Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Whopping Dose of Mommy Guilt

Summer is an interesting time here in the land of Israel. Basically, the school year runs from September 1-June 30 every year, regardless of what day of the week those days fall out (unless they are a Saturday). From July 1-July 21 (again, regardless of day of week), most nursery schools/kindergartens run camps in the school with the same teachers. That was the case for Big and Little this summer. Yesterday was their last day. It's always a big ordeal to figure out what to do for the end of July and all of August as there are very few options and they are all very expensive. Someone told me recently that the month of August can cost more than the entire rest of the school year--and it's certainly true!! I paid a grand total of about 700 Shekels (that is approximately $184) for Big's entire year of Pre-Kindergarten. The month of August will cost me 1560 Shekels ($410)--more than double. How insane is that??
Anyway, I was happy to have found things for both kids for the next 2 weeks or so. Big is going to a camp run by 2 of my friends at one of their homes. It's perfect--many of his friends are going and drop off this morning was a piece of cake. He looked a bit shy for a minute, but then he ran off to play and didn't even look back to wave goodbye to me.
And then I took Little to his new camp. And here's where the Mommy guilt comes in. Little will be 3 in a couple of weeks and he is NOT so great when it comes to transitions and new places. He was so happy at his school and went every day with a big smile on his face and I felt fine leaving him there. His teacher was amazing and started every day with big hugs and kisses and I always knew that he was safe, loved and well-cared for there. When I was trying to figure out what to do with him after his school/camp ended, my friend A suggested that I send him to the place where her son J goes. J is just a couple of months older than Little and they are good friends. I thought that would be a perfect solution and I spoke to the teacher, Bella, and got it all worked out. Then I took him there this morning for his first day. He was, obviously, screaming and clinging to me and freaked out because he didn't know where the hell he was. Bella's response: "I really don't have time for this kind of crying today." Excuse me?????? I almost just turned around and walked out at that point, but I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she is just your typical tactless Israeli (pardon the stereotype but it is so true...one day I will write a post on the culture shock I still experience almost daily after being here for 2 years!). The 2 other women who work there were both extremely nice (and Bella herself was fine other than that one comment) and were trying to get him to calm down and play with them. I had forgotten his bag in the car, so I left him screaming to go get it. I drove around the block a couple of times to take more time to give him more time to calm down and when I went back, Bella met me outside and said he had stopped crying and I should go. I left and cried the whole way home! I just feel so guilty for leaving him somewhere where he clearly didn't want to be and where I didn't necessarily feel secure that he would be well taken care of. I called my friend A who was appalled that Bella would have made that comment, but confirmed my suspicion that she is completely tactless and says whatever she is thinking.
I just called to check in and one of the other teachers said he cried for about 3 minutes after I left and now he is fine. She said he's not playing with other kids yet, but he is willing to play with her and he seems happy. I'm going to pick him up early and we'll try again tomorrow. Hopefully it will be ok. It's just not going to be worth it if it takes him a week to adjust and then a week after that, it's over!


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