People told me it was just a phase, but like many things when you are a Mom, when you are in the middle of a phase, it seems like it will never end. I had terrible visions of a child who would never want to leave me and would be left in the school playground crying while all the other children had fun.
Of course, in the end, it was just a phase and about six months later he started to grow out of it and became more social. Now, he has several friends he likes to spend time with and is much more confident in social situations. I still worried though, that he wouldn't be able to do anything without me, such a constant have I been in his life. With school on the horizon I hoped that he would be okay on his own, but inside I was still panicking about him being that child crying at the school gate.
In the past few weeks though he has proved me wrong big time. It started with a train journey. After a fun session at our Playcentre one of the other moms was taking her son and another boy home on the train - a short journey back to our town. These boys were both friends with Monkey but we had our car so I was planning to drive back. She said to Monkey that maybe one time he could go on the train with them and he decided that was the time, there and then. I was apprehensive and waited near the train station in case he changed his mind, but the next time I saw him was at the station at the other end after a successful journey.
This term at Playcentre, I've also been able to leave Monkey on session by himself rather than having to stay to look after him.
And then, as if those things weren't enough to start allaying my fears, he decided to stay overnight with his grandparents. This might not seem like a big deal to many people, but our family all lives overseas so Monkey only sees his grandparents for about six weeks every year. He has spent plenty of time alone with them but we have always been slightly reluctant for him to stay overnight in case he got scared in the middle of the night. This visit, though he decided that he wanted to stay overnight so we took the plunge and packed his bag.
He did it and he was fine.
The upside of this was that Hubby and I found ourselves with an impromptu date night. It felt strange but we made the most of it and ate dinner at somewhere other than our house for the first time in ages. We walked to the local restaurant and we walked back even though it was really late and we both had a drink because neither of us had to get up the following morning and play with Lego.
We did it all over again the following weekend when Monkey decided he wanted to stay out again.
And bit by bit, my school gate fears are subsiding. My little Monkey is becoming independent. And it is great. After all, much as we might want to hold on to them forever, our role as parents is to nurture our children so they can live independently and stand on their own two feet. Based on the past few weeks I think Monkey is well on his way to achieving that.
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