As the sunlight streamed into my lounge room in the early hours of this morning, and I shared a cuddle with my son, I found myself working up the courage to ask him a question – a question which I did dread actually knowing the answer to.
“Baby, when you are at school, do you play with other kids or are you always playing by yourself?”
There was a pause while his gaze stilled, and his big blue eyes rounded in thought.
“Um, by myself”
And there it was. The response I feared.
Heart now firmly lodged in my throat I continued on with my gentle questioning.
“Why is that? Do you ask anyone else if they will play with you? Be your friend?”
Nodding, he replies “I do that but they keep saying no.” This was on the back of him telling me two weeks before that some little boy had told him not to play with him “because I wasn’t cool mummy”.
Deep breath Donna….! What the heck do 3 – 5 year olds know about cool?!
Alarm bells were ringing as well, as this was coming from a child who LOATHES going solo – I should know, I am home with him the other 5 days of the week where I am constantly fielding endless requests to keep him company – 24/7 if he had his way!
Afraid my emotions might betray me (I’m a sensitive sook at the slightest of times), I tried to keep my tone light.
“Well, keep asking, keep sharing, keep playing nicely and you will make friends, I promise.” I vowed, surely sounding more secure than I felt.
It’s the fourth week since we changed daycare centres for my son, and as the instigator of this action, the guilt weighs heavily on my shoulders. Even though he’d been happy enough at his former school, with a lovely assortment of little friends, my plan had centred on the premise that as it didn’t have a high number of students who would go to his eventual primary school (if any at all), we would be best make the change to one which would. And as it conveniently happens, it is also the centre within spitting distance of my front door.
I’d figured it would be best to go through this awkward transition now, rather than a year and a half down the track when big school commences. My hope was that this would prove to be the way to have an established base of little friends to help support each other through the big switch.
At least, that was the theory I had continually comforted myself with.
So, we walked hand in hand into his daycare this morning, me still weighed down by my heavy heart – my son, excitedly skipping along beside me – and I said a small prayer that someone makes this a better day for him – well, ok, for me. As we pulled open the classroom sliding door and stepped inside a little boy began to wave enthusiastically to my boy, shouting a happy hello.