Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mom the Advocate

I got to the playground five minutes earlier than usual, which Ben loved.  He immediately found Zeke and ran over saying, "Zeke!  Zeke!  I'm here!"  Reunions are big things to Ben.
I pushed tired Lily's stroller close to the door to the classroom and glanced inside the open door.  Mrs. E was there, and I waved to her.  Then Zeke showed me the paper air plane he was having trouble with and I threw it a couple of times with him.
Mrs. E came out of her class room and approached me.  She said, "Hi!  I'm glad you're here early because it will give us a chance to talk."
I smiled and said nothing.
"I haven't asked at the front office but do they know why Zeke always leaves early?"
This was the question I had known was coming and had even prepared for.  But suddenly I was not prepared.  I felt caught, seized, collared, trapped.  My written, prepared answer dissolved in my brain.
"They don't know," I dodged.  "Those ladies are very nice.  I fill out the form, we smile and wave and that's it." 
"Well, can I ask why he leaves early?" Mrs. E pressed.  "I mean, it isn't for speech therapy and it isn't for, you know... I mean, he's doing fine.  He can do the work.  So what is it?"
A million things went through my head.  Insecurity won.
"It's not him," I said, already beginning to crumble.  "It's me.  I want to pick him up early.  I expected that kindergarten would be four hours but this, this is all day-"
"-You wanted a half-day kindergarten class?"
"Yes, and when we didn't get into SuperAwesome School District-"
"-They still have half-day kindergarten?" she asked, surprised.
"Yes, but we didn't get in so..."
"I understand," she said.  "I'm old-school.  I agree with you.  Developmentally, I agree with you."
"We go home and we play," I lied.  "We don't do anything special.  We play, we do homework-"
"I understand," she said, in as neutral a tone as she could muster.  "Well, let's get the homework for today."
Then we went into the classroom and Zeke got his things and I wished her good luck with the rest of the afternoon.   

I have spent two months thinking about and trying to defend my decision to pick up Zeke from school early everyday.  Now, finally, after the Moment That Mattered, I have my 30 second answer:
I decided that Zeke needs to come home after lunch each day because I believe this is the best thing to do for Zeke.  He's five and right now he needs time to play and explore.  I am facilitating that. 
Zeke and Ben play rescue helicopters, imaginative play very strongly narrated by Zeke with supplemental sound effects by Ben.  


whopper said...

That is fantastic! You are so cool. I don't know anyone else brave enough to do that. And I think you're completely right :-)

Renée said...

You are great. What school doesn't have half-day kindergarten? Weird.

Have you ever considered home-schooling?

Tina said...

Home schooling? Yes, Mike and I "discuss" that sometimes. Right now Mike is right - Zeke enjoys public school and the fact that he has a world totally separate from me. It might be a different discussion five years from now.