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New York Minute

One of the best parts of my day is the short walk to my younger son’s daycare each morning. One of the worst parts of my day is when their front door closes with him on the other side.

I walk with the happiest, chattiest kid on Broadway. But as soon as we enter his classroom, his smile flatlines. He clams up and gently clings my leg.

He’s past the point of fearing or disliking the place. Before I’m across the street, he’s back to his regular self, running and horsing around with his friends. But for the 45 seconds I unzip his jacket and hook it with his Yankee hat in his cubby, he’s totally blank. He doesn’t argue or fight or try to get me to stay. Passive resistance in it’s purest form.

He’s never once said goodbye to me. This morning, one of his teachers lifted him up to the small square window in the door to give him one last chance to wave or grin. He stared through me like I was a lamp post. The corners of his mouth never even flinched.

Later today I’ll hear how he had a great day and I’ll forget feeling like I broke his heart this morning and I’ll forgive myself. Again.

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Jon DeRosa  New York Minute  NYC

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1 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 14, 2011 1:37 pm

I hear ya, Jon. My kids were in daycare for only a few months, while my wife filled in for a colleague out on maternity leave. Like you, I handled drop off, and it always left me feeling like I'd done something terrible to them.

Funny how kids manage to communicate so wel without words.

2 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 14, 2011 1:57 pm

[1] Intellectually, I know it is not a terrible thing. He likes the place and he likes to play with hiss friend. But he does not like that moment of transition and that's my last contact with him, so that's what I take away emontionally.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 14, 2011 2:09 pm

I can't imagine it.

4 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 14, 2011 4:39 pm

Ow. I remember. My Mom to me was my hero and security; it wasn't so much her leaving that bothered me, it was her leaving me exposed, if that makes any sense. A moment of vulnerability that takes a child a moment to get used to. Imagine how much harder it would be if you didn't say goodbye...

5 Ken Arneson   ~  Oct 14, 2011 4:42 pm

I was just having a conversation about this with a dad in my daughter's preschool class. His son has the separation anxiety bad. My middle daughter had it really bad, too, while my other two kids couldn't seem happier to get rid of the old man for a few hours. You just wonder what makes one kid hate separation so much, and another isn't bothered by it at all.

Somehow, though, it almost always disappears by age 6. I've seen kindergarteners with separation anxiety, but never a first grader.

6 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 15, 2011 12:13 am

I too was always amazed at how my daughter never looked back. From a very early age (and she started at 10 months), as soon as she was dropped off, I (or my wife) ceased to exist. I think that was her coping mechanism. She's still like that with good-byes, even though in Japan it's mandatory to wave to someone until they are mathematically out of sight (I kid you not). Perhaps her method is ideal for moving on...eyes on the future.

Jon, wait until he starts going to school and doesn't want you anywhere near the entrance. I have to kiss Sachi before her friends even come in to sight now, or there's no good-bye kiss.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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