Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Looking through the window: the day I cried at preschool

Ellie enjoyed one full week of summer vacation before I enrolled her in a part-time, private summer preschool.  Ellie was in this school last summer to sort of "ease her way" into going to school full-time.  This year she is in a slightly bigger class room.  That means more kids per teacher.  While Bear will be 4 years-old in just 3 months, many of the kids in her class have recently, or are just turning 3 yo.  I think that this will be a good fit for her.

A Little Mama

Yesterday was her first day and Ellie saunters into the school like she owns the place.  She does what I affectionately refer to as "the waitress walk"--hips swaying with one arm in the air as though she is balancing a tray.  A little sashay if you will.  I have a small amount of time to help show the teacher what Ellie Bear's key signs are--yes, no, eat, water, potty, and Ellie.  The Bear immediately starts to explore the room and completely ignores me.  A good start!

When I return for pick-up, the director says "Anna, she did great today!"  I walk up to the classroom door and peer through the glass window.  I see Miss M reading a book with all the children gathered around her.  All of the children except one.  Mine.  My eyes sweep the room.  There is Ellie quietly sitting in the corner parenting three baby dolls.

I started to silently cry.  I say to the director with my voice cracking: "did she play with any of the kids?  Is she trying to make friends?  Did she remain alone the whole time?"

"Is it because she doesn't talk or because she puts everything in her mouth?", I blubber.

Seriously, what is it with kids and the naked babies?

Both the teacher and director reassured me that throughout the day there was a lot of parallel play among all the kids  That Ellie is doing the same type of play as her classmates.  The children sitting by each other playing.  That Ellie did not keep herself isolated, but did follow kids around on the playground.  They also told me that sitting for story time is not required.  That it was her choice to keep playing with the babies. (It should also be noted, that true to Ellie form she was covered in blue paint.  Seriously, it was like she thought it was sunscreen or something.  All over.  I can tell they tried to wipe it off, but this girl had punk-rock hair going on like her mama. . .only in dark blue).

I know. . . I should have taken a picture of my little Picasso sporting the blue paint.

I recognize that Ellie's play is appropriate for her developmental age.  I know this.  I do.  She is doing pretend play with the babies, but not with other kids.  It is okay for her to play next to and not with other children.  I do not fully understand my crying reaction.  She was happy.  She was playing.  In fact, she was sitting, which we all know is no small feat with her hyperactivity issues.  I just couldn't handle seeing my little girl all alone. . . even if it was by choice.

Today was a better day.  Even the director and the teacher said so.  Just like yesterday, I observed through the window.  There were no tears this time.  I watched my oral-seeking daughter stand at an activity table with another girl manipulating with play-doh with a rolling pin and cookie cutters.  She did not put any of it in her mouth!  The teacher told me that she engaged in this activity for over 20 minutes and only tried to "taste" the home-made play-doh a few times.   I was also informed that two seconds after I left, Ellie climbed into the water table which necessitated a change of clothing.  Additionally, Ellie sat in circle time. . . with her own book (apparently the group book was boring).  True to Ellie-fashion, she had to do things her own way!

My little girl is growing up and meeting all of her milestones right on time--Ellie Time.  I need to step back and allow her to do what she needs to do.  I am proud of her.  She is a RockStar.



  1. I've done the exact same thing with O and had similar results with the preschool teacher hugging me in the hallway, saying it's going to be OK and he's doing just fine--for real.

    I feel like this (preschool age) is such a hard time right now for our kiddos and for us parents. But I like what you said--Ellie is meeting all of her milestones on time--Ellie time. It is so true.

    And she's doing just great! And so is her Mama Bear!

  2. Hugs for you and thumbs up for Ellie! Cora tried to climb in her brand new water table the first time I set it up for her recently. After I discouraged that, she had no use for it. So happy to see Ellie doing well.

  3. I love her dress! Such a gorgeous color on her! And yes, what is it with naked dolls and Barbies? Seriously, why can't kids keep the clothes on those dolls?! I'm glad that Ellie is finding her own way in preschool ... yes, lots of parallel play at this age! Even now, sometimes at 9 yrs old, Kayla does parallel play. I know that probably doesn't make you feel better hearing that about a 9 yr old! But I think some of it is a language issue - that Kayla can't keep up with the quick and fast-paced 'regular' flow of conversation. While I wish she would do a little more interacting and conversing, I have to remind myself that she's happy being with the other kids in her own way.

  4. This is a gorgeous entry! I love the "Ellie Time" concept. So sweet and touching. Love you guys!


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