Letting Go

Nora Smiling!

As many of you know, not only has Vivian started going to junior kindergarten, but Nora, now approaching 18 months, has started going to the Early Years’ School Readiness Program — what used to be called their Preschool.

Vivian attended Early Years preschool for two years, and it was a godsend, let me tell you. For two hours a day, three days a week, Vivian got a chance to play and learn with kids her age, and I had a chance to recuperate in the kitchen, and work on my writing.

But since Labour Day, Nora’s start at Early Years has been a little rocky. As parents of “purple room” kids (1-2 years) are told, the big issue of this age is separation anxiety. Your kid doesn’t like you leaving the room, lest you leave this plane of existence, and the result of this tragedy is usually loud. Several times this past month, I’ve had support staff from the purple room sheepishly approach me in the kitchen saying “it’s Nora. She’s crying. You’d better come get her.” There didn’t seem to be much improvement. Every day, I would hand Nora to one of the support staff, pry Nora’s fingers off my shirt, and retreat under fire from her ear-blistering howls. Heart-rending.

Until last Wednesday, when I decided to take Nora’s favourite pink blanket along. Vivi has a rag doll, Lovey, who is much loved and lives a rich life (we woke up at five AM the other day to the news that “Mom! Dad! There’s thunder! Lovey is SCARED!”). But Nora’s blanket is the suggliest softest best loved thing in the world. She hauls it around, she rubs its particular corner against her nose, and she sleeps wrapped around it like a bear with a salmon. It has magical powers, and it seemed worth a try.

Well, sure enough, two hours pass, and I’m not called. A little trepidatiously, I returned to the room and opened the door. At this point, Nora would usually start crying again in the tone of “you LEFT me! How DARE you leave me!” But that day, I see Nora toddling around, smiling, playing, her pink blanket in a pile in the middle of the floor, not a tear on her.

And today, I bring pink blanket along again, and hand it and Nora over to the support staff member. And Nora turns to me as I leave, and waves.

Why is that harder to take? Why?

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