He told him what was for snack today.
Tonight, when I was exiting my son's bedroom in order to let my husband have a turn at goodnight, I overheard my son tell his dad what he had for snack at school.
For almost two years, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday this was a regular thing. My husband has a gift at getting information out of our boys. His secret is that he avoids the mom-like open ended questions. He never says, "What did you do?" or "What was fun?" Instead he goes for the black and white information. How many kids in class today? What was for snack? It's pure genius really. It became such a routine that my son would ask, if too much time had passed at dinner, "Don't you want to know what was for snack?"
The best part of this was that he gave a retelling of snack and attendance with such enthusiasm that it was clear to anyone in the room that he adored his school and had his teachers as high on a pedestal as one can possibly go.
Then we moved and from March to June we never heard one word about how school was. It was heartbreaking.
The preschool we enrolled him in was fine. The teachers seemed nice. The school is lovely. But there was something. It was a gut feeling that I made the wrong call. I had no idea why but I just thought this school and my boy didn't fit.
I worried aloud to my husband who assured me the boy was fine and that we had just moved to a new state with an entirely new schedule and of course he might seem a little off. Don't blame the school. Don't blame yourself.
I agreed with him-mostly. But the days went on and we started to settle in to a routine and the school piece of the puzzle still seemed wrong.
Then one night, when I was worrying aloud-again- my husband said, "He never tells me about snack."
That was it. That's what was wrong. He thought school was fine. He didn't love it. He didn't race home to tell me about it. He didn't share with dad what he had for snack. Liking school is fine. Thinking school is fine is acceptable. Except-he used to love it. So liking it actually wasn't fine.
This post isn't about the mistake that I made last year. So much of parenting, for me anyway, is about second guessing my decisions. I used to be good at making decisions without looking back. When I only had myself to consider, I was somewhat of a slash and burn decision maker. Now, every decision I make on behalf of my kids is wrought with concern, and discussing and dissection and concern.
When really, what I should do more of is pay attention to my gut. My gut tells me when my kids don't fit. My gut also tells me when something is exactly right. My gut was on the money last year when I walked into the preschool I have my son enrolled in this fall.
Last May I walked through the doors of what I shall call Heaven for Children and I knew instantly this is where my children needed to be. It was warm and bright and everyone smiled. It smelled like paint. The bulletin board outside the office was littered with fliers. My boy, who was with me, skipped — literally — through the halls. I enrolled him on the spot. The people in the office thought I was nuts. I told them it felt like home. I tried to convey, unsuccessfully, how overjoyed I was at finding them. For the first time since I set foot in New Jersey I felt like we could stay and be just fine.
I was right. I was so right.
I just spent the day being the helper in my son's preschool class at Heaven for Children. To say that it was an enjoyable experience is wildly inadequate. I am not sure words can express how I felt this morning. My heart physically hurt from being so full. My cheeks were also sore because I could not wipe the stupid grin off my face for 3 hours. My eyes welled with tears at least four different times.
We sang songs. We read stories. We painted and we played kitchen. We made a book together. We ate snack and played spy on the playground. While we did all these glorious things, my toddler had the time of his life with his "teacher" Miss Penny in the childcare room. He also came home and told dad all about his "school" today.
Not only was I proud of my little men, who were having such a ball learning and playing (and learning through play) that one of them left me without even a glance backward and the other could have cared less that his mom stayed in his class all day (to my relief). But I was also proud of myself, for listening to my gut last spring and making the decision that lead to this bliss.
Tonight, he told his dad what we had for snack.
Sometimes, my decisions deserve no second guessing.
This is an original post from the New Jersey Moms Blog (http://www.newjerseymomsblog.com).
You can find Cristie questioning all her parenting decisions over at www.thetravelingcircus.com.
(c) 2009, Cristie.
As written for New Jersey Moms Blog, http://www.newjerseymomsblog.com.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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