At the meeting yesterday with Sophie’s kindergarten teacher and the special ed teacher, we talked about strategies for getting Sophie to behave. We didn’t talk about strategies for getting other kids’ parents to behave.
And I’m the first to admit my reaction here is likely super-premature and overly sensitive in an It’s All About Me way, but something happened outside Sophie’s classroom this morning that raised my hackles. (What the heck ARE hackles, anyhow?)
Sophie was being her before-school-ball-buster self — preferring to stand in front of the classroom rather than move to the playground (truth be told, she really wanted to be indoors with the teachers, but that wasn’t going to happen), demanding her water bottle from her backpack. Hey, it’s a new one and it’s got Abby Cadabby on it so I can hardly blame her. But to other eyes, it probably looked like my kid’s just a huge pain in the butt.
I felt a set of eyes headed my way, from on high, and looked up to see a football-jersey’ed dad watching me, carefully.
“Are you her mother?” he asked, pointing to Sophie, who was wriggling in my arms, trying to get her water bottle open.
“How old is she?”
I dispensed with my usual cutesy, “Sophie, how old are you?” and simply answered, “Five.”
“Oh. That’s my son,” the guy said, pointing. “He’s 4.”
“Oh.” Long pause. “Um, I’m Amy.”
The guy introduced himself and was pleasant enough, I suppose, though he made sure to tell me his kid’s kindergarten experience wasn’t going so well. I made some meaningless comment about kindergaren being hard on all kids and the guy said something like, yeah, well, in this life things don’t always go the way you want them to.
No duh, dude.
He kept staring at Sophie. He didn’t say hi or try to engage her. Then he turned away and started discussing tennis shoes with another dad.
What I didn’t tell the guy is that kindergarten is particularly hard on kids who aren’t yet 5. I know that from watching the action in Annabelle’s classroom, when she was in kindergarten. I have to admit, I was 4 myself when I started kindergarten, so I’m being hypocritical, making any sort of comment, but hey, when has that ever stopped me? I do know that while it’s allowed, the sticking-your-kid-particularly-your-boy-kid-in-kindergarten-before-5-thing is technically allowed (I think the kid has to turn 5 by December) but somewhat frowned upon, at this school. I’m guessing the guy’s kid has had issues and he’s complained and he’s been told, well, he’s not quite old enough, is he?
I’m no mind-reader, so I’m worried. I’m hoping that guy was just wondering about Sophie’s age because she’s so teeny, rather than wondering why this kid with Down syndrome is in a regular kindergarten classroom, sucking attention away from his kid.
I’ll have to watch The Man with the 4-Year-Old Son…..
I don’t think a penny chart will work in that case, but I am hopeful it will help Sophie. We are in the process of listing possible motivators: a trip to the bookstore/pet store/Chuck E. Cheese, New Piglet at rest time, Sesame Street computer games, and as an extra special reward, chocolate ice cream with Ms. X.