not himself

Greg and I have been talking recently about how well Elliot is doing at daycare. Compared to a year ago, he’s like a different boy. He enthusiastically goes into the classroom in the mornings, he’s got a couple of kids he really likes to play with, and he seems to be connecting with all three of his teachers.

Until two weeks ago.

For the past couple of weeks, things have been different. When I pick him up he’s often been playing in a corner by himself, or just watching for me. He is much more tentative when we drop him off, and his teachers have said he’s been having a tough time. Not all the time, but he goes up and down throughout the day. And he’s not very communicative with them when he’s not happy, so they haven’t been able to figure out what is wrong.

There’s been a few things going on. One of his teachers left for surgery and will be gone for three months. But she was replaced by another teacher Elliot knows, and I think he likes her. And he definitely likes his other two teachers. One of his friends has been sick for over a week. And Elliot himself hasn’t been feeling all that great. He’s had a sore throat and a cough for at least a week.

I’ve tried to talk to him about it, and he did at one point say he missed Jacob (his friend), but I think I prompted him on that one. And Jacob’s been back for two days now and I don’t see a difference. I haven’t talked about his missing teacher because if he’s not upset about her leaving, I don’t want to put the thought in his head. Yesterday we talked about his sad feelings a bit and he did tell me he missed me during the day. Fair enough, but why is that all of a sudden making him sad?

I’m really struggling with this, as I want to fix it. Now. Especially since he was so happy before. I have to bite my tongue to keep digging, trying to figure out what is wrong. There’s only so much digging you can do with a four-year-old. Plus I don’t want to fixate on it, as I don’t think that’s healthy. It’s not that I want to ignore it, but I think I should be focusing on the positive too.

I don’t think it’s something terribly wrong, because he isn’t crying and clinging to my legs during dropoff, and often when I ask him what his favourite part of his day was, it’s something from daycare. Plus his general behaviour hasn’t changed much. I think if something was really wrong we’d see something at home.

Perhaps it’s just a combination of things. He’s a sensitive kid, both emotionally and physically, so when you add up a teacher leaving with missing a friend and feeling sick yourself, it doesn’t make for an entirely happy kid.

I am finding it hard to balance how much I should talk to him about it, and what I should say when we do talk. Greg pointed out that we should encourage him to talk to his teachers if he’s feeling upset about something, which is very true.

At any rate, I’m hoping things improve soon. He and Amy are spending the weekend with Gramma and that’s always a perk for him.

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