The start of preschool went okay for my middle boy, the most challenging of my kids, but then a regression seemed to happen. It might have been that his sister suddenly went in the hospital for a week and mommy disappeared during that time without any warning. Daddy took Andrew on school days but once Andrew’s sister got out of the hospital, and mommy was back home and all was normal again, Andrew regressed. He started to be very sad when I left him at the door of Mrs. Bucher’s classroom. I used to sit in the car in the parking lot during preschool and read books entitled, Your Spirited Child, and similar, because Andrew challenged me to figure out how to be a better parent, every single day.
It occurred to me a few chapters in that I needed to reassure Andrew of his place in my life. That possibly his sister’s great needs had overshadowed things and his security was threatened. Just before his nap one day I started a conversation with him as he was settling in between the Buzz Lightyear sheets, about how much he meant to me. I told him that whenever we were apart, and I emphasized whenever, as in, even when we are asleep in our beds, that I love him and care about him. I told him that the whole time I am apart from him I am thinking of him and loving him. And after this big build-up I gave him the news I hoped he’d hang onto to get him through the tough times. “Andrew.” I said, “whenever we are apart I am loving you and caring about you and holding you in my heart, the whole time.” And with this I pointed to my heart. “Do you understand what I am saying? I hold you right here in my heart whenever we are apart. Don’t forget that. Remember that when we are not together. Okay?”
After that there were no more tears when I dropped him off at preschool. In fact, reports from Mrs. Bucher were that he was fine, and that he’d even given her the whole explanation of my love for him, complete with the mention of me holding him in my heart.