Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Could be worse. At least I don't worry about her chasing squirrels.

A few weeks before the end of Chicky's preschool year [*moment of silence for my sanity* Amen.] her teachers held their end-of-the-year parent-teacher conferences. Or as I like to call them, Learn What Your Child Is Really Like When You're Not Around To Give Them The Evil Eye.

Like the mid-year conference, Mr. C was not available to attend because of his crazy work schedule. So it was up to me to drag both children into school a little early - something that should never be required of me due to my love of sleep - and to sit in those tiny preschool chairs to face the Inquisition firing squad wonderful, sainted women who are in charge of my child two mornings a week.

While CC crawled around the room finding random toys to put into her mouth and Chicky worked on an art project...

- a feat I should have kissed the teachers' shoes for since I can't get Chicky to focus that long on anything, never mind making macaroni art or whatever it was. I wasn't really paying attention. What was that about my kid having a short attention spa... Ooh, shiny -

...Chicky's teachers told me all about the fantastic things my daughter has done this year - how they love that she always has a smile for everyone and the way she's eager to raise her hand to offer an answer during circle time. How she's always willing to try new things, loves running and jumping around the playground and that she's not only a very gracious playmate, allowing anyone and everyone to join whatever reindeer game she's playing, but if there's nothing going on that tickles her fancy she's just as open to going off on her own and making her own fun by herself.

I think I breathed an audible sigh of relief.

"That's so great to hear because at home she's like my shadow," I told her teachers. "I can't leave the room without her following me and I have to set strict individual play time away from me just so she'll touch the toys she owns."

And at that, I may as well have sprouted a second head, one that burst into the theme from Cats, because that's how her teachers looked at me.

"Really?" One of them asked. "That doesn't even sound like the same girl. She has no problem playing by herself here. She prefers to play with others but we will occasionally find her playing with some toys on her own."

*Head. Desk. Boom. Ow*

I understand that kids act differently when they're away from home. I do, I get that. But just today I quite literally locked Chicky out of the bathroom because I was fed up with being followed. Call me a Bad Mother. Whatever. I had just spent an hour begging her to play with the mounds of toys she owns.

Please, child, give me two seconds to breath. Don't make Mommy grovel.

Chicky is an extremely social kid who needs to with people. Constantly. She's most stimulated and in her element by activities that require two or more people, preferably ones that require physical acts. Which is great. Really. I mean, it could be a lot worse. She could be like me.

(For those of you playing along at home, that would be a person that fears people but loves her couch.)

(People. People who fear people. Are the loneliest people...)

(Whoohoo! Blogher is next month!)

(I think I just threw up in my mouth.)


But a woman has got to have a moment to herself from time to time. So yes, I do require she goes to her playroom alone to at least stare at the toys I have placed there for her enjoyment. I get that she's a social creature and I am only too happy to read books and play games and do puzzles and things like that until playtime is over, or until my legs fall asleep from sitting on the floor. Whichever happens first. But something has got to give.

Hey, you know what? Come to think of it...

Kind, friendly, eager to please, extremely social, very active, intelligent, hates to be without her family. That sounds familiar. Where have I heard that before?

Oh yeah.

Maybe I should have been more clear about who was the kid and who was the dog early on?


SciFi Dad said...

Kids are different with their parents. It's simple ratios, really. At home, there's one other person to occupy your time, which means that technically, 50% of your time can reasonably be appropriated to Chicky (what? you think you get your own time? how much did you have to drink today?). At school, there are like 20 kids, which means she can expect 3 minutes an hour tops. So, for basic survival, she figures out how to live for the other 57.

But when she's home, she doesn't need to do that.

Hey, it could be worse. She could be the kid who makes other, weaker kids eat paste. (Or, the paste eater.)

Whirlwind said...

Kids are super different at home. Hell, in our home, kids are different depending on what sibling or parent or combo of the aforementioned are home. Take Moe, the satan spawn - she's sweet as pie when alone or at school - othertimes, not so much. I had to laugh this morning after her pre-k graduation, we stopped in to tlak with the kindergarten teacher who was happily enjoying no kids (they finished yesterday. When what happens? Moe jumps OVER a table. Oy Vey! We laughed and wished the teacher GOOD LUCK for Monday (kindergarten move up day) and next year with Moe. I may have to buy her many bottles of wine next year....

Heather said...

I know the frustration well. My son can apparently LISTEN and FOLLOW DIRECTIONS at school. I guess that's good, but really stinks at home.

Avalon said...

My daughter, the preschool teacher has been musing about this exact topic the past 2 weeks. She has been doing her conferences with the parents of her classroom kids.....and is completely astounded by the way the parents describe their own children. According to her, they might as well be talking about another child completely.

Tania said...

I once had the teacher say to me, "I can't imaging Pumpkin EVER giving anyone a hard time".

tracey said...

at my kid's teacher - conference, i was actually quite frustrated when her teacher told me it isn't normal for the kids to be so different from school to home. i was floored. i think it is perfectly normal. they are so much more an individual at school than at home. they know at home they can test the waters more so than they do at school. i agree though with you, at home i set mine up with what i call "independent play," just so i don't feel bad about calling it "leave mommy alone for a few minutes already play."

fidget said...

Tessa's teachers are always telling me how wonderful she is in school and I'm all you mean she's not a destructive maniac here? and they give me that same look your daughters teacher gave you....

TwoBusy said...

Yeah, I laughed at the "people" song. I'm easy that way.

Sarah @ said...

Such a cute picture, though!

My mom used to do the same thing with me when I was a kid. She told me it was "Quiet Time," but recently she told me that she just needed me to back off and let her have some space. She called it "Sanity Time."

So you might be on to something...

Andrea Proulx said...

If it makes you feel any better my almost three year old is ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY potty trained at "school" she wears underwear there!

At home, nope. No interest. No nothing. UGH!

kittenpie said...

God, mine, too, is a total attention junkie at home, and it makes me crazy because while I know she has gotten a short stick on that this year, I'm still doing what I can manage, and pestering me doesn't make me want to spend time with you, kid! Gah. Can't wait for the summer, when we all might have a little more time and attention to give, with Misterpie around to take the babe sometimes. Phew.

Wait, what were you saying? Something about you have kids?