Sunday, March 25, 2012

K's Point of View: Saying Goodbye

Who likes goodbyes? In whatever form it may arrive in - nobody likes them. Hence - I tried to make K's first goodbye as easy as possible. After all, she's barely 3 years old. The nanny who took care of her since birth was scheduled to leave a month after Christmas, just 3 months shy of K's 3rd birthday. Two weeks before ETD, I started prepping K. Now K has never been attached to her yaya, like some kids can be. Yaya's day off was never a problem for me. However, Yaya W was a familiar face to her - a personality that has been part of her entire life. I needed to make sure she does not get traumatized by her yaya suddenly going away.

Me: K, you will have a new yaya soon, ok. 
K: (with mouth turned down) Why mommy?
Me: Yaya W has to go back to her mommy in the province. Her mommy misses her already. (Of course, that was not the real reason.)
K: Ok mommy. (Nods quietly, then...) But I like Yaya W.
Me: I know, but she has to go back to her mommy. I will change your yaya, and look for a nice yaya who will still play with you, ok? Your new yaya will be Yaya A.
K: Ok mommy... but Yaya W is my yaya, eh.
Me: Yes K... but her mommy is looking for her already, so she has to go back to her mommy. Mommy will still be here to take care of you too, right? So, we can let yaya go home? Yaya A is nice also and will take care of you.

This conversation is repeated several times in the course of the next 2 weeks, in various iterations. I don't mention to K when Yaya W will be leaving. I also don't make a big fuss about D Day - just treating every day like a normal day. The weekend before D Day, the new nanny started substituting for Yaya W. Finally on D Day - Yaya W leaves while K was still asleep, just like she would do on her days off. The difference is that, on this day, she will not come back. (For her part, I think Yaya W also had some sense in her mind that she will not traumatize K with a tearful goodbye. In her line of work - it seemed to me she has been used to leaving her ward after 2-3 years.)

Fast forward to last week, when I met with K's toddler school teacher who advised me to prep K that she will have a new teacher for summer school. So again, I have my grown up discussion with K. 

Me: K, you know Teacher K will not be your teacher anymore when you go to summer school. You will have a new teacher.
K: She will go home to her mama na? Like my Yaya W? You know, my Yaya W went home to her mommy - because her mommy miss her na. 
Me: No, K, it's because you are almost 3 years old, and you are finished with Toddler classes. You will go to nursery soon.
K: Ok mommy. What's the name of my new teacher?

At this point, I realize that my daughter was indeed not traumatized at all by her first goodbye. I also realize that she is wiser beyond her almost 3 year old self.