Friday, August 16, 2013

Preschool (dropout?)

So Luke's first day of preschool was yesterday. At the meet the teacher night, (during which, we really didn't even get to talk to the teacher at all...), Luke was so happy to be there playing. He was all over the room and never even glanced back to see if we were still there. He is like that at most places, so we didn't think he'd really have too much of a hard time. The teacher made a big deal about asking parents not to "sneak out" the first day, make sure you say bye to your kid, most of them do fine after a few minutes of crying. And if they spend the whole time crying, they will give you a call. (And she gave us a paper with tips for the first day that said this as well.)

So we got there and Luke was happily playing. I said bye and he said okay and took my hand like he was going to leave with me. I explained to him that I was going to leave for a little bit, he was going to stay and play, and then I'd come get him in a little bit. I gave him another kiss and said bye and then took him over to some toys, he got distracted playing, and then I left without saying goodbye for a third time. So I sort of snuck out because he may not have really realized I was leaving but I have worked with two year olds. I hated it when the kid would be fine, happily playing, and the parent would keep trying to say goodbye over and over and over until the kid was upset and stressed out and crying. (It seemed like they wanted them to be upset that they were leaving, so they were going to keep rubbing in that they were leaving until the kid was crying!)

There are a bunch of incredibly high maintenance parents from Luke's class. It's a group of like 4 of them. They spent the entire meet the teacher night and the entire morning monopolizing the teacher so no one else could talk to her. I caught the asst. teacher and told them about the pink highlighter Luke drew all over his stomach several days ago, it hasn't come off entirely in the bath yet and it's just faded enough to look like a rash. So I told her about that and told her that he is still in diapers that were in his cubby and left, while Luke was still happily playing, and I had my bright red double stroller so it wasn't very "sneaky".

They have a one way mirror/window in the classroom so parents can see in but kids can't see out. It's small though, like a little bigger than an 8x 10 frame. One of the high maintenance parents was standing right smack in the middle of it just watching her kid play (the others were still in there talking to the teacher), I stood and waited and tried to see around her for a few minutes but then gave up and figured he was probably just fine, I mean they said they would call if the child didn't settle in, etc.

Matthew and I ran to Target and Aldi's nearby, I wanted to stay close in case they had to call. Then I went home to put the stuff away, feed Matthew, pack a lunch for Luke to eat on the way home since pick up was at noon and I was hoping he would eat then fall asleep on the 15 min drive home, and then went to get him.

They do drop off and pick up in an assinine way. They don't just have the class open at 9 and 12 for pick up and drop off for people to stagger in naturally. They have a sign on the door that says "please wait" basically, so everyone is out there waiting and all come in at once. It is a gigantic, unorganized, chaotic clusterfuck.  It doesn't allow for anyone to talk to the teachers and I really hate the way that they do it. (None of the other classrooms in the 2 year old hallway had parents lined up waiting and kids were leaving with their parents as I came in.) It doesn't make the routines any smoother because you have 9+ kids trying to drop off their back packs and wash their hands and everything at once.

Anyway, when I went to pick up, the high maintenance mom from previously was still hogging the window and the other parents were trying to peek in around her while she stood there obliviously. I tried to glance in but I didn't see Luke and assumed he was fine, it's not like they had called me or anything.

So when they 'let us' in the classroom, Luke is laying on the floor behind the teacher, sobbing hysterically-exhaustedly. She says to me that he cried a lot, he did okay when they went outside, then was really upset when they came back in, and probably I should stop by and check in on him next time. And then before I can ask her anything she is off talking to someone else and Luke is trying to drag me out of there so we go.

Ugh. I am so annoyed on so many levels and honestly ready to pull him on the principle that I don't really care for the teacher so far and I am pretty freaking furious that they didn't call me, and that I was just standing outside in the freaking hallway for about 10 minutes, waiting for them to let us in while he was in there crying on the floor after having cried for most of the 3 hours. Luke cries but he is not a kid who cries a lot. He is busy, and gets in to trouble, and has tantrums and whatever, but I don't think I've ever heard him cry for more then 10 minutes. I get that they have a lot of kids and it's chaotic but they also have a front desk and did not have to call me themselves. I'm annoyed with myself for not looking in the window even if I had to push that B-word out of my way. I'm trying to figure out where we go from here and how much I even want to try to make this work.

My biggest concern with pulling him out is if I start ultrasound school next fall, and then he will have to go somewhere fulltime {possibly). But I'm number 148 or something on the waiting list and they only take 24 new students a year. So more than 100 people would have had to decide to not stay on the waiting list/not go, for me to get in next year. (You have to have all your pre-reqs including 120 hours of patient experience done to even get on the waiting list. We get our updated number in Oct.) I am thinking it is pretty unlikely I will be in school next year, and he's a young two/not even 2.5 yet, so it may be the best idea to pull him and try again in a few months with maybe a part time baby sitter or a few hours of daycare. This place is not cheap, it would save us a lot of money, and he may not just be ready yet.

I am annoyed that it's already 15 minutes away and they want me to stop by and see how he's doing when he's only there for 3 hours. That they didn't call when they said they would. With some of the other obnoxious parents that are probably going to be this way all year.

The things I like about it is that the teachers mostly have degrees, both in early childhood and special ed. They are NAEYC accredited which does not come easily or cheaply. The facility is very nice, the people who work there are very nice. I like the special ed teacher more than I like the main teacher and I think Luke does too.

But I worked with 2 year olds for several years, we would have never let a child cry for more than a couple hours without calling his parents. Never ever ever. I don't need an early childhood degree to know that much is not appropriate. I trusted that they would call me and now I don't really have much trust in them at all. I would have never ever ever suggested that a parent should stop and check in and maybe pick up early, I would have said "we will call you if he's struggling for more than a few minutes".And I think someone who has been doing this for 6 years should have figured out a better drop off/pick up situation then the madness it is now. I understand not having the door open at 8:30...but at 8:57? I think I will purposely come late to avoid that.

Anyway, I'm going to pay for the month and see if it gets better, but I'm already leaning towards pulling him out unless he warms up quickly and it gets better. It makes no sense for me to pay over 200 a month if I'm going to be driving a half hour to get there and back and then have hang out there for an hour of the three hours.

At least Luke doesn't seem traumatized from it. He ignores all talk about school completely, even when we tell him he's going back to play there again soon, etc.  He told my mom he went to school and that was it.

 Miraculously I managed to get everything and everyone early enough to snap a few pictures that Luke was not very cooperative for, the happier times:

Matthew woke up happy

Under his hand says "a surprise"

He looks upset here but he was just talking expressively

ALMOST smiling

Both kids- and I give up because we didn't have THAT much time to spare.  


Brooke said...

I'm so sorry to hear it was such a rough day. The situation with the other parents and the teacher sounds frustrating. Is there a director who is in charge of the whole school? They definitely should have called you. If I were you, rather than stopping to check on him (which I imagine could cause a meltdown if he saw you, or cause you to go out of your way just to peek through the glass and see that he's fine), I would call the school after 45 minutes to check on him and then evaluate whether you want to pick him up early. Maybe the 3 hour time frame was too much for his first day? Maybe pull him from preschool but do a one or two day a week mother's day out program at a church or something? (Although I know that gets into anxiety about who the caretakers are and safety precautions and whatnot).

I'd definitely have no problem saying, "Excuse me, I just need to peek in and make sure my son's not having a meltdown" to the oblivious parent.

And I love how you drop the word "clusterfuck" and then call that parent the "b-word." You're hilarious.

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