This afternoon, before the kids came home from school, I got a phone call from Elliott's teacher-- "Elliott cried all day long."
Of course, my stomach plummeted and I wanted to cry right then. The teacher asked if I had any ideas about how to help him, but of course I didn't right then. As soon as I hung up, I burst into tears and considered moving to Zimbabwe, where they might be a little less rigid about homeschooling. Then I took a deep breath and tried to stop crying before the bus came. In a way, I wasn't really surprised by this, because he had had a hard morning-- nothing went right in his world. We'd had to strip his bed and give him shower in the middle of the night because of an accident (he never wets the bed, but the kids all have a touch of diarrhea right now-- lots of fun!) so when he woke up this morning with no memory of that, to different sheets and different blankets and a diaper on, he started to cry. Then, his favorite cereal was out. And I didn't want to give him milk because he'd been sick. And he didn't want to go to the bathroom at all before school. Suffice it to say, everything that happened was cause for crying and drama.
I managed to pull myself together in time. When Elliott got off the bus, holding tightly to Cheyenne's hand as usual, he had a big grin for me. If the teacher hadn't called me, I never would have guessed the kind of day he had had. As soon as I had hugged him, though, he told me, "I cried a lot today." Then Cheyenne rushed to tell me about how she had hugged him at lunchtime so he would stop crying, and how she had sat with him at the school assembly so he would stop crying. She's a nice sister.
I asked Elliott why he had cried and he said, "Because I wanted to see you." And I looked up the homeschooling laws in Zimbabwe. (Then I read about Zimbabwe and decided I don't want to live in Zimbabwe, more's the pity.)
Later, Elliott told me he wasn't going to school tomorrow. I'm not sure I'll force him to go, but I think I've convinced him to go tomorrow because A.) It's his first art class and B.) I've promised to go in and eat lunch with him. Parents are always allowed to go in and eat lunch with their kids, so I thought maybe knowing he would see me later in the day would at least keep him happy through the morning. I also had to promise to stay for Cheyenne's lunch, so not sure how I will keep Lincoln and Marilla happy through two lunches, but we'll see.
We tried to have a relaxing evening. Elliott wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, we had pizza for supper, the kids got to sit on Evan's lap while he played "Plants Vs. Zombies" on the computer. I made sure to give the kids lots of snuggle&sing time with me before bed. Evan was talking to Elliott after he put him to bed, and asked him why Elliott wanted to see Mommy when he was at school. Elliott told him, "Because Mommy makes me feel better." Yeah, this kid is worth all the work of raising a premature baby.
Elliott also told me tonight he didn't want to school because "you can't be bad in school." We had a talk about how he wasn't bad, so that wasn't a problem. They have a system where a little paper car with the kid's name on it is moved to a yellow light when they misbehave, and he didn't want his car to get a yellow light. I asked, and he says he's never got a yellow light, but he's worried about it. Poor kid.
Anyway, unsure of how things will go. Evan and I have been a bit ambivalent about him starting school so young, so if we give it another week and he still is so unhappy, we might decide to put off Kindergarten for another year. He may settle down and be just fine, though. Very anxious to see how tomorrow goes!
In other kid news, Cheyenne is frustrated by her homework-- reading worksheets that are at a reading level far below her. Marilla uses the "b" sound instead of "v", and inserts "w" for "l" and hearing her sing, "He wibed to show me how to wibe" today when she was playing with her dolls made me extremely happy. Lincoln is going to try to sleep in the newly set-up crib tonight-- I'm sure he'll be up to eat in the night, but we just thought we'd try him in the crib. I'll miss my little cuddle bug.