Transitioning Schools Again

Can you believe we’ve been in Madison a little over 4 months now? Time flies when it’s -20 degrees outside!

When we first pulled into town, we had a lot of settling in to do. One of the big things we needed to find was daycare. As much as Andy loved staying home with the boys during the day – and I say that with and without sarcasm; full-time stay-at-home parents will understand the nuance there – we needed to find childcare arrangements for them so Andy could get his job hunt underway.

Only, it wasn’t as straightforward as we’d hoped. Center-based daycares aren’t as prevalent here. There is an in-home network of daycares, but we struggled to find one that could take both boys. You see, different regulations are in place for kids under 2 and for kids over 2. We obviously have both. And in-home daycares that had two full-time openings who had certifications to watch both age groups were scarce. And those who were available weren’t great about returning phone calls.

Thankfully, my company hooked us up with a relocation assistance agency, and childcare arrangements are one of the things that they will help with. Our agency found us *one* school that could take both boys. And it was reasonably close to our apartment. We did a bit of Internet researching and found that reviews from parents were overall quite positive.


Now, however we are in our house, which is not really near our apartment, by Madison standards anyway. Once we knew where we’d be setting down roots for the long term, we started evaluating daycares in the area. We found one. (Again, not many center-based daycares here.) It’s sort of perfect. The director is great. The curriculum and values are right in line with what we hope for in a school. The menu is fabulous – whole grains, fresh fruits, the whole bit. The facility looks good – and they’re even breaking ground on a brand new building, just catty corner across the street, that should be done this September.

Of course they had a waiting list until June of this year. But we got on it, because six months of a longer daycare commute is better than an indefinitely long daycare commute. I mean, look at the difference here.

School Trip

No brainer.

And guess what? We got some great news yesterday – one of the families that attends that daycare is moving, so two spots have opened up for our guys!

I was so excited I told Graham about it while he was making my coffee this morning.

“Guess what, buddy? You and Reid are going to be starting a new school soon!”

He looked at me, deadly silent. Face drawn. Then his cheeks started to flush and his eyes filled with tears. His bottom lip started quivering.

“But, but,” he said, his voice tight, “but… I don’t want to leave Miss Tricia.” The tears started spilling down his cheeks. He was trying to hold it together, and it made me start welling up.

I tried meekly to reassure him. I hadn’t really thought through my announcement. We have to give 4 weeks notice at his current daycare, so this transition won’t even happen for quite awhile (in Graham-terms anyway). He’s been younger for all his other big transitions. It stands to reason he would eventually hit an age and an awareness that this wouldn’t all just roll off his back. And hit that age, we have. Apparently.

Andy and I asked him if he could tell us what he’s feeling – why he feels upset – so we could talk about it.

“I’m just.. I’m nervous… that I’ll be.. shy.

Words that just broke my heart into little tiny pieces. Because he found just absolutely the perfect words for it. He worries. He’s anxious. That he’ll be by himself. He won’t know anybody. Won’t have any friends to run off with and play together. That he will have to screw up the courage to talk to someone and risk being rejected or laughed at. Being told to go away. Because these are the things that he deals with every day. The stories that he tells when he comes home from school are stories of relationships. And who was nasty to him. And who smiled at him at naptime and made him feel happy. Who tackles him all the time. He gets it. Heck, he LIVES it.

Basically, he used to go to daycare but, all of the sudden, now he goes to school.

Graham has these bursts of eloquence that are so beyond his chronological age. Or at least what I expect from a just-turned-four-year-old. This could totally be in the realm of normal. But regardless, the only course of action after the exchange we’d just had is a long hug where he could bury his face in my shoulder and cry about the teacher and friends he would miss and have to say good-bye too.

Being four is just hard sometimes.


  1. Poor little cutie :( 

  2. Grandpa Craig says:

    His Uncle Brian was always upset when he had to undergo change.  It’s a stressful and difficult time for parents to watch them struggle with these things.  You did the right thing. You gave him the shoulder to cry on when he needed it the most.  Maybe some of the kids in your area go there. 

  3. Grandma Sue says:

    Some of the most stressful times for me as a parent was when the boys had to change schools. Hopefully with a little time and lots of love and reassurance this will all work out. Poor little guy!

  4. Thanks guys. I think it’s hard for us to make this choice with it being so optional because Graham has such an amazing teacher here that he loves. Knowing the struggles he’s had before in school, we *completely* lucked out this time! Here’s hoping the next one is good too!

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