Category Archives: preschool

“It was just so inappropriate!” The Accidental Peek at Preschool

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“It was just so inappropriate!” The Accidental Peek at Preschool

My five-year-old saw a vulva at preschool.  And it scarred him.  Not because it was the first one he’s seen (his best friend is a little girl, and they’ve been two naked peas in a pod since they were 10 months old), but because it was At. School.

Now, lest you think I send my child to some completely depraved preschool with no adult supervision, this was just an accidental peep show.  A little girl with shorts way too small and apparently a preference for going commando.  Showing off by putting her legs over her head to join some “stinky butt” silliness one boy had started while they waited on a hallway couch for a turn at the bathroom.  And there it was – the inappropriate glimpse that made N afraid of this girl for the rest of time.

Something you should know about N: he cannot stand unpredictability.  And flashing your junk when you’re being too goofy at school is pretty much the height of unpredictability in his five-year-old mind.  Plus there was a series of not-listening incidents (gasp!), and a little bit of craziness during class time for the two weeks prior.  Which is funny considering N is the definition of crazy not-listening at home.  But not school.  School is where you behave the way your mother actually taught you.  Where you show the world you actually do understand what it means to be respectful and well-behaved.  Where you keep your legs below your ears and your body parts in your pants.

The first I heard of this whole thing was from my mom.  While hanging out at her house one afternoon shortly after the incident, he told Grandma there was a girl at school that he was afraid to talk to.  We assumed he had a crush.  So of course I pestered him a bit.  “Are you afraid because you like her?” No.  “Are you afraid because she was mean to you?” No.  “Are you afraid because she said something that you didn’t like?”  No.

And then he hid under a blanket and said she did something that made him really uncomfortable and afraid and sick to his stomach, and he didn’t want to tell me.  Which meant he HAD to tell me immediately, and I would do anything to get it out of him, because at this point I was certain he had been molested in a closet and would need years of counseling to recover.  So after some major “you can tell Mama, I won’t be mad,” with my heart pounding and worst-case scenarios racing through my mind, he blurted out the story in a speedy whisper.  Ending with “And we saw the side of her bottom, and even her vagina! And it was just so….so inappropriate!”

I stifled a relieved laugh and agreed with him.  That was pretty inappropriate!  And it’s good to tell Mama when things give you an uncomfortable sick-to-your-stomach feeling.  But maybe we need to work a little on handling life’s unpredictability.  Because if he can’t handle a precocious little girl at preschool, he’s got a long, long life ahead of him.

 

As a side note, this was just one more time I’m so glad I’ve taught my children to see bodies as a normal thing and to talk about body parts properly.  We could talk about the parts he saw without being uncomfortable using the correct words, and his only shame came from being scared of what she would do next, not because he was exposed to half a vulva.  Because bodies are just bodies in our house, as I really think it should be.  

Don’t Mind Me

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Blogging today over at get born magazine about being the New Mom at preschool!

Don’t Mind Me

Blogged by Kayenta on February 22, 2012

While I could write all day about my anxiety that one of the other children at my son’s preschool will be unkind to him, this post is not about kid-on-kid hostility.  This post is about moms.  Popular preschool moms, to be specific… read more

Growing Pains

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My first baby started preschool last week.  He didn’t cry, or cling to me, or watch the door when I dropped him off.  My god, was that heartbreaking a big relief.  I was the only one clinging, watching, crying.  I had spent the entire previous week freaking out about the impending change.  And by “the previous week’, I mean the last three months.   For the past two plus years, N has been going twice-weekly to an amazing woman who is a friend to me and a second mother to my child.  He grew up with her, and she knows N better than anyone other than me.  When I walk out of her door every Tuesday and Thursday, I know she will nurture him like I would, and that I will return to pick up the exact child I dropped off.

But preschool – preschool is rife with uncertainty and unknown circumstances.  New kids, new interactions, new expectations.  I can’t sit and watch the whole time, can’t make sure his needs are interpreted correctly and met quickly.  It terrifies me.  It’s so…real world.  And the real world can be so hard on little egos, on little souls.  Will he find out the hard way, when some child makes a cruel remark, that not every little boy loves pink Dora the Explorer backpacks?  Will someone hurt his feelings, causing him to make the crushing “I’m sucking these hurt feelings right back in” look that only those who know him best will recognize?  Will he break a rule he didn’t know existed and take the discipline personally?

I know each and every one of these things will happen to N as he moves away from me and discovers the world in his own way.  I just am not quite ready for that to begin happening right now.  I put a lot of thought into preschools that would nurture N’s creativity and his love of learning while still letting him be little, and I’m confident that’s what I’ve found.  But nothing can protect my baby from – *sob* – growing up.  Growing away.  From his Mama.

When we pulled into the school parking lot, I breathed deeply, and N shouted excitedly, “My school!  I can’t wait, I can’t wait!”  I could hear the nerves ticking his octave up, but the excitement was real.  We talked up this preschool business for months.  You’re a big boy, now!  Three-year-olds get to go to preschool and learn so many fun new things!  But I’m sure he could feel what I was really thinking:  I’m not ready!  It’s scaring the shit out of me, and I’m an adult!  How will you ever handle it?!  

N asked me to carry his backpack up the sidewalk until he saw a little girl pulling a backpack just like his.  He ripped the backpack out of my hand, popped the little handle up, and pulled it confidently down the sidewalk.  That backpack was the first thing he introduced to each teacher we met that morning.  His big talking point.  “I got this new backpack!  It’s like a special suitcase just for school!”  A great way to break the ice, with a prop to look at so he didn’t have to shyly make eye contact.  So much like his dad, it tugs at my heart.

As it turned out, I had to be the brave one and actually walk out the door, leaving my big boy behind.  I left him happily playing with some blocks like he’d been there every morning of his life.  It was a proud, heartbreaking, anxiety-ridden moment.  I spent the next four hours trying not to call and check on him every ten minutes.  (I only broke down and did it once).  When I returned, N was standing next to his backpack, waiting patiently for me to come.  He’d had a great morning; his teacher said she’d take a whole class full of kids like him any day.  I exhaled.  Finally.  Looking at him there, standing so tall and proud and grown-up feeling next to his brand new backpack, I knew my worst fears had come to fruition.  I’d dropped off my baby, and picked up a big kid already discovering his independence.  And tomorrow, we start it all over again 🙂