Thursday, June 24, 2010

Orientation Day At Childcare

Little Mr Boy went for his first official orientation day at childcare this week. The emotions I experienced went from elation, excitement, pride, to worry, stress and anxiety, back again and all mixed up. I was nearly in tears from the mess I was in. He was amazing. All the way from the girls school, I had been preparing him in the car: "We're going to kinder now! Erik is going to kinder. Different! Somewhere different. Going to kinder now." etc etc. I expected him to tantrum when we didn't turn down the usual way to our house.

He didn't. He didn't make a peep! The whole way there. He must have remembered from the time we visited for a trial there 2 weeks ago or so. Clever boy. We parked, we walked in. Fine. A little apprehensive walking down the corridor though. But otherwise, fine.

Walked into the room, and he was perfectly fine with that too. He went to the tables to check out what was going on, then came back to drag me over to something that interested him.

I settled him in and left the room. I had to tear myself away from the window to go to front desk and finalise stuff. But I stayed in the building for the time he was in... right outside the room in fact ... and occupied myself by reading and minding baby miss, and checking through the window every few minutes.

He was anxious when he realised I had left the room. I could see it in his face. He circuited the room, as he tends to do, resisting various attempts by staff to offer him food or toys. I sat down at this point, thinking that if I watched too long, I would not be able to stop myself going in to hug him! When I got up again, he was doing this:

See that?! He was putting little coloured toothpicks into playdough! And he was loving it :)

He was pretty much on his own at the table though. But I don't mind too much right now. I don't expect him to socialise immediately. I don't even expect it soon. I'm just so happy to see him ok, and playing, and enjoying himself in a room full of strange children.

One of the carers later told me that he had seen some other kids playing with the playdough and toothpicks, and had wanted to try some too. This is good! Later on, the kids had group time. Obviously, my son wasn't going to join in off his own back. If left to himself, he stays by himself and is usually a bother to no one. During group time, I saw him doing this:

He loves those things. The room leader later said that he had been upset, and she recalled from his trial visit that he liked this one. So she brought it back out to help settle him. At one point during group time, the kids were singing a song that was familiar to him. My sons ears pricked up and he stopped. Then, he turned and looked at the group! Wonderful! Since he had settled down and now seemed interested, another carer came along to try and help with including him in the group time. I love that she noticed :) Look at him... sitting on her lap and listening to the songs:

She even helped him with some actions. To some extent, he enjoyed this. But I did notice he became distressed after a while. She let him go back to the bead frame at this point. I love that she tried. I also love that nobody pressured him to do anything.

I went into the room to collect him just as they let all the children outside to play. I did this on purpose, so I could speak to the carers about the events of the morning. It took a little convincing to get little man outside, as he didn't want to leave the relative familiarity of the room. But once he was out there, boy did he love it!

Finally I went outside to get him. When he saw me, he ran over - I thought for a hug - but he grabbed me and started dragging me towards a plank of wood on the ground that he had been walking along. I tried to get him to leave with me, but he didn't want to go. He wanted to stay. How sweet is that!

The carers mentioned how great his concentration was when playing with various toys; how he wasn't flitting from one thing to the other, but took the time to enjoy the thing he was playing with. I take this as good news for him. They also said he was a very sweet and delightful boy. I knew that already *hearts*. One thing I noticed as well, was how occasionally, he would go find his blanky in his locker, have a snuggle, and then go back to circuiting the room. I like that he didn't carry it around the whole time, but he used it as a little comfort base from time to time.

Overall, the experience was good. Even better than trial day. And I just think it will get better and better. I still feel nervous about leaving him, since he is completely non-verbal and non-communicative. But the care and attention of the staff have really helped to put my mind at ease.

Now I just need to work on my own anxieties about this, though I'm sure they will diminish with time. And I am SO looking forward to seeing what improvements come from placing my boy in childcare. Almost wishing I could 'flash forward' and see... but that would take all the fun out of it now wouldn't it ;)



  1. I'm so happy for you both!

    and I'm still sorry for butting in before.

  2. Had to backtrack through the archives so I knew what was going on. I'm so glad you got the spot and that Little Mr is adjusting ok! I hope that you get less anxious about having him out of your sight, and that you can start to enjoy some well-deserved alone time soon.

  3. Thanks Jade :) The time out from him is just another small plus to the whole thing! By the way, I have added a new 'Childcare' label to make backtracking easier in future. Probably useless to you now, but might be good for any new readers :)