Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The gingerbread boy

Run, run, as fast as you can/You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man

 Having a three year old who is not in preschool is almost a novelty. Currently only one other family among our circle of friends does not have their 3 year old in preschool. We're still on the fence about even sending him, especially since there may not be any actual school in his future. I just have a hard time justifying the expense and trauma of preschool when we'll probably end up homeschooling the kids. But he is on the waiting list for a few preschools and it may just come down to whether we want to pay for something that he may not enjoy and may have a hard time adjusting to. (I often take the path of least resistance, sometimes out of laziness, but mostly out a deep sense that some things are just not worth fighting.)

I'm not even convinced that preschool is absolutely necessary for my child's well-being. Lots of kids are just fine without it. I'm also not the kind of mom to insist on something that my child is clearly not comfortable with. That doesn't mean that we make all our decisions based on his whims (because that would just be nuts). We do tune in to and respect his feelings, let him move and adjust to things at his own pace and back off when he seems overwhelmed.

This morning, however, I took Danny to a nearby preschool that was having an open house. I was not expecting much. I'd actually never seen a working preschool and was as interested to see what went on there as I was to see his reaction. He was not impressed. In fact, he was scared. I felt him clam up immediately. The small, but cheerful classrooms lined a hallway that surrounded a beautiful little courtyard which, in the end, delighted him more than anything else we saw.

The kids all seemed to be having a good time. In one classroom, while most kids sat in a circle, one little girl was off by herself painting at an easel. I thought, "Well, at least they accommodate somewhat rebellious children. Danny may fit in here."

But, they'd have to catch him first. More than a few times, I had to chase him down and gently bring him back to the hallway where I was talking with one of the teachers. When I asked him later about our little outing and he had this to say:

"I not want them to catch me."

Right. He's very perceptive, that kid. And while his instincts are spot on and his reflexes are quick, I'm also hoping that my little gingerbread boy is smart enough to outwit, not just outrun, the foxes.

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