Today we’ll venture in to daddy blogger territory in full force. The first week of preschool was pretty crazy and I just have to share it with you. RB40 Jr. is two and a half and he barely made the cutoff for his preschool. I had a difficult time finding a preschool for him because most places only accept 3 year old kids. We are paying $505/month for 3 days/week (9am to 2pm.) That was the token “finance” part of this post.
I have been looking forward to the first day of school for quite a few weeks now. The crazy kid is getting more and more difficult every day. He doesn’t to listen to direction and keeps changing his routines. For example, today he refused to wash his hands after going to the toilet. I had to spend 5 minutes to convince him to do it. What the heck? He always washed his hands previously and didn’t have any problem with it. The kid is just trying to push my buttons. Anyway, I love him dearly, but he is driving me insane. I really hope the teachers can help rein him in a bit. He could also learn from older kids who can follow directions and socialize with little people his own age.
Day 1 – Meltdown Monday
9am: Mrs. RB40 took the day off so she could spend a little time at preschool. The day started off well when we got out the door and made it to school without a hitch. RB40 Jr. walked right in and eagerly tried out the new toys in all the rooms. The other parents dropped off their precious little ones and we all hung out and goofed off for about an hour.
10am: It was time to go, but RB40 Jr. didn’t want us to leave. We left anyway and he cried. It was one of his serious cries where his mouth was wide open, but no sound came out… Poor little dude. We went shopping for rain boots and expected to spend a little quiet time together. Alas, it was not to be. About 30 minutes into our quiet time, the phone rang. RB40 Jr. was still crying and the teacher said he’s probably not ready for the whole day yet. Oh no! This was a repeat of his first day of daycare when he was 5 months old. Back then, he cried for 2 solid hours until he fell asleep of exhaustion. We headed back to preschool.
11am: We arrived and RB40 Jr. was still bawling his eyes out. Luckily, he calmed down after a few minutes of being held and reassured. We decided to stay a little longer so he could get used to the environment more. It was also a chance to observe how the preschool operated. The kids had lunch and we found out that our little guy needs a ton of work on table manners*. I inadvertently taught the kids at our table to say “no big deal man” with an attitude. It’s no big deal when someone drops macaroni on the floor. No need to cry. We headed home around noon. Everyone was exhausted and needed a nap.
*Table manners: At school, the teacher expected the kids to wash their hands before and after a meal. The kids had to sit quietly with their hands in their lap before being served. The kids all fed themselves. Wow, these little kids were so good. They could follow directions and behaved like little angels. They were all a little older than RB40 Jr., though. Six months can be a huge difference at this age. Our little guy refused to wash hands, wouldn’t sit still, and wanted Daddy to feed him. It was a big adjustment because we were not very strict at home. He usually started off at the table and after a few bites, he’d run off to play… The adults would be following him around with his food. Yes, I know. We are terrible parents/grandparents.
Day 2 – Tough Tuesday
9am: Mrs. RB40 went to work and I went to school with Jr. All the parents dropped off their kids and took off right away. I hung out a bit so the little guy could get comfortable. They did some reading and then broke out into small groups. Our group went out to the garden to harvest some vegetables for lunch. The kids picked grape tomatoes, shelling beans, and basil. Jr. was familiar with this because we have been harvesting from our community garden all summer. He knew which tomatoes were ready and which ones weren’t. He was having more fun the second day, but he still looked around for me once in a while.
10am: I told Jr. that I’m leaving to work, but he got upset. So I stayed a few minutes longer and snuck out while the teacher distracted him. I went grocery shopping then went to Starbucks to catch up on the blog a little bit. Then I went to pick up a $2.50 Bánh mì sandwich and headed back to preschool. That was the last 3 bucks of my cash allowance for the week.
11:30am: I ate my Bánh mì sandwich at the park next to the preschool then headed in. All the kids were sitting at their little tables getting ready for lunch except our little guy. He refused to wash his hands and kept saying “already washed hands.” Eventually one of the teachers convinced him to do it, but it was a little trial. The kids had a little lunch and I taught the kids at our table how to do the rock and roll hand sign and the Boy Scout salute. After lunch, we broke into little groups for library time.
1pm: I asked Jr. if he wanted to leave. He said no, let’s stay at school. Yes! We have a break through. Most of the kids went out in the back yard and ran around and a few took a little rest on a mat. This preschool is in a house and has a great kid friendly backyard. I also had a great time and got to know most of the kids’ names. It’s quite fun to watch all the kids play, but it was also pretty exhausting. At 2pm, we had a few tortilla chips and left for home.
Toilet use: Our little guy still needed a little help when he went to the toilet. He can take his pants off, but hasn’t mastered putting them back on yet. He also needs one of those little toilet trainers. We have a Prince Lionheart trainer at home. It’s pretty awesome. Why don’t they make these in adult size? He will have to learn to let the teachers help him instead of daddy.
Day 3 – Terrible Thursday
9am: After a pretty calm Tuesday, I was hoping the last day of preschool this week would be pretty easy. Alas, it was not to be. I stayed for about half an hour and then left. I couldn’t sneak out because Jr. was stuck to me the whole time so he cried when he saw me leaving. He cried until he fell asleep and then the teacher called me to pick him up. By the time I got back, he was up and crying again…
Whew, the first week of preschool is mercifully over. We’ll try again next week and see how it goes. I can tell the main teacher is thinking he might not be ready for preschool yet. I’m planning to stay at the preschool longer next week and perhaps bring him home early. I think once he is more comfortable with the environment, he’d be OK.
Now I know why most schools want kids to be at least 3 year old. The kids follow directions much better when they are a bit older. RB40 Jr. still has a lot of work to do, but I think he’ll improve very quickly. Wish us luck next week! Or else he might have to stay home another year and really drive me nuts.
How was your first week of school?
*Update* Well, it’s official. We got kicked out of preschool. RB40 Jr. just wouldn’t stop crying when I leave him at school. He is just not ready for preschool yet. Lucky guy, he won again and gets to spend another year enjoying a happy and carefree childhood.