Thursday, August 19, 2010

That's What I Get For Thinking Out Loud...

So my little aside that we were thinking of letting Ben help make the decision about changing schools has generated some thoughts. I brought it up with friends last night and again today over the phone with a couple more. Wow, I didn't think that "thinking out loud" would generate interest.

The boys fell asleep in the car after the outdoor movie we attended tonight. We proceeded talk over the options and make a decision. Bill is going in early to meet with the Director (again)the other classroom teacher. Letting Ben "decide" was not the plan, rather that I wanted to gage what he thought once we checked out the new setting. There's stupid parenting mistakes and then letting your kid run the show.

I had already preplanned to take Ben back to introduce him to his new teachers today and see his new classroom. We went this afternoon and lucky me the firehouse next door were washing the trucks. So before and after the visit we sat and watched and talked while Ian napped. I think Ben is expecting firetruck fun everyday at the new school.

Here are the options:
Start at a new school for his final year of preschool or return to the school he was at last year. Both days will run 8:30-3:00 are are around the same price.

Pro- New Scho
ol. Seriously closer as in no more 1 hr round trip commutes, more transparency in what they are doing (workbooks, "homework", parent involvement is required), lead teacher has years of preschool experience and is focused on getting the K ready, computer in the classroom that is used for more than gaming, inside play area for cold/wet days, school lunch is provided.

Negatives- This is 3 schools in 3 years and while I agree kids are adaptable, Ben is a creature of habit more so that I think people realize. Getting him out of any routine = major ugly meltdown. While I have mentioned that this summer has been tough I will likely never publicly post how bad it had gotten or to the extent I feel I crossed the proverbial parenting line to reel him in.

I simply do not want to set up a situation that then takes months to recover from or pushes him back into negative behavior. Today when we visited, Ben was shy, hesitant to join in and later told me he didn't like the teachers. I know that given time he would adjust so I want to give him every chance to adapt and make the change be positive. Adapting to change is a social skill to be learned on the way to Kindergarten and

Pros on going back to the Old School
- Ben had an amazing teacher experience with Ms. Becki, he knows the routine and how Montessori works, a huge focus with this method is teaching self-control, there are monthly field trips (which I can now go on) and monthly walks to the library. There is a lot of outdoor time which he needs.

While I can recreate much of the pros, there is something to be said of doing it as a class. If I need care past 3:30 then it's always an option on a day by day basis. If we decide we wanted one of the 8 spots for Ian at 18 months staying there is about our only way to get him in. Most importantly, I know Ben was loved on the most difficult days this year.

Cons- the drive, the feeling that sometimes I wonder just what he did as there as there is not a weekly report in the way I expected, his best friend has moved to K and Ben has been very upset in a way I have never seen him. Part of me thinks going back to this school is just a daily reminder that this friend is never going to be in his class again and that too is a lesson I don't want to have relive every single day.

The visit today was so -so. It was a lukewarm reception today, reaction to teacher bordered bad based on his comments later. Hearing that the indoor play area is not always a weekly thing will be crushing to him as I think it's the only card I can play to keep him interested and willing to try something new.

SO as of now unless something drastically changes after Bill's visit tomorrow am, Ben is going to do 2 trial days when we return and hopefully make the change. Damn, I don't want to be classified as one of those, "the grass is always greener parents", but Bill and I just want to make sure that we did everything we could to set him up for a successful year. I think I am going to get t-shirts printed that say, "parenting is not for pussies." Want one?


Anonymous said...

I seriously want one of those tee shirts.

Not only does every single aspect of parenting stress me out (which I often do to myself by choosing to do things the least convenient/mainstream way), but I swear like a sailor and use the word pussy way too often. As in, "I'm glad the swim teacher dunked Nina three times in a row without warning because I can't believe she won't even blow bubbles in the water, this is her 5th swimming lesson and OMG OMG I don't care if she's afraid of getting her hair wet, my daughter is NOT going to be a pussy." (In my defense, we have a pond on our property and the girl needs to learn how to swim, dammit.)

Or, "I don't care if she picked up a garden snake, I told her to put it down, it's a GARDEN SNAKE and she is NOT going to be some scaredy-cat pussy who's afraid of spiders, snakes, and the like."

When I get her therapy bill in about 20 years for warping her with my Tough Love, I'll just put on my "parenting is not for pussies" shirt and pay up.

Did you hear the TAL about superheroes? I would be so psyched if my daughter had that awesome list like the chick in Act II. Not gonna happen, but it would be so rad.

LauraC said...

I would think the majority of the craziness of this summer is the MASSIVE transition from 1-2. Ben was used to being the only kid and getting all your attention, getting lots of alone time. Then Ian comes along and he needs a lot of stuff and Ben got left to do his own thing.

The thing is, you have to decide what makes YOU a better parent. 10 hours a week driving in a car to take him to school is probably not going to give you more energy at the end of the day. And now you know he doesn't do as well adapting and you can focus some extra time on him during this transition.

My boys have always done SUPER CRAPPY when transitioning to new rooms, we have about a month of tears and terrible schedule and night waking from Alex and terrible behavior at home. We know the transition will be tough so we plan for it and make sure they get plenty of down time and extra time with us to compensate. No running them to the grocery store after school, no dragging them on errands, we just bring them home, eat dinner, and hang out so they have consistency at school.

I've heard as they get bigger the problems only get bigger. Sounds true to me!

Beth C. said...

Sign me up for a t-shirt!

Parenting sucks alot of the time. I agree with your friend that 10 hours in the car each week only make YOU crazy and not a great mother. Just remember that while it's important for Ben to be happy it's also important for you to be happy. That's my 2cents! :)

Good luck with your decision.