How mommy nearly didn't survive Big Boy's 1st day at school

So the crisis is over.  My sister survived, I survived, Oripha survived and not least of all, little Jonathan (aka Gogga) survived...his first (half) day at crèche. I think he probably had it the easiest of us all.  Maryke started stressing about a year ago already, Oripha hit the stress-point the beginning of 2011 and I only really got it last night, probably because I was so consumed with finishing the preparations for the first Good Enough Parenting workshops.  The workshop went well, but more about that another time. 

Big Boy and Sharks backpack

In preparation for his first day as a Big Boy at school, Gogga has been told he’s going to school.  Maryke’s explained step-by-step what he will do there, his teacher’s name and the first day procedure.  His little book on Barney taking Baby-bop (the baby dino) to school was faithfully read a few times a day.  Poor Gogga even referred to Shelley’s little 5-month old Daniel as Baby-bop; Fully emerged in the going-to-school narrative, our little Big Boy. 

So off this morning, he went.  Dadda Frank got the dirty job of taking him to school and together with his little Sharks backpack (what else?!), off our Big Boy went the Baby-bop route.  He cried a little when Dadda left him there but within an hour was going up to the other big boys and big girls and interacted with them.  So easy when you’re two; so hard when you’re a parent.  Face still red after some abandoning-my-children angst, my sister finally accepted she is on the journey of letting her kids grow older and more independent.  Of course, this was also the day 10-week old Lily chose to be happy at home with Oripha for 3 hours.  Mommy needed the away-from-home time, but it was a bitter-sweet victory for my wonderful sister. 

Regarding preparing a little Big Boy for a daunting new experience:  Maryke made sure she filled the following core needs for Gogga:
·        Guidance and Protection; and
·        Stable base & Predictability.

Proud mom takes Gogga home

Children are born with 8 core needs that need to be adequately (not too much, not too little) met for them to develop without lifetraps.  Gogga’s temperament means that he doesn’t adapt quickly and he is slow to warm up to new situations.  The daily story telling helped Gogga to know what would happen today.  He knew what procedure would be followed and he understood that he will be going back home as well.  From a young age, Maryke would tell Gogga when she left that she is going to be out for a bit but she will be back before he has to take his nap or whatever.  He quickly learnt that she will be back and the intensity of his separation anxiety diminished quickly. He has learnt that he can trust her; she will be back.  Gogga’s mom helped him to be securely attached to him by always being predictable; never making him feel like he was or will be abandoned. It has helped so much with his normal separation anxiety issues the past two years but real dividends showed today. 

So, tomorrow is his first swimming lesson.  Another big obstacle for our slow to warm Big Boy...wonder if his cute little cammo swimsuit will even get wet tomorrow.  And if mommy will survive...


barwin said...

Wow... that's great guys. I learnt so much from that and am full of admiration for traumatised Mommy:) - incredible how patient, faithful parenting pays dividends for both of you!

Such a cute picture.

Amanda said...

Gogga had a very successful day at school yesterday and is already naming friends from school. Loves all the cars and scooters there, of course.

Think this little story show that parenting according to core needs is quite simple but has huge implications.

Every picture of Gogga is cute!

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