There is nothing like a rough daycare drop off to just rock one's day. My day began with a child refusing to get out the car, being carried into the school, and screams of "STUPID MOMMY!" as we passed the babies and toddler rooms. Lots of big eyes on little children following us as we walked past.
Before PANDAS I never realized how awful the concept of school can feel. Knowingly walking away from a child in a rage and leaving her for the whole day with other adults goes against every parenting instinct in my body.
I've been one of those professionals distracting, comforting, and holding the enraged child, and so I know that usually the child calms down after the parent leaves and all is well. Usually. When my children were infants my daycare provider used to text pictures of their happy faces ten minutes after I left so that I would know they were already happily engaged in their day. What I would give for that type of tearful drop-off anxiety again. That was typical - the kind every child goes through.
Now, as I leave, I have no idea if the rage that was directed at me will now be directed at her teachers or friends. Will the Motrin kick in and reduce the brain inflammation, or will she continue to hold onto her angry feelings?
If she remains angry, how do I know the adults will react appropriately? Us PANDAS parents know just how much rage our children can incite in us, and we love these kids and know what's going on. With teachers? How do we know that our child's behavior won't bring out the worst in the teacher? How can we be confident that our child won't be treated harshly, physically picked up with too much force, or yelled at inappropriately? We know just how bad our children's behavior can be - it requires a very calm adult to react in a way that will allow for the child to become calm and develop new skills from the experience. How do I know that my child won't be learning to identify herself as a "bad kid" from how the school reacts to her behavior?
I don't. I have to trust. Whether or not trust is the right answer is unknown.
I pull my car out of the parking lot, and send prayers of strength to my child's teachers and prayers of calmness to my child. Please, please let today be a good day. Let today's anger dissipate and let there be the giggles, happy play, and love of school that is typical for preschoolers.