adjustment period

Dexter and Theo’s school started off slowly with three half-days the first week.  They left before nap or lunch and were really only there for about three hours. Before and after care are not offered that first week – it truly is just a little taste for them.  With the second week came their first full-day experience. Lunch, naps, and before and after care. It’s a long day for them – from about 8:30am – 4:30pm.  We now are beginning their third week and I sure hope it goes a little more smoothly than week number two.

The environment is very different from the babysitter’s home who has cared for them all summer.  Dexter has gone to this sitter full-time for over a year now. He’s gotten used to playing Batman all day and a TV being on in the background. While there is a routine to the day and he benefits from social interactions with children who are a variety of ages, I’m not sure how often his intelligence is REALLY put to the test.

The school that the boys go to is a Montessori school. I never knew what that meant until my sister-in-law put our nephew in a Montessori school when he was 5.  I thought maybe it had something to do with religion? No. Montessori is simply the last name of the woman who developed the Montessori Method of Education. But this isn’t a post about Montessori – I just wanted to explain that the environment is so very different for Dexter.  If you want to learn more about Montessori, CLICK HERE.

Last year when Theo started Montessori, we were so worried that he would have a difficult time adjusting. He’s the one with the temper tantrums.  A super sensitive child.  My way or the highway.  We couldn’t have been more wrong. Sure, there were rough mornings and a few terrible drop-offs but all in all, he transitioned very well. What surprised us was how upset Dexter – our easy-going, eager to please, go with the flow child – became about Theo being in a different place from him three days a week.  Talk about some rough drop-offs.  He would just bawl and hang on to me, begging me not to go or to take him with me. Then I’d leave him there, crying, and bawl all the way to work.  It was so hard.  SO hard. Sucked bad.


We’ve been trying all summer to build up Dexter’s excitement for starting Montessori preschool. Emphasizing how great it will be that they will be in the same building again and that they’ll see each other on the playground.  Without a doubt, he has been looking forward to it.  But man.

It’s no different than you or I starting a new job and even if we are thrilled with the position, we have first impressions to make. We have to smile and be likable.  We have to learn new things and find the bathroom and get to training early (but not too early) and wear the right outfit.  It’s stressful. Even if it’s a good stress, it’s stressful.  So here’s Dexter in a new {cool, but still new} environment with a lot of things racing through his mind. I’m imagining it going something like this: Where’s the bathroom again? I have to go potty. I want to ask that teacher but she’s helping someone and they said not to interrupt. Whoops I just knocked over someone’s blocks and now she’s crying. I have to go potty. I’m hungry. Is it lunch time yet? I have to go potty but someone else is in the bathroom. What’s the teacher’s name again? I don’t want her to wipe me so I think I’ll just try to hold it until I get home. I forget where we put our lunch boxes. I wonder when Mommy will be back to get me. Or is Daddy picking us up?  What was I supposed to be doing again? Being quiet at circle time is hard.  I don’t want to take a nap here. Where’s Theo and will I get to see him soon? I have to go pot – whoops. Too late.

So he’s had more than a handful of accidents (at home and school) since school started two weeks ago after going probably six weeks or more with no accidents at the sitter.  That leads me to stress about them thinking “well is he potty-trained or not?” Yes! But he’s used to being reminded to use the bathroom. Montessori really focuses on fostering independence so I don’t know if they tell him to go or allow him to go whenever he feels the need.  I’m stressed that he’s stressed.  The other thing is that he has just been going INSANE when we get home from school.  It’s like he’s held it all together for 8 hours and he gets somewhere where he can be himself and just unleashes.  I am talking about hysterical tantrums when denied the second pack of fruit snacks.  Swinging toys around, hitting the wall or other objects. Behaviors that are extremely uncharacteristic for Dexter.  He is acting like this for about an hour or 90 minutes after we arrive home from school.  It’s not that fun but I am trying to tell myself that it’s just a phase.  He needs that time to release his feelings, and then he’s fine the rest of the night.


He will get used to school. The kids, the teachers, the bathroom, the cubbies, the routines, and the rules.  He will. He just needs a little time.  Despite being so easy-going, he’s sensitive too. Emotional and maybe a little insecure without his big brother right by his side.  Putting them in separate classes was intentional for this very reason. But it sure seems like a dumb idea at the moment.



2 thoughts on “adjustment period

  1. […] A year ago today I posted about how Dexter was having such a difficult transition starting pre-school. Long story short, we had opted to put him in a class separate from Theo’s for his own growth and independence. It was rough. He really has a hard time with change so we thought this year would be no different. We found out at the last minute that his primary guide would not be returning to the classroom this year so that added to MY stress, worrying that he would be stressed. I was already concerned that he would have a hard time with Theo moving on to Kindergarten at a completely different school. I am so happy to report that this transition for Dex has been flawless so far. He loves his new teacher and loves that his favorite person in the entire school continues in her role as assistant guide in his class. I can’t overlook his excitement about having his little buddy from last year in the same class again. I think this really gives him something to look forward to. We haven’t had epic meltdowns at drop-off or pick-up (well, maybe a couple that were borderline epic but only because we picked him up before he got to play in the sandbox). Not a single accident. No tantrums in the mornings. Not acting crazy at home in the afternoons. So far so good. He was also excited to be dropped off the first day and we didn’t even have any last second injuries or pain inflicted by a too-hard-hugging mom. […]

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