So last week’s experience at a potential preschool has me doing ill-advised cartwheels (seriously, our house is small, there’s crap everywhere, and I’m old and not so bendy anymore in the adductor region) about my family’s freaking growth and development as decent human beings.
What the hell is in their Kool-Aid, you ask? Well, we don’t like that kind of talk around here. (Kool-aid is not on our preferred beverage list. “What the hell is in their unflavored rice milk, dammit” is more like it. Thank you.)
I can’t quite put my finger on it. Other preschool tours made me feel I wasn’t being something enough…one made me feel not stern enough, one made me feel not musical enough, one made me feel not detached enough. This preschool we just visited, though, made me feel that the approach I’ve always wanted is possible, and that with a few new techniques Spouse and I can be even more of the parents we envisioned when we had a good, old-fashioned panic attack about a little pink line.
Tell you this much…since the preschool visit I have been patient and hopeful and calm. Without feeling put out or thwarted or martyr-y. I’m doing stuff now because I want to, not just because several generations of Drs. Sears say so. I’m offering two yesses for each no because it makes sense and it’s fair. I’m more relaxed about telling Peanut what I need because I know I’m meeting his needs. I’m setting up sensory stations in the dining room and smiling as a paint-covered Peanut streaks the wall with purple then offers to clean it.
And the conflict resolution the potential preschool uses is TOTALLY working! How? Well I’ll tell ya. Peanut hits Spouse. A lot. To be fair, just between you and me and the ninety other people who read this blog, Spouse totally deserves it, but I can’t say that to Peanut, who is confused by the idea that grabbing stuff and blocking people from things, and generally not letting a person use their own body in ways they stinking want to is not nice, unless you’re big and lacking in patience. So I started taking each by the hand and asking the one more recently violated what he wants to say to the other. Then when he finishes, I ask the most recent offender what he wants to say. And back and forth until they stop. Then ask is there anything else you want to say? Each takes a turn. Then “does anybody need a hug?” It’s really freaking awesome because Peanut got the technique immediately, without a seven hour explanation from me, and always has one more thing to say. Spouse never has anything else to say except, “No. Nothing to say, I just love you.” And when asked, Spouse always says he needs a hug.
Get this. Peanut always gives him one. Who are these people? Where do I sign up for this school? Oh. Behind the forty other families waiting to get in for September? I see. Is there anything for those of us who would like to have our lives back sooner, rather than later? No? Okay. I’ll take your life-affirming techniques and apply them at home. Thanks. See you when he’s almost four.
So this potential preschool has Spouse and Peanut talking and hugging, has me running around joyfully placing tubs of dry beans and brownie tins full of raw flour and different sized scoops all over the house. What’s in the unflavored rice milk? Don’t know. But I’m getting a subscription on Amazon so it’s delivered every three months at a 15% discount.