They told me it would happen to me, too. Every working mom I know warned me that it was just a matter of time before drop-off turned into a heart-wrenching experience.
He never cried about school until the beginning of last week, when suddenly he began to dread the mornings. He starts crying as soon as we pull up to the building and he begs me to take him home, begs me not to leave him there.
As we walk up to the door, he clings to my neck as tightly as his little arms can manage and buries his face in my chest. He pleads and cries while I unpack his bag and swap his boots for slippers, and when I do have to leave, a teacher must help pull him off me and try to distract him while I run for the door.
It breaks my heart every day. I spend all day preoccupied with thoughts of him missing me — maybe he’s sad, maybe he’s worried I’ll never come back for him. It makes me feel like a monster, but the truth of it is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how much he cries or how much he wishes he could stay with me, I still must take him to school and leave him there, because mommy needs to go to work.
The moment I can, I sprint out of work to get him. I run from my car to the door of the school to see his face, and he is always happy at the end of the day. I always find him smiling among the group of children, playing a game, or watching a story.
He tells me every afternoon that he had a great day and talks about his new friendships and the projects he did that day. I have no reason to believe he really is miserable at school, so hopefully this phase ends quickly — my heart can’t take much more.
To make myself feel better, I smother him with affection and praise when he’s with me, and I wake up extra early to cook him a hot breakfast and pack his healthy lunch.
One of his favorite breakfasts is French toast, and this lovely brioche makes the most delicious French toast I could ever serve to my precious little boy.
6 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
¾ cup warm milk
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
Make the sponge. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the hook attachment, combine the milk, 1 cup of flour, the sugar and the yeast. Cover with plastic and let sit for 1 hour.
After the hour is up, add the remaining flour, salt and 6 eggs.
Beat with the hook attachment on low speed for 10 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl every couple minutes. When the dough is done, it should be sticky and elastic.
While the mixer is still running on low speed, add the butter one piece at a time, waiting until each piece is incorporated before adding the next. This should take about 10 more minutes. The dough should be tacky but not stick to dry fingers.
Cover again and let rise for 1 hour.
Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces, roll those pieces out into snakes, then attach at the top and braid down. Tuck the ends beneath the loaf.
Cover and allow the braid to rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Right before baking, brush the surface with an egg wash made from the remaining egg.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until it is firm and springy and well browned on top.