Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The Apple

The enchanting Elizabeth (Lily) started 'camp' this week. The programs runs for 2.5 hours each morning this week at the town farm. She did great the first day, and the second day saying goodbye was a bit more difficult. She was OK once she learned that they were going to have a turtle race. We are enrolled for several more one week programs this summer in preparation for preschool which starts in September. In order to understand my emotional rollercoaster you need to read about our brief preschool experience last year: Lily was 2.5 years old, and I found a preschool with a 2.5 hour program 2 days a week. Well, she wasn't ready (and neither was I). We struggled for 3 weeks, trying to have her stay for 1/2 hour at a time while she cried and yawned continuously. Since then I've realized that she yawns when she is very stressed. I sat in my car and tried to read, but usually cried. One day she stayed for 2 hours without tears. I came to pick her up and stood outside with all the other parents. The kids filed out between the head teacher and her assistant. Each kid was given an apple ornament (it was "A" day) as a reminder of what they learned that day. When Lilster came out with her backpack on and carrying her lunchbox, she was so excited to see me that she ran right past the teacher giving apples. She squealed and told me how she was brave and didn't cry. I was so proud I was teary-eyed. I suggested that she go and ask the teacher for her apple ornament. That head teacher dangled it up just over my kid's head, then closed it up in her fist saying "Lily's going to have to work harder to get her apple". WTF???? First of all, she's 2.5 years old, and she just spent her first non-traumatic day of preschool away from me. Secondly, she was singled out and not given a reward. She was the only kid. And it was done in front of all the other kids and parents. I was speechless. And, as you can imagine, it is tough to render me speechless. Without a word I left. I was furious by the time I left the parking lot. The more I thought about it, the more angry I got. At first I couldn't decipher whether I was defensive because the cutie is my kid or if that head teacher's style was really not going to agree with my parenting style. But I am a teacher as well, and once I mulled it over for a long time I was good and pissed. John wanted to "go to the school and give that teacher some fucking applesauce!" To top it off, Lily had started to wake at 5am asking whether or not she had to go to school. I stewed about this for several days before I called the head teacher and told her I was pulling Lily out. She didn't say much, but a few days later and envelope arrived from the teacher with a note about how much I owed apple ornament. What could she be thinking? I didn't expend anymore energy trying to figure out this woman. So, I tentatively plan for preschool this fall.


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