Just like that

Wednesday, Tobias and I both went to pick up Theo at Kita. And just like that, his teacher said, “Ich würde sagen, er ist jetzt Eingewöhnt.” He’s now an official Kita-Kind. Eingewöhnung ist vorbei.

THANK GOODNESS. Honestly, it was kind of a stressful time for Tobias and I. The first week and a half of it was wonderful — Theo did a great job, was happy there, everything was going well. And then, all of a sudden, all three of his teachers were sick at the same time. I had to drop him off there when he didn’t know anybody — all of the replacement teachers were new to him (and me). A feeling of chaos reigned that day at drop-off. The director wasn’t there and the substitute teachers didn’t really know what was going on. And then I had to leave and Theo cried. Hardcore. I went outside to the street and I could hear Theo’s hysterical crying through the open window. I called Tobias to let him know how it went, and then I went home and cried, too.

It would have been one thing if he’d cried when I dropped him off with his normal teachers. The ones he’d gotten used to during the first part of his Eingewöhnung. I fully expect there to be periods of time where he will cry at drop-off. But this time it felt different. The Eingewöhnung was supposed to be different. Normally, the new kid is assigned one main contact person there to get used to at the Kita. From the beginning, it wasn’t really clear – neither to us nor the teachers! – who was Theo’s main teacher. And then, when they decided on one, she suddenly wasn’t there for a few days.

It was like Theo was a whole different person. He suddenly became uncharacteristically clingy and cried a lot. He would only eat breakfast there while sitting on Tobi’s lap. He would take two steps away and come back crying. All of the progress we’d made as far as getting him used to things had been undone. Not only undone, but made worse – he had a harder time then than he’d had at the beginning. He had two full days of only wanting to sit on Tobi’s lap. That’s not the outgoing, fearless Theo we know, we started to feel so helpless and hoped so much that things would go better soon. While it’s possible other factors were making this harder for Theo (he caught his first Kita cold and was feeling a little sick, plus he’s working on some molars), the lack of a clear plan of Eingewöhnung mixed with the bad luck of having all of his teachers sick simultaneously made it even worse.

We ended up having to start all over again with the Eingewöhnung. Thankfully, the director got things organized better and made sure that Theo’s contact person would be there for the remainder of the week. That definitely helped. He went right to her when she was there the next day. We gradually were able to leave him there for longer periods of time [again…] and Theo once again warmed up to the situation. Whew. It was a really tough week for all of us. But we made it through.

And today, Theo didn’t even say goodbye or look back when Tobias dropped him off at the door of his classroom. Our little guy is growing up!

This afternoon the Kita is having a party in a nearby park for all of the kids. I’m excited to go to his first “school” event. There will be music and food, and I baked some brownies to bring. I’m looking forward to it.

Happy Friday, everyone.

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