Monday, February 23, 2009

Preschool Drama and Tears

Okay, so this is my third child going through preschool. I am an old pro at this now. I no longer cry, like I did with my first child Luke, when the teacher pulls me aside and tells me that my child is having difficulty cutting with scissors. In that case, I headed home and had Luke practice diligently with those scissors until it had knocked any more negative scissor commentary out of the teacher's mouth. Though I thought I was beyond crying when someone criticizes my child, I did it again today.  This I could chalk up to week 33 of pregnancy hormones, but I suspect that it is more due to the fact that I fiercely love my children.  

So, here are the goods. Ty, my four-year old is boisterous, funny, very big for his age, never mean spirited, but can knock things over at times. He loves his friends. The problem is that they are not showing him the love. He complained to me last week from his car seat as we drove home from school-

Ty-   "Mommy, why did you send me to school today? I was so sick."

Me- "You were sick, honey? What's the matter?"

Ty- "My feelings were hurting so bad."

Me "Why baby?"

Ty- "The girls yell Ty is coming and run away from me."

At this point I try to explain to him that they are just playing and they like him. But then he comes home next time and says, "Nobody wants to play with me." This becomes his mantra. Can you just hear my heart breaking for him? But, he also tells me that his friends become invisible or turn into giant ice cream cones and don't taste very good so it is hard to know what is true. I ask the teacher what's up. This woman has had all of my children and I love her, so I'm not bagging on her. She tells me he is doing fine and the dynamics of the little group of four boys change daily. They are working out their issues. I don't bring up the girls issue because I'm not sure if it actually is an issue. Oh, issues in preschool- Grrrrr!

Then, after school today, Ms. Teacher pulls me aside and tells me that Ty threw a dinosaur at little girl. It was a soft dinosaur. I first ask if the little girl is okay. She is.  As I said, this is not a mean boy. If he was, I would tell you. So I say, "What happened?" She said she didn't know what led up to it, but she could tell he was hurting and frustrated. She had a big talk with him about it. And there start the stupid tears! She said he was hurting and that was enough to throw me over the edge. I try to put on my sunglasses, but they start fogging up because my pregnant body is over-heating. I want to get my boy and leave, but she starts telling me how he doesn't know how to join in a group. He comes in and knocks things over to get attention and the kids don't like it. This does not help the crying situation. I walk away hand in hand with my socially inept child. 
Now, this is my third child. So, I talk myself down and realize that my 8 year old, who also had his own preschool issues, is functioning exceptionally now that he is in second grade. Ty will be fine. But he is hurting now. Lord, I need wisdom here.

Fortunately, we have a play date with another preschool child who is not in the little group with issues. The mom is kind and has four children. I tell her the story. There is good news. This woman has info. She tells me she was there when it happened and saw a group boys and girls who were talking and yelling and he walked away sad, with his head down, picked up the dinosaur and threw it. She said it hit the little girl, she wasn't hurt but this angel of a mama said she thinks it was just bad aim. Oh, clarity. My little guy had been trying to tell me this was happening to him amidst the crazy giant ice cream cone stories. A little truth.

I'm a problem solver so here's the plan!  I'm going to talk to the teacher again and try not to cry or demand that she make all children speak nicely to Ty, but instead suggest kindly she watches to make sure he is not being ganged up on. In the meantime, I do some role playing with Ty. I play his friends and he practices coming up to play with me by just sitting down quietly next to me, not knocking anything over and not speaking loudly. He does this over and over fabulously. We next try me being a friend who doesn't want to play with him. I say, "Ty, I don't want to play with you."  He says, "That's okay. I have other friends." and skips away. The skipping is my idea- it says "I don't need you, you big meanie."We practice this one over and over again. He likes the skipping; it is a newly acquired skill. 

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