Friday, August 14, 2009

Preschool Flunk-out?

Thanks for all your kind words regarding Mallory. We are a bit sad, but really this is what we signed up for. I feel optimistic that everything is working out for the best for her and her family.

Today is the last official day of summer for us. We celebrated with a trip to a lakeside beach with three other families from our neighborhood. Kids of all ages played in all different combinations--girls and boys, big kids and little kids--while the Moms swapped info on school teachers and sales on school supplies. This is the real joy of suburbia and we're so blessed to have such great kids around our own.

So Logan and Levi start school on Monday. Then Haley and Roscoe start the next week, and Jesse starts preschool the day after that. Preschool that he may flunk out of.

This week I took Jesse to "Orientation" at the little preschool Haley attended for two years. When she began I really didn't know she'd do. Because of her unhealthy first two years, we had every reason to worry that she'd, at least, have learning disabilities. But she has fluorished and blossomed and is entering kindergarten way ahead of any of her smart brothers.

This preschool teacher's strength is routine and organization. Every move the kids make is regimented. There's a step-by-step process for washing your hands, involving standing in line, washing while counting from 1 to 10, rinsing while counting from 5 to 1, turning off the water with the towel. Haley thrived with the predictability that made it possible for her to do each thing exactly right.

But Jesse...

Before Orientation I planned how I'd describe Jesse to his teacher so that she would understand his independence and rowdiness but love him anyway. I explained how he wrestles other kids not because he's mean but because he's been raised by big boys who think it's hilarious. I thought it was all going pretty well when I concluded, "But really he's so fun and enthusiastic I think you'll just love him," and she responded, "I think I already do."

Then we went into the playroom to retrieve Jesse, who was decked out in full knight's armor from her dress-up box. We told him it was time to put away the toys. He froze. In one dramatic motion, he shrugged all his gear into a heap at his feet--and burst into tears. And screamed. He wouldn't let the teacher console him--not with a pencil or a sticker or a plastic hippo--and finally I carted him out to the van in defeat.

The poor boy has had zero routine this summer. Naps, meals, and bedtime come and go at totally unpredictable intervals. Plus, he gave up his spot as baby of the family for a little intruder who then disappeared with no warning--all with amazing grace and generosity.

What he really needs is a little neighborhood Joy School, but our neighborhood doesn't have enough kids his age to make it work. So we'll try this school--where the teacher asked me if he knows his colors and I said, "Sure, he knows his colors. To him, orange-ish red is 'Lightning McQueen,' dark red is 'Iron Man,' green is 'Hulk'..." And we'll see how he does.

Maybe the organization and routine of the new school year at home will help him get himself more organized, and maybe preschool will be just what he needs. Or maybe not.

1 comment:

  1. Don't start counting those flunked-out chickens before they hatch! Maybe he'll do totally fine and blow you away like Haley did. Or maybe there'll be some trouble, but he'll learn from it and the teacher will take it all in stride. I'm sure with all the prayers you're sending up on his behalf, it'll all work out.

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