I left Crane at preschool today. There were waaay too many parents there on Tuesday and even though the bumbling politics of parent participation preschool dictate that we need an extra parent to satisfy ratios since she is under 3, there were 2-3 parents staying with their kids on Tuesday anyhow due to clingyness and what the teacher calls “gradual entry.” Personally I think too many of these parents aren’t getting good communication from the teacher (probably because there are too many parents milling around in the morning) about how to transition to preschool without overly “coddling” your child or actually making it worse for them. I see a lot of 3 and 4 year olds doing some pretty heavy parent manipulation, especially those who are only children. And I feel bad for the kids and the parents because its this wicked double bind that’s hard to get out of once your child starts to expect it. But there is a genuinely new guy, I think today was his third day and his mom was there for the first time, I got along well with his dad on Tuesday and I introduced myself and she immediately zeroed in on the fact that I was about to leave my kids and how did they deal with being left and I tried really tactfully to explain that I want my kids to be adaptable, that Crane did a Montessori-style preschool last year before she was two and loved it and leaving her was no problem. Then this new mom says, but even with a new environment, after a move, and I said how every child is different and mine just seem to feel pretty comfortable doing new things. Now I know there are some genuinely spirited and environmentally sensitive children out there, this is not meant to sound like a direct criticism of parenting strategies for those kids…but, Crane is pretty darn special and sensitive too, and I do my darnest to accomodate that, and the fact that she’s blind in one eye and all that too, and that makes me feel its even more important to sort of allow them their independance, to encourage it. I don’t even know how I do it, but I know sometimes I hide my own fears for my kids, because they’ve got plenty of there own. I think about aloofness being an important quality to develop as a parent. Detachment breeds confident kids, especially for girls who I think need the extra “toughness.” And yet I think a lot of “Attachment” parents are looking at my with envy and trying to decide whether they should judge me for it or if its too late to adopt a little themselves.

Yeah, I’ve got an hour free and here I am blogging about the preschool I should be glad I’m not at, especially since I’m the fall registrar now and will see plenty of these people and this school.


11 thoughts on “Preschool!

  1. zab’s not a clinger, either, and firdaus has a real toughass policy that you leave ’em whether they are crying or not, because staying makes it worse.

    i don’t know. it’s hard, i’m like you regarding independence and to a large extent being a sole parent made that both a necessity and also, well, an inevitability. i left her and went to a movie when she was ten days old and at least once a week every week after for the first year. my goal wasn’t just to teach her to rely on herself, but also to know that she can rely on other people besides me. i think when there are two parents in the home this last lesson happens more organically, although i also know a lot of homes where mom does it all and dad is regarded as some kind of friendly interloper.

    anyway, with us i guess i’d say it’s half her personality and half the product of her upbringing so far.

    • although i also know a lot of homes where mom does it all and dad is regarded as some kind of friendly interloper.

      That would be my family 😦 And the worst part is that I think that Bri is willing to do more proper co-parenting but I just don’t trust him (or anyone for that matter) to take proper care of my kids 😦

  2. Ah but isn’t that the thing. If you do the attachment thing right the first few years then they are so much more confident and independant later on.

    I don’t think it’s “aloofness” really though. Aren’t you really just confident in their abilities to manage their lives? A good parenting skill that will last into the adult years.

    I remember when we metyou guys feeling so comfortable with you for just this reason. I could tell right away that I could have poured out my entire theory on parenting to you and you would have totally gotten every little bit of it.

  3. I’m realizing more and more that this “parenting style” is instantly recognizable like a hankerchief code or a secret handshake. My cousin and I were letting our kids play together at a family reunion and we both said something regarding our kids playing together (and she’s a single parent and a daycare teacher) that made us both instantly relax and stop hanging around to “manage” them. You’re right, its not aloofness, but it feels like it in a room full of people expecting you to be intervening all the time. I’m glad you brought up doing attachment early…the toughest thing about AP is remembering to grow and change and adapt when your kids do, and I think the places where I get caught up most are when I get stuck in a rut repeating something that worked 6 months ago, but is no longer neccesary.

    Organic learning, totally. I think I see a lot of homes where there is some blend of mom does it all/both parents share, but maybe I also see the public posturing and don’t realize that it may just be personal insecurity that some parents step up their public nurturing just to fit in or not appear to be the interloper.

  4. Ah…I often wonder how I’m going to deal with Kindy next year. Alan has never done preschool (too much money for us) and I really hope that the leaving him there won’t break me…or him. We talk about it all the time lately and he knows that he’s going to have a teacher and that I won’t be there (sometimes it helps to have a neighbor kid whom he idolizes already in grade school) so I hope he’ll be ok. However, I know that I’ll just be a complete basket case of worry and paranoia 😦

  5. I felt even worse at one of the daycares when I’d drop off my girls with a hug n a kiss n an ILOVEYOU, and I heard one of the other moms say in exasperation “See, Sera and Ana don’t freak out when their mom leaves!”

    I’m actually about to call you, but I’m surfing while I finish eating lunch, ha!

    • That would be why I blogged this. The same mom was asking advice from one of the other parents when I came back and I told her I’d thought a lot about it and I recommended getting the teacher and child involved and ready for the big “all by yourself” day…but mainly I think for her it was about letting go and knowing you’re not a bad parent if your child is a little bit sad after you leave the first time.

      • Heh, mine aren’t either. Is it wrong that I don’t feel this is a sign that my parenting could use some pep? I hope I didn’t step on the toes of any single child families in my post, I realize in some ways this whole phenomenon is partly because family sizes have gone down so much in the last 100 years.

  6. Hell, Thea nearly kicked me out of the daycare the first time I dropped her off. She was 18 months old. My kid has always wanted to do everything by herself and has been fiercly independent from the get go. I am so very happy for this since I have always raised her by myself and most of the time without a single supportive person in my life.

    I have to thank her all the time for being so awesome.

    I have very little patience for people who are constantly hovering around their children and won’t ever allow them to feel sad or angry or needy. Those kids grow up to be assholes.

    • Hooray for Thea. What I see is actually the opposite, folks unintentionally encouraging more emotional responses from their children by anticipating them. SO if mommy’s hanging aroudn all day waiting for you to get sad and miss her, what should you do when you feel a little sad? Ti gets plenty sad at home and held for it when it doesn’t irk me, but preschool is her time to play with other kids, not please me. Hmm, maybe its that those parents have a hard time not being involved or present when their kids DO experience negative emotions…I know its a form of love too, just not my kind.

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