Sacha started preschool today.
I know that he just turned 3, and largely speaking, I don’t really agree that preschool for 3-year-olds is ncessary. In our case, however, we are sending him to a francophone preschool, where he will interact with other children (and adults) who speak French. This is hugely important to me (and Tony) as I have only spoken to my kids in French since their births. Sacha, for some reason or other, has decided that he is not French. In fact, when we met with his teacher last week for a mini-orientation, we asked him to say “À la prochaine!” (Until next time) to his teacher. He responded “I don’t fwench.” I then quickly replied to him (in French) that he is TOO French. He then conceded and said “I just a wittle bit fwench.”
He understands French completely. There is no issue there. The issue is motivation to get him to speak in French. Hence the preschool at age 3.
The first day, despite being über-excited all morning, was a bit of a gong show. He found his place on the mat, labelled with his name, and sat down. He said “bonjour” to his teacher, and just as I was about to leave, Kees-man in tow, he started to weep. He pulled out all the stops: But I WOVE you! I want stay with you FO-EVAH! I WIKE you so much! Don’t WEAVE me!” I told him that I would stay until after the class photos were taken. Sure enough, in every frame of those class photos, Sacha’s bottom lip was almost swallowing his head.Once photos were done, he begged me to stay. By this time, Kees was tearing up the school, starting to smell like pee, and I was at my threshold of patience. So I told a small lie:
“Sacha, I would love to stay, but I have no diapers for Kees (not true). I have no snack for Kees (only partially true). I have nothing for Kees to drink (tru dat). I will go home, get the stuff I need, and I will be back to pick you up.”
He agreed to this, and his teacher grabbed a little clock and had me move the arms on the clock to what time I would be back. He seemed to understand.
I came back at the agreed-upon time. He was sitting in a circle with the other kids, huge smile on his face, talking to his teacher. The teacher assistant showed me a photo on her camera of what Sacha looked like about a minute after I left: he was sporting a huge smile. I sigh with relief.
Just as the boys and I were about to leave, the teacher approaches me.
“Does Sacha hit other kids at home?” she asks.
Shit. This can’t be good, I think.
“He hit someone, didn’t he?” I ask.
“Two kids. I put him in the time-out chair, which I didn’t want to do on the first day, but I did.”
Damn. Now I have to really think. DOES he hit kids at home? Well, the only kid at home is Kees, and, well, they are typical brothers. There is a lot of hitting (Sacha), biting (Kees) and general wrestling and UFCing. But other kids? No. Kids at the park? No. Kids at the play centre? No. He has not physically lashed out at a kid since being a pinching toddler. Usually, if he is mad at a kid, he turns all red and lets the fiery depths of his 3-year old lungs loose on the other kid. Or finds out what annoys them and does everything to get under their skin. He has a real talent for that. Especially with the young ladies.
I tell his teacher that I will talk about it with Sacha at home. Here is how that conversation went:
Me: Sacha, did you have fun at school?
Sacha: Yeah, Mommy! Lots of fun. I learned lots new things.
Me: Did you play with other kids?
S: Yeah, Mommy.
Me: Did any kids try to take toys away from you?
S: No. I did share.
Me: Did you try and take toys from other kids?
S: Yeah. I ask them for they toys, and they not sharing, so I tap them.
Oh, well at least he’s honest.
So obviously, we had the talk about sharing, asking for things, using manners, and what to do if a kid won’t share or take turns (talk to the teacher). We even did some practicing of how to ask for a toy or a turn with something and how to talk to the teacher. I guess this is all stuff he would have learned already had he been in daycare. It’s not as if he doesn’t know these things, but he has never been in a large group of children without Tony or I being there.
I am still embarrased about the whole thing, but I must not be the only mother who has a hitter. When I told my MIL about his day, she just laughed. Normal kid stuff, she said.
Sacha keeps talking about how much fun he had at school, and how he cannot wait to go back next week.
I just hope there is less hitting next time.