DS is 2.5 and just started a 3x week preschool program. Normally I WOH but I am on maternity leave so have been able to start the school year with him while my mom watches DD. He was excited and nervous to start school and for the first three sessions he ran into the classroom with barely a glance behind him. I was thrilled! The school has us stay right outside the classroom for the first two sessions. The third session I told him I was leaving and he was like, OK! And didn’t seem to even notice when I came back (along with the other parents) before class was over.

The fourth session (last Friday), however, I left right at drop off and came back at the end of class only to find him mid-meltdown wanting mommy. They told me it was just the very tail end of class that he was upset and he had otherwise done great so I was optimistic for today. Over the weekend we talked about being excited for school but didn’t want to make too big a deal of it. But today immediately upon getting to school he started wimpering that he didn’t want to miss me, then that he wanted to go home. I stayed outside the classroom for awhile until he was engrossed, then tried to leave, which caused a full meltdown. The teachers felt it was best for me to just leave at that point so I did, got a coffee, and then waited outside the school building (where I said I’d be) so they could come get me if needed. He made it probably 40 minutes but then during a transition in from playing outside started crying again so they came and got me. He told me he wanted to leave but when I reassured him I would stay outside the classroom he raced right back in for snack and didn’t check on me again.

With apologies for the novel, I also noticed the last two classes that immediately upon returning home he squatted down to try to poop in his diaper. He very often has a mid-morning poop, so part of me wonders if this isn’t partially because he doesn’t want to poop at school but he’s uncomfortable and needs to. I really have no idea what to do about this part! Breakfast is currently as late as it can be—do we move breakfast earlier? We have a late-ish bedtime so I really don’t like to wake him up any earlier than he’s currently getting up!

Any tips?! I’m at a bit of a loss! I wish I knew what magic words to say to remind him how much fun he was having at school. Anyone been through this and have tips for separation that work? We were also considering having my husband do drop off in hopes that he’ll be less clingy and won’t have the option of me sticking around, but I’m not sure if that change-up makes sense. Of course in the back of my mind is the fact that I’m returning to work in three weeks and if this is how he reacts when I’m gone for 40 minutes, I’m really worried about dropping him off when I’m then headed to work all day ...

Wisdom/guidance/commiseration would all be much appreciated!