Yes indeed, my boy is back! Not Bird, although he is back from his week away, no, I’m referring to Sun. My smiley, cheeky, happy, confident little boy.
A few months back I wrote a post about the call I didn’t want to get from playgroup. The first few weeks at playgroup were awful. I spent the whole time he was there with my heart in my throat wondering if he was behaving himself. I spent hours wondering if there was something more I could do to help him at home, if I should take him out of playgroup and try again later. Worry, worry, worry, guilt, guilt, guilt.
The staff didn’t really make it any easier by not seeming to want to talk about the situation very much. If Sun had behaved himself and had a good day then they wouldn’t say anything when I collected him, and if he hadn’t they would say ‘he’s not had a very good day today’ but not much more unless I really forced the issue. Every now and then his key worker would be pushed to say a few more sentences than that and she always said he would settle in and get used to playgroup and not to worry, but I was born to worry so that didn’t really alay my fears.
The stress of the situation took its toll at home too with Sun’s aggression becoming a constant problem at home as well as at playgroup. He started being too rough with Shine and I found myself more and more having to think about ways to discipline him and how to manage the situation. Sun was obviously finding it really difficult to go from being with me every day of the week to being in a situation where other adults were in charge and where there were lots of children and toys. Exciting new toys that Sun found almost unbearable to share. He was scared of the other children and rather than shy away and quiver in a corner he thought he’d try violence and see where that got him.
It took him a good month to get to grips with what was expected of him at playgroup and to start enjoying himself and making friends. There was the odd day he didn’t behave but – thank god – the early hellish days were a thing of the past. I didn’t have to be the mortified mother of the hitting child any longer. Immense relief.
Last week Sun had his last day at playgroup because we’ll be moving over Easter. I went along to his Easter party and my heart was bursting with pride. Most people wouldn’t have noticed anything unusual. Just a child, joining in with the group, smiling and laughing and playing. To me though, I could see how far he has come in the space of four months. To see him enjoying himself and relaxed, not fighting every child that came near him or defending every stick and stone surrounding him, made me so proud.
His teachers were teary saying their goodbyes and gushed about how far he had come in the time he’d been with them. He was the sweet, intelligent boy I have known was in there all along. He won the egg decorating competition and the egg and spoon race and I had my first taste of maternal pride.
I wrote a post in January confessing I didn’t like Sun very much at that point in time. Reading it back is still painful, the wounds are still fresh. However, my boy is back and I’m happy to report that I like him more than ever. I love the stage he’s at right now, constantly playing with language and making up ridiculous rhymes, putting together dance steps, making up his own songs and trying his hand at writing.
Of course, we move next week and I’m starting to get the fear. How is he going to be starting again at a new nursery? Will all the hard work be undone and he return to his violent, tempestuous ways? I am praying that even if he does, it will be easier for him to adapt to somewhere new having made the transition to playgroup already.
And I’m writing this now so I can look back at this post and remember that if he does find things hard he’ll get through it and get back to himself eventually. I’ll be remembering too these wise words, that Rebecca from Here Come the Girls shared, that they need your love most when they deserve it least. I think I’ve learnt a little something from the past few months and I’m taking a deep breath and readying myself for the next parenting round. Ding ding!