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Kindergarten Mom

Let’s just get a few things cleared up before I begin my little vent here about being a kindergarten mom feels like I’m always flying blind. (Always.)

1. I’ve had wine tonight. Not so much that I’m incapable of forming a complete thought but just enough so that I’m feeling saucy.
2. I love school and believe in education and want to see my child succeed.
3. I have no idea WTF is going on and I am more than a little frustrated about it.

I know the easiest way to know what, exactly, is going on at his school is to go over there and find out what, exactly, is going on. I’m working on it. In order to volunteer, you have to have a background check and be approved by the principal so what I’m saying is it’s not as easy as walking in the front door and saying “hey, I’d like to shelve books in the library or read to some kids today, cool?” and being sent wherever to do that.

So until then, I’m kind of left in the lurch about what’s happening every day and it’s making me understand how helicopter parents come to exist.

I’m trying not to hover. I’m trying not to email every single day and ask what this note meant or what they did about that. I’m fighting the urge to call and say “Can you just, you know, wear a GoPro for an entire day start to finish because I really need to understand what’s happening when I’m not around?”

The way his notes read every day, my kid is shaping up to be “that” kid. The difficult child. The one whose name shows up on a roster and other teachers gasp and pat the new teacher on the shoulder in one of those “there, there” ways reserved for people for whom we have nothing but pity.

It is completely freaking me out and making my anxiety go bananas. There’s a What If hurricane happening in my brain almost all the time.

Joshua has come home nearly every day since he started at his new school with a note about some sort of behavioral issue his teachers have experienced, ranging from the egregious, like hitting his classmates, to the asinine–and I quote–“making gross noises in art.”

That it. That’s all I get. No context. No follow-up. No here’s what we did today and here’s what we need you to do.

Just a report of this quirky (and sometimes jerk-ish) behavior that leaves me scratching my head and wondering what’s being expected of five year olds for 6.5 hours a day, particularly one who’s only been at that school for about a month and has met some of the teachers and staff members there enough times to count on one hand.

Is that sort of reporting really normal? (How is that normal??)

I can’t fix what I don’t see and what he doesn’t remember. Or pretends not to remember. I can say “don’t, don’t, don’t fight your friends!” and watch him jump out of the car the next morning crossing my heart that he heeds my reminders.

Then there’s today.

We ran into one of his classmates at the grocery store and after the two of them had an adorable conversation and then stared at the RedBox like they were two high schoolers on a date, she informed me that he is a naughty little boy who has to go to time out. Mouths of babes and all, you know?

Can someone please give me more than a one sentence summary of my kid’s terrible, horrible, no good, really bad every day before he grows to hate school and refuses to get out of bed in the morning?

I get that Joshua has the potential to be difficult. I live with him. Every day. And night. I’m awakened by him bright and early at 6:00 in the morning (or earlier). I put him to bed and tuck him in and tell him to have a good sleep.

And all those hours when he’s not at school are spent with me asking him to do this or that or begging him to stop doing that thing or the other (hitting his sister, squealing like a Banshee in the car, throwing balls inside the house when there’s a perfectly good yard outside) and for the love of god please pick up the Legos and YES YOU WENT A WHOLE THIRTY MINUTES WITHOUT SCREAMING AT YOUR SISTER! LET’S HAVE A HIGH FIVE PARTY!

But something–anything–good about his day would be GREAT. Literally anything.

On second thought, maybe that GoPro isn’t such a bad idea. Then I could just see for myself.

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Friday 3rd of October 2014

Will is the same. I got negative, negative, negative feedback from his teachers the first month and a half of school. In our last "faculty" meeting (I'm teaching preschool at his school two mornings a week) the director reminded everyone that the children they promoted the year before were more advanced in May than they were in August and to PLEASE BEAR WITH THE TWO YEAR OLDS. She said it totally for my benefit, but it struck a chord with his teachers because they flipped around how they were handling him. Instead of getting fussed at for the negative things, we CELEBRATE the positive. He lost one of his stamps on his hand at the end of the day? Well, he still got TWO! He was helpful? AWESOME. He threw away his trash at snack without being asked? YEA, WILL! It totally worked and I thoroughly appreciated it. I know you're not able to put yourself into every school situation, but maybe searching for the positive at home would be helpful? Let him tell you the best thing about his day and be all congratulatory about it. Oh, my mama heart aches for you in this! Why can't they stay tiny and at home with us?

John (Daddy Runs a Lot)

Friday 3rd of October 2014

I see my first-grade-teacher sister-in-law almost daily . . . when she sends home any behavioral note, she expects a follow-up if the parent is concerned about said behavior. Some parents? Well, if the kid smacks his brothers around, it's fine that he smacks his friends around . . . it might not be cool to the teacher, or the school -- but, if there's not going to be any follow-up at home, there probably isn't going to be any real change to it. But if the parent asks "hey, what happened & what can I do at home to fix it?" well, then she'd be ultra-receptive to coming up with a plan.

Email the teacher. If you don't hear back within a few days? Then email the principal.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader

Thursday 2nd of October 2014

Well that's not helpful. (((((((())))))

Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife

Thursday 2nd of October 2014

It's disheartening to hear that you're only getting negative feedback. Do they only send home feedback when he's misbehaving or should they be sending daily feedback? If it's the latter, I think a note that reads "Joshua talked out of turn but he helped clean up books today" would be more encouraging for everyone.

I agree that more context is needed if there is an on-going issue. And if it is on-going why hasn't the teacher called to discuss the issues more in depth with you? I hope you and the teacher can work out some resolution sooner rather than later.

Tiffany K

Thursday 2nd of October 2014

awww! I know that is so hard! Sydney is that kid at home sometimes, and I am always so worried that she will be that way at school. Luckily her preschool is only 2.5 hours, so she seems to be on her best behavior during those hours, but the moment that I pick her up it is like she used up all of her good behavior with her teachers. I am hoping next year isn't bad when she starts all day school.

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