This post has been a long time coming, I'm sorry I haven't gotten to it sooner. I am beyond relieved to report that Colin now loves school. He isn't running into the room without a backward glance (I'm not sure we will ever get there) but he hasn't cried in weeks and he gives me lots of big smiles as we wave to each other out the windows (his favorite way to say goodbye). He has learned which days of the week are school days and he looks forward to them instead of dreading them. He is even starting to learn about 'what time it is' to try to help him understand when he goes to school as well as when he goes down for a nap and bedtime. His understanding is obviously very rudimentary at this age but he will watch for the clock to become "one zero zero" and then tell me it is nap time.
(Back to School) We have officially upped him to three days a week and this has been the best thing for him. There was too long of a gap between the days he went to school and by the time we got around to a school day again, he was forgetting that he liked it and was crying a lot more (compared to the day when he went back to back). Now with more days spread out he can really remember the routine. The cost differential turned out to be less than $4 an hour for the extra day so it was well worth it (this is mainly because we were getting a very bad deal when he was 2 days a week but that is a different story). Colin has one teacher in particular who is his favorite. She was on vacation of the first month of school and his recovery was timed with her arrival, not sure how much one has to do with the other, but it could go either direction (he has no bad associations with her so she is his favorite, or she showed up and he started to like school). Earlier this week I asked him who his favorite teacher was and he said "Miss Marianne" instead of his usual response "Mommy".
Recently, in his 'things-to-take-home' folder was the 'scare crow' he was making the first time I picked him up after we made the plan to shorten his day. I think this piece of artwork will probably get saved forever. I have promised myself I will not save everything he makes but this particular piece brings me right back to that day when I was so relived to be picking up a happy child. It was his turning point, and to be honest it was mine as well. The point when I stopped questioning if this was really the right thing for him.
Here is a photo of it, along with two other current favorites.I'm hoping taking pictures of the projects I like will quell my need to save them. I will save a few. It is, after all, his first year. But I honestly want to save about 50% of the things he brings home. I'm kind of surprised by that to be honest, I'm generally not all that sentimental. Mostly it is pieces like these where I know he choose the particular pieces to put on it and placed them himself. I love to see what he chose and think about the process of making it. For example in the apple print (which he did on his first or second day) you can see that the three yellow apples were chosen first, which is not surprising since yellow is his favorite color right now. I wonder if he was encouraged to choose the other colors after having a yellow only picture or if he choose them himself. Am I the only mother who reads into this stuff? Please tell me I'm not alone.
This was the right decision for us. He is doing great at school, and the carry over that we were experiencing when I would leave him at other times has also gotten better. In fact, he is also getting more confident when we are out and about and I have also seen some improvements in his emotional regulation (he can check himself when he is about to cry unnecessarily and will turn his mood around on his own)