Thursday, February 02, 2012

Manic Mornings & Pre-K Blues

I wish I was a morning person, up with the lark at 6am and singing a happy tune as I got ready for work. I'd have at least an hour to get organized and see to the animals before waking up the boys and I wouldn't get stressed out. But alas, I am a night-owl and mornings see me drag myself out of bed begrudgingly, wondering if it's possible to shower and see to the animals and get both boys awoken dressed , fed and out the door in 40 minutes (I can do that by the way, but it involves completely ignoring myself in terms of dressing & eating). This morning was particularly manic and I could really have done without cleaning up cat barf as well. I also realized (half-way to work) that I had dropped Danny off at pre-school and forgotten to give him any breakfast. One blessing I suppose is that he isn't a big eater and probably didn't think about it. Maybe he was motivated enough at snack time to wash his hands too, without being coerced by his teachers. Still, it's not a parenting moment that I'm proud of.

Talking of pre-k, we have some decisions to make. Danny hates it with a passion and complains bitterly each morning when he knows he has to go. It's quite strict and even though I am strict myself and want him to get ready for kindergarten, I also want him to have fun. He's three and I think he should be spending his time laughing and having fun. If we put him in a learning environment at this age that's boring and stern I'm fairly sure he's not going to embrace it anytime soon. One of his teachers doesn't even crack a smile and today I tried very hard to remember anything positive that she's said about him and I can't think of one. Not one. Every day it's "he didn't have a great day" or "he wouldn't ..... (fill in the blank)". The second teacher in the room is very smiley and nice by the way.

I know that he's headstrong but he's polite, loving and would never ever hurt another child or do something very naughty. He just likes to do his own thing and not be forced to do something against his will. There are about 12 kids in the class and it's expected that they all sit down and listen, or all sit down and do a craft and he just says "no". So the question is - how does a teacher handle that? As his mum, I can tell you that it takes unwavering discipline, reason and kindness. I also pick my battles and sometimes the red curtain comes down and I turn into Momzilla but that's another story. The easy way out is to ignore him, let him do what he wants and then complain about him. I have an uneasy feeling that's what's happening here, perhaps because they are busy and can't spend too much time just with one little stinker.

For example, on Tuesday when I went to get him he was stood by the loo, holding himself and crying big, real tears. The teacher told me very sternly that he had been putting lots of toilet paper down the toilet. I told her equally sternly that he's never done that at home (probably because I sit with him, you know, seeing as he's just potty training). Danny told me that he needed to use the potty and she said no - he's just putting paper down the loo. Now I don't want to be the kind of mum that questions the teacher (God knows, they have a hard job. I know because I am one) but he's learning to use the loo, he's mischievous and needs watching but there is no need to be unkind and make him cry. Our Jack's pre-school teacher was the kindest woman to walk the earth and I hoped all pre-k teachers would be like that. I'll just have to have a chat with her at the next conference & take it from there.

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