Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Updates

The Kindergarten

The first month of kindergarten has gotten a thumbs-up from Sean. He loves his teacher, loves school, is generally happy with life. I don't know if I ever followed up on my post about the teacher situation -- he did not get the teacher about whom I had fretted. Instead, his teacher is actually an acquaintance I'd made last year at the park. She's new to the school but not the district; I think she's been terrific so far.

I have a few quibbles with the school: inadequate supervision on the playground before school, and no aide in the classroom. With 20 kindergartners, I'd have thought the teacher would have an assistant. It's a wonder she can cram any teaching into the short 2.5-hour morning, what with the herding of cats that seems to be her primary task. Back to school night is tomorrow; perhaps I'll work up the nerve to ask about this.

The Preschool

Allie seems to like preschool -- once she's there. Getting in the door is tricky. She hesitates each morning in front of the classroom, and sometimes I have to lift her up and carry her into the room. After she's settled in, she's happy. Mostly.

On Wednesday, she hit a boy on the face. When the teacher asked her what happened, she completely shut down -- folded her arms, glowered, refused to speak. The teacher recognized this as atypical behavior for Allie (she knows Allie from seeing her in Sean's classroom last year) and surmised that the attack was probably provoked. I asked her how Allie seemed to be getting along with the other kids -- Allie can be as sweet as pie one minute and demanding and difficult the next. The teacher said that Allie does play with the other kids sometimes, and sometimes just prefers to do her own thing. That's about what I expected. Hitting, to be honest, I did not expect. She has never hit anyone other than Sean, and that in itself is rare; it's pretty much the response of a desperate woman at the end of her rope.

After some gentle and persistent prodding later in the day, I coaxed the following information out of Allie: The boy pinched her, so she hit him. She wouldn't tell me the boy's name or anything else. She wouldn't even look at me while we were talking. I dutifully delivered the "Use your words, not your hands" sermon. Secretly, though, I'm kind of glad she stood up for herself. I'd just prefer that she had chosen a less physical response. And I hope this is not the beginning of a behavior pattern.

The Soccer

Both kids are playing soccer, Allie for the first time. I'd have to say that it's been a wash for her so far. The coach doesn't seem to have any idea how to engage a bunch of 3- and 4-year-olds in anything resembling an organized manner. Instead we have hodge-podge soccer drills, and players who wander off the field periodically. Or, in the case of my daughter, refuse to go onto the field at all. For the first 35 minutes of our 45-minute soccer "game" this past Saturday, she just sat on the sidelines. "I'll play at home," she told me. Finally, after an extensive amount of encouragement, she agreed to go on the field with me. By the end of the last 10 minutes, she was having a great time. "Do you want to go back next week?" Jeff asked her. "Oh, yes!" she said. Here's hoping she agrees to 15 minutes of playing time.

Sean had started off spring soccer a bit slowly. By the end of the season, he had shown a lot of progress. Progress that, it seems, completely dissipated over the summer. He is still enthusiastic about soccer, and loves his coach. He enjoys going to practice and to the games. On the field, however, he traipses about as if he were in his own little private fantasy world. He doesn't seem the least bit engaged with the game itself. If the ball is here, then Sean is half a field away, skipping toward the scene of action with all the competitiveness of someone going to a tea party. I don't really care if Sean is a terrific athlete. And it might just be that soccer isn't his sport. Maybe an individualized sport would be better for him. Maybe I should just chill out about it and let him have fun. But would a LITTLE effort hurt?

The Self-Deprecating Conclusion

If you've slogged through this dull post, thank you! Good gravy that was boring. Now you know why I don't write long updates very often.