We enrolled the girls in two days a week of “camp” for the summer, which is really just a daycare. All the other day-camp options we could find were five days a week for one week at a time, which we couldn’t have afforded for the whole summer, and which would have therefore left us with a bunch of weeks with no structured anything — no time to catch up on work, refuel, refresh, etc. Frightening.
Anyway, Tuesday was their first day, and Alastair brought them. Clio was a little reticent at first, but then joined right in, and Elsa was off like a shot from the get-go. We were pleasantly surprised by how well they adjusted to a whole new setting and a class full of kids that already knew each other.
In fact — cute alert — on the way home that afternoon (I picked them up) I asked the girls what they did, and did they read stories? Did they play outside? Did they make anything?
“No,” Clio replied to this last question. “We didn’t make anything except friends!” (She was aware that she was saying something clever, and said it with much bravado.)
So I was rather surprised yesterday when I did drop-off and they both had total meltdowns. Clio was literally clinging to my legs, trying to keep me from getting to the door. I think Elsa would have been OK, but seeing Clio set her off, and I suddenly had two girls, weeping freely and mucousfully (?!), crying “Mama! Mama!
The teachers weren’t being particularly helpful at distracting them, so I had to sort of shove them inside the door as I left (gentle shoving). And my heart was breaking as I walked down the hall away from them hearing them cry. And then — this was worse — as I was outside on the way to the car, the teachers had told them they could wave to me from the window. They were both still wailing, and had their hands pressed up to the screen like little POWs.
Ugh! They eventually calmed down, of course (though I don’t know how long it took) and when Alastair picked them up, they were totally fine.
But I think maybe he should do drop off from now on. Or at least until they get *really* used to this new routine.
Because there is definitely something about me that makes them clingier and needier. This has always been the case, since they were infants. But I feel like it’s almost gotten worse, not better.
On the other hand — I admit it — I don’t really mind it. I think I probably do feel a connection to and empathy for them that is deeper and more primal than what Alastair feels. Not that we don’t both love them the same amount; it’s just a different flavor of love. So, when they get a boo-boo, I daresay I feel it a little more than he does. And the girls know that somehow. So I’m the one they want to cuddle with when they get hurt, and the one they cling more fiercely to in to in unfamiliar territory.
The not-so-great side of it is when they insist that mommy be the one who buckles them into their car seats / gives them their bath / puts them to bed / etc.
And don’t even get me started about the “mom-dar” they have when I’m in the house. I could hide behind the freakin’ washing machine and they’d find me. They’re little mommy-seeking missiles.
But I’m trying to enjoy the mama-love while it lasts. I really am. Because I know it will fade — at least, in the most physical, cuddly sense — over time.
What about you? Are your kids unabashed mom-o-philes?
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Photo: Heidi Miller