Now that the other Waldorf parent my age has dropped out of Ti’s preschool, the period of “adjustment” is setting in and apparently a lot of the kids are anxious and antsy as they explore their social network and feel the effects of a social pecking order. This is part of why I chose this preschool…a static group of children to interact with all year long in a child-focused (play and imagination over “schooling”) environment. Aptly enough, one of the class chickens also discovered that he is a rooster last week and he is crowing every 5 minutes. But I think all of the parents are not only older than me, but wealthier (much, I’m afraid, either that or I just lack a female fasdhion gene), new agier and seem to be more “coddlier” toward their kids. Even though every child in Ti’s preschool is a youngest sibling or an only child, so I had presumed they would be less coddled. But alas, I think too many of these parents, while genuinely caring about their kids’ socialization and development are a little too involved. Do we really need to discuss how the kids are “adapting” after preschool? Why can’t we just let them be kids and talk about autumn, or Halloween, or the presidential debates…I mean half the parents have JK bumper stickers like us, are they really so bored that whether their kids are playing kissing games, being teased for being blond, or being left out of the “boys’ games?” I feared that maybe I wasn’t showing the proper level of concern, so I pulled the teacher aside briefly to ask how Ti was doing and she told me about the climate of general insecurity in all the kids. That’s enough for me, I know sometimes it will be my daughter’s turn to be ostracized for having, I dunno, curly hair, and another day she will be playing super hero games with the boys and a girlfriend will feel discluded. So fucking what? Isn’t this normal? I am nervous about this same thing going on in later public school years, but I’m looking at all these liberal yuppie parents and wondering just how much protectiveness they think is good for their kids. I sent my daughter to preschool because I wanted her to have a safe place to explore socializing with the peer pressure, commercialism, and other -isms that will come later whether she’s in public school or no school at all. But I think that the most important part of her learning right now is that she’s not always “right” or wanted or liked or special, even though she is loved at home. She’s learning to argue with people and stand up for herself, she’s learning how to dialogue about her feelings and sort them out, I wish I didn’t get the sneaking suspicion that many of her fellow students’ parents want to protect them from their own feelings completely. And yet I am smug enough to think it will give my daughter a great advantage toward expressing herself confidently and without the same insecurites I imagine being unintentionally projected onto some of her classmates. I presume many schoolchildren around the country, Waldorf or not, are feeling this way, yes?
And to clarify, I believe in teaching justice to my daughter, I don’t advocate letting her become a bully, but there are such things as confidence, assertiveness, and integrity that are super important to me and I wish that the other kids had parents that were less interested in prying into the lives of their kids and making them self-conscious of stuff I frankly don’t think is very important. Teasing is not okay, lying is not okay, and in some instances I’ve heard about this week, the precious feelings of these kids seem to be concerning parents more than those behaviours that lead to hurt feelings. One mother advocated lying to her daughter this morning (which the teacher and I both pointed out was probably deceitful), while I suspect another girl is teasing other girls about their appearrances because her mother probably tried to praise her own looks (about hair color, for fuck’s sake)in a way she didn’t realize could be construed as a put-down to other kids. If my daughter gets told that someone doesn’t want to play with her, she may have hurt feelings, but she accepts it, I don’t coddle her at home and tell her the kids or mean or that she’s any better than them…grr. But maybe I should ’cause I’m startign to feel kinda self-righteous now. Fuck, and I gotta go clean for a playdate with one of the kids I was just ranting about.
We are having a Halloween party here from 2-5 and doing dinner and neighborhood trick-or-treating afterwards and I hope some of you can join us and even meet some of these kids from her school, I really do like them, I think I just feel inferior sometimes, especially because I don’t live in Wedgwood and I am flat ass broke right now and I do not wear hip shoes and hats to drop my kid off at school. In fact, I often feel self-conscious for showing up in my bloody jeans. Yes, I bled all over my jeans. Mmm, bleeding is so good.