Yesterday got off to a rough start.
Well, that's not exactly true. We got off to a great start. Everyone got up on time, got dressed, got their lunches made, didn't argue or fight or forget anything. All was good in the world of Home.
The drive to work was a good one. Hardly any whining or arguing.
Then, we arrived at school, and Jelly immediately started crying.
The day before, I had my first day of car duty. Meaning, it's my job each morning this week to stand out by the parking lot and greet students as they arrive. It happens once every four weeks, and this week just happens to be my turn.
Of course, Jelly didn't like it ONE BIT. That meant that I had to leave her waiting for her bus. I figured I'd remedy the situation on Tuesday by having Peanut stand with her. Jelly still cried, and wasn't happy.. but Peanut said that once I walked away, Jelly did just fine.
Yesterday, I figured we'd just do the same thing. Jelly had already started crying the minute we arrived, and asked if Peanut was still going to stand with her. I assured her that Peanut would, and I managed to get her outside without having to peel her off of me.
Peanut had been standing with her for a couple of minutes when the principal came outside for her duty. Every morning, the principal oversees the kids getting on and off of buses. The kids that get off at the elementary, and those that getting on to go to the high school or to the primary school.
I kept looking back every few minutes to check on Jelly, and I noticed that my principal was talking to Peanut. A few seconds later, I saw Peanut walk away and heard Jelly start crying. Loudly. Peanut looked at me and shrugged...I had no idea what that meant. I assumed that the principal had sent her on her way. I couldn't see Jelly after that, the principal was blocking my view. But, I heard her. Oh goodness did I hear her.
I stood at my post on duty, tears welling up in my eyes. I did everything in my power to put a smile on my face as each child arrived. I heard the crying stop a few minutes later, and looked back...still couldn't see Jelly. Then, I checked a few minutes later...and Jelly was gone. On her bus. And that was that.
I went back inside after duty pretty upset. Peanut explained to me, once I got inside, that the principal had sent her on her way and offered to watch over Jelly. Peanut said that the principal didn't want her out there each morning with Jelly....that Jelly needed to adjust to doing it on her own.
Momma Bear was Mad. Momma Bear was Upset. Momma Bear had to Cry.
To add some fuel to the fire, one of Butter's teachers came to see me. Can you say wrong time, wrong place? I was NOT in the mood to hear anyone say anything about any of my kids at that point. I was in Momma Bear mode, and needed some time to cool off.
Unfortunately to the unbeknownst teacher who choose that time to inform me of some issues she was having with Butter. I didn't go all crazy and start yelling or anything like that... but I did take what she said personal, and immediately acted upon it. Again, wrong time and wrong place for the teacher.
I got the situation with Butter handled. And during the process of working on it, I had to see the principal. She's not a stupid woman, she knew I was upset. And she laid it right out there why she'd done what she'd done.
Yes, Jelly is having a hard time. Yes, Jelly is currently crying when she has to wait outside for the bus. But, after Peanut had walked away, the principal had talked to Jelly...asked her some questions, got her talking. Jelly proceeded to tell my principal about the plans we'd (her and I) made to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom when she got back that afternoon. She told her about what she brought for lunch. And by the time Jelly got on the bus, there were no more tears. My principal then told me that each morning, she'd do the same thing with Jelly...reassure her, talk to her, distract her from her worries. And with me or Peanut there, Jelly would just continue being stressed and sad.
My principal isn't just a principal. She wasn't just a teacher for several years. She's also a mother. A mother who knows how hard it is to send a child off to school that's scared and sad. She knows how hard it is to say goodbye, or to walk away when her child is crying. But, she also knows...as do I, even though I didn't want to admit it...that Jelly and I both need the distraction. We need to be able to separate in the morning on good terms. No tears involved. And she's promised to help make that transition easier for us.
So, yeah.. my first reaction was to get all bent out of shape, all Momma Bear ready to defend her cub. But, listening to my principal made me realize how right she was. It may have seemed harsh or like she was "torturing" my poor baby. Yet, I know that's not what her intentions were. She knew what she's doing. She knows that this is just as hard for me as it is for Jelly. And instead of turning her head the other way and ignoring the fact that I was using Peanut to fill the void that I felt like I was making...my principal took it upon herself to step in and provide some intervention.
What was more surprising was Jelly's first tale she told to me when she got back from school that day. Not about what had happened when she got to school, or what she'd learned, or what she got to play... but she told me about how the principal had hugged her, had offered soft words of encouragement, had asked her about her lunch, and had helped her stop crying before getting on the bus. What I had thought would be a devastating moment of Jelly's day just happened to be the highlight of her day. It made her feel special. She couldn't wait to tell me about it.
I asked Jelly if she would be OK with the principal doing that for her each morning. Even though she was a little apprehensive, and shaken by the realization that I wasn't going to be there again today or tomorrow...she agreed that it would be nice to have the principal there for her. She was OK with it. She thought it was pretty awesome that the principal was going to do that for her again each day... until Jelly is ready to stand on her own and wait with the rest of the kids.
Today we will see how ready she really is.
I'm sure there'll be more tears. The problem won't go away over night. But, knowing that I have someone out there keeping an eye on things, comforting Jelly, and watching out for my child..even though she doesn't have to and there are a couple hundred other kids that the principal also has to watch out for...makes me feel so much better. Jelly needs someone with her, and someone will be. Despite how crazy busy her mornings are, my principal is willing to stand in and take on that role.
And even though there's really not any more room to add anything to my list...here's another reason to add on why I love where I work. Because I know that my principal has my back. And the backs of my own, biological children.
Gotta feel good about that!
OK, time to get to gettin' for another awesome day!