is terrified of new things. He said that he wanted to be in Mr's N's class (his regular teacher who he's with two days a week) and he completely shunned all attempts by his new teachers who tried to coax him round. I was a bit miffed as he didn't have a peg for his coat or a name badge, like all the other kids. His teacher acted surprised that she had completely left him out of his first day's proceedings (she really is very old, so who can blame her for forgetting such things. But let's hope she doesn't forget she's left him out in the playground one day).

Anyway, when he was semi-quiet, still sat on a chair in the corner ignoring everyone with hood up and head down, I told him I was going to hand in some paperwork at the office. When I got there, the director of the place was so concerned and so nice that she went to get Danny's regular teacher Mrs N, to go up to his new room to comfort him. Mrs N & I have become quite friendly this year so when she was so kind and when I thought about his little note in his pocket from his dad I got a bit upset. So I gave her a few moments to see to him then went up to the room.

She was lying on the floor next to him, reading one of his favourite books and stroking his back and he was lying face-down on the carpet with his hood up not acknowledging her at all. At the end of the book she told me to follow her out and she closed the room door. She told me nicely to leave - that he'd be okay and to just leave for work. She gave me a big reassuring smile and we talked for a few seconds about the fact that he has to try new things. Just because he's frightened doesn't mean we take him out of those situations. That wouldn't do him any good in life. But you know, he's just 3 years old, so it's hard.

As I was walking out to my car two things weighed on me and bothered me. I hadn't said goodbye to him, after promising him that I'd stay if he needed me to,  and I just knew that he was was not going to be forced in to liking this. There was no way he was going to sit up and say "okay, I'll give it a whirl!" That is not Daniel's way of handling things.

When I got to my car I realised that I did not have my keys so I had a mild panic & retraced my steps but then had a vague memory of dropping them in Danny's bag with the paperwork. So I made my way back to the building. It occurred to me that Mrs N's room overlooks the parking lot and I hoped she wasn't wondering why I was coming back. But the second I walked into the front door I heard him. Loud sobs that were not crocodile tears or tantrum antics. This was a terrified boy that was crying so hard he was hysterical. I should never have left him. I'm his mum and I know best.

 His new teacher had hold of his hand and told me the other kids were going to the playroom and that he refused to go but she obviously couldn't leave him in the room on his own. I took him and calmed him down and promised him I'd stay (Again. And there's no way a teacher was going to make me break that promise again). After a few moments I persuaded him to go to the playroom with me. I had to carry him in when he made a dash for the exit and he kept his arms around my neck for a long time. After 5 minutes he spotted his favourite tricycle and gingerly crept over to it. He would walk two steps and turn around to make sure I was still there. Then he sat on the bike and he was off. I thought yea! Then he stopped and turned to me very seriously and said "walk with me" so we did this thing where he rode and I walked (well trotted/puffed and sweated) until he forgot I was there and did his own thing.

After the playroom he was like a different boy and when we headed back to the classroom he looked okay. I called him over and said "Can moma go to work now?" and he gulped and looked a bit nervous but then nodded. I must admit that I got a bit teary-eyed on the way back to the car again.

When I picked him up it was busy as usual, parents all waiting for their little ones and teachers trying to turn kids over safely. His teacher passed him off to me and smiled a huge smile and said "He didn't want to leave".  Typical!  I'm so happy for him because that was a big hurdle for him today and he did it. I'm very proud of him.


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