I don’t know what it is about my children. Though they are very different, they have one thing in commomn: they always cry when I leave them at ‘school’ (Kindergarten and Nursery have always been referred to as school at DG Manor. I’ve no idea why anymore.) Before you start thinking that I am a Bad Mother (and I am, regularly) they LOVE school. They excitedly ask if it’s a school day when they wake up, and LBG happily puts her uniform on when it’s time. They walk holding my hand, and go in through the door talking excitedly about what they will do today and who their latest ‘best friend’ is.
And yet, the moment I come to leave, there are always tears. Not just little tears either, but the kind of tears that make you feel like you have sold your child into slavery. The kind of tears that have you taking deep breaths and maybe even sobbing a little yourself on the way back to the car.
I know that they are very happy at school. The end-of-day reports are always positive. they both join in, play with other children, boss the teachers around, all the stuff that you would expect. They eat their lunch, learn new things and are always sitting nicely when I come to collect them. They tell me happily about their days, eat a good tea, and go to bed exhausted. Only for it all to begin again the following day.
I have a very short routine, as the teachers and Nursery Nurses recommend: I take off their coats, sign them in, make sure they have everything. I give them a big cuddle and a kiss, tell them I love them, hope they have a good day and remind them that I will be back later to collect them. Then I leave so as not to prolong the torture for everyone. But it doesn’t seem to be enough.
In my online searches for something, anything, to help the situation, I came across the Kissing Hand inspired craft. I’d never come across the book before but ordered it right away and have been reading it with The Girls regularly. I knew that a card craft wasn’t really what I needed, that it needed to be something soft and cuddly, and came up with the idea to sacrifice an old blankie to the cause. I used these when The Girls were babies and transferred to their own rooms: conventional wisdom suggest that you put in their cot something that smells of you, such as an old t-shirt you’ve slept in for a couple of days, to help settle them in their new environment. As I wasn’t going to have my daughter towing a skanky old t-shirt around with her, I used a swaddling blanket, slept with it for few days and The Girls have been Blankie Girls ever since.
So I spent a night sleeping with an old blankie then, using my own hand as a template, cut out two hands 1/4″ larger than the template (to allow for seams). I did the same with a handtowel I found in a charity shop. Then I paired up the blankie and towel hands, and stitched them together right side out. To avoid the frayed edges, could sew them right-sides together, leave a gap, turn them right side out, and sew up the gap, but I really like the rough edges.
Now I load them up with kisses every morning, and leave each girl with their soft Mamma-shaped hand in the classroom. The teachers have told me that it does seem to help, and LBG in particular, likes to smooth the hand out on her chair before sitting on it so that it helps her work!