When changes are coming around the pike, Selam gets sticky.
On the one hand, she needs the forewarning. She needs time to talk about the situation. She needs to come up with what will be fun and to plan for it, and to think through her worries and talk those out. On the other hand, preparing for change is just hard for her.
She gets sticky.
She wants to sit on my lap all the time. She wants to snuggle right up next to my skin. She wants to sleep draped across my back, my breaths raising her little head in a predictable rhythm.
There is one week left of “regular” Pre-K. After that half of her group is leaving. Most of them are staying right at the JCC, going up the hill for a summer day camp with the “big kids.” Selam isn’t 5 yet, so she isn’t eligible, and even if she were, I want her to stay in her little room with her wonderful teachers. The summer program proves to be lots of fun and excitement as it is. The kids will take swimming lessons 4 days a week, twice at the day camp outdoor pool, and twice indoors. They’ll picnic at the day camp twice a week, and stay in their familiar classroom for the other three days. With half the number of kids and the same three teachers, there will be lots of attention and lots of room.
But it’s a change, and changes come hard. The kids that are moving to the big kid day camp are so excited they could burst. They talk about it all the time. And that gets Selam going. Every night we have to review who is going to big kid camp and who is staying in her room. And every night we have to re-establish that none of the teachers are leaving. Last night she held my face in her little hands and said, “promise me you won’t ever go to the big kid camp without me.”
It’s an attachment thing, maybe. It’s just when she starts trusting the ground beneath her feet that it starts to move again, so she grabs out for the thing that seems the least likely to move. I wish she trusted with all her heart that I would never leave, never go to the big kid camp, never die. She’s not there yet. For now, she just hangs on to me, weighing me down so that if the winds of change were to blow, at least we’d fly away together.
I’m not going anywhere without you, baby. Never, never, never.