Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The other side of the desk

I knew the day would come when I would be on the OTHER side of the desk...the PARENT side of it.

I knew it would come and I thought I would handle it with grace and poise and confidence.

I was POSITIVE I would handle it that way.

Yeah right.

I am a basket case and an idiot. It's like I have no education and I can't speak clearly when asking a question.

(I will be discussing Nora in the below scenario. Had I not just told you that, I'm sure you would have been able to figure it out. Because she is my FIRST BORN and all parents...ALL PARENTS...are hopelessly clueless and overprotective with their first borns. I think there should be special people who follow first-borns around and apologize to them for their parents. Because by the time the 2nd, 3rd or 4th comes around the parent is all relaxed and chilled and knows what to expect...very zen. Poor first-born children...and poor teachers of first-born children.)

My daughter is THREE (and a half). She expertly knows that name of each and every princess ever created by Disney and she can tell you every single member of her immediate and extended family (first and last names). She knows who her best friends are (because they are the children we have thrust her towards since she was zero) and knows all of the children in her Sunday school class. I know she is social and that she is loved by other children.

HOWEVER, when we ask her who she plays with at school, she says she plays alone and doesn't have any friends.

Knife. To. The. Heart.

Now, the mature/educated side of me knows that she does not sit in a corner all by herself every time she goes to MDO. I know that kids are not running up to her, pointing their fingers at her and screaming, "No one likes you!" and then run off laughing. I know that her teachers would never let her play, solo, for THREE weeks now and not let me in on her behaviors.

BUT the overprotective, mama bear side of me wants to plop myself down at the toddler table for the day to observe what is going on in the class. I want to encourage all the other little girls and boys to choose my daughter for a playmate. I want to carry her into class and promise her that I will play with her, I like her, I want to be her best friend. I want to tell her she doesn't ever have to go to the horrible school again and mommy will never, ever leave her.

I hate being on this side of the desk!

When I was a teacher, I KNEW what was going on. I was able to witness the interactions between the students. I could tell who was the "popular" one, the chatty one, the quiet one, the funny one. I knew who was being left out and who was being pushy. I KNEW EVERY THING.

(Power is so nice.)

I was the one who reassured the parents that their child was doing "just fine" in school and was "right on track" developmentally. I told the parents, "Oh no, he is GREAT in class! I never have to get on to him" while the parents looked at me like, "Is she really telling me the truth because I know he doesn't act like that at home."

Now, I am the one who is uncertain. And I do a lot of talking...

"Is my daughter a normal 3.5-year-old? How was she? She has a hard time sharing at home, is she yanking toys out of hands...because that is what she does to her sister. (Maybe that's why no one plays with her.) She can write her name...has she done that for you? I'll talk to her about leaving her shoes on at school...I'm so sorry! We will discuss that! She wants to bring a stuffed animal with her for rest time, is that okay? I noticed on her paper that she is having a hard time coloring within the lines? Should I be worried? No? Does she ask you to go to the potty? Because sometimes she is shy about telling someone she needs to go. I have extra clothes in her backpack just in case there is an accident..."

And do you know what the teacher is thinking this whole time? I do. I know, because I have thought the EXACT same thing. EXACTLY the same thing. The teacher is thinking, "SHUT UP! Nora is completely normal and hopefully you and all your questions won't change that fact."

And really, the whole time I am talking, I am wishing that someone would come up to me and smack me in the back of the head to get me quiet. I am annoying myself.

(And I promise it's not THAT bad...that's what I tell myself.)

So, this whole "no friends" problem is a hard one for me.

What do I do? What would you do?

This is the 2nd day she has mentioned this.

I don't want to be "that" mom and immediately call the teacher and ask who she plays with. BUT, I also don't want to let it go, just assuming that Nora doesn't know all the names of the kids in her class and is probably the life of the party.

Should I email? Should I bring it up next time she goes to school? Should I stop caring so much about how I "look" to her Mother's Day Out teacher? (yes.)

This is a hard side of the desk to be on.


Julie Walker said...

Hey, that sounds so sad! I would ask the teachers, you wouldn't be THAT mom, just caring and curious. If they are MDO teachers, they must have kids of their own and completely understand your concerns.

Lisa said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. I am that way with Charlie. (But not with Kami) I would talk to the teacher when you take her to school. It is always better to have answers than to be worried that something is going on.

Supabloggasuprememama said...

I hear you on the first born thing. I was a first born and paid the price dearly. however, there is certainly nothing wrong with asking the teacher. I might send an email? just to ask. Though I'm sure this will all straighten itself out with time. ;) keep us updated and hang in there! you are a wonderful mommy for caring about all these things!

~aj~ said...

I just want to give you a great big hug, Dallas! Being a mama is tough stuff sometimes.

I think you should 100% ask the teacher. Don't call her up, all frantic, and demand a parent/teacher conference or anything like that. Just casually mention it the next time you drop Nora off at school.

I'm sure the teacher would be more than happy to give you some insight into Nora's day.

Let us know what you find out!

Julie said...

I felt like I was hearing a story about myself:) Seriously! That being said, I would still ask the teacher-why stop now:)? Just say that Nora mentioned it and you're sure she's exagerating, but you just wanted to be reasured.

Sherry Linda said...

It was a while ago, but I didn't worry so much about Neal playing with others as I was about the 2-3 bite marks (on his arms) he came home with! He was pretty quiet for the first few weeks and then...he had friends wanting to come live with him because he was an only child (more toys they thought). Yes ma'am...a whole 'nother set of problems.

Deborah said...

When you were on the teacher-side of the desk, you weren't yet a mama, and I'm sure those crazy parents made you batty with their questions.

Any teacher that is also a parent would SURELY understand your concern, especially if you asked about it in a funny "I'm a first-timeer" way (which of course you will!).

Tricia said...

Absoutely ask the teacher - I am teaching at Carpenter's Kids at college church - and it is MOST defintely different teaching after being a momma! - I would probably observe without Nora and/or teachers knowing it if possible. But I would still talk to the teacher about it - she might be extra shy with the children she doesn't know -

you just never know what these little precious children of ours are thinking -

Amy said...

So what I do is send a I-know-I'm-a-crazy-overprotective-mom-and-I-need-another-child-to-distract-me-BUT-I-need-to-run-something-by-you email, and it's always been well received and made me feel a ton better. And as I've gotten to know Luke's teachers I've learned there are parents much crazier than I am. Always good to hear. Or they're just telling me that to keep me calm . . .

Amy said...

Madison Simpson searched for caterpillars at recess alone, walked the tightrope on the wooden rails surrounding the play equipment alone, and chased her shadow alone. She never initiated friendships, and still doesn't.

Nora is FINE... just like Madison is FINE. She'll have friends. Madison has friends. They just don't have Dallas and Amy personalities. That's left up to Makenzie and Elyn.

Don't worry friend~

Amy said...

I found your blog while "blog-hopping" this morning. First I have to tell you that your girls are adorable! Second, I can relate...I worry about being on the other side of the desk and that I will be THAT mom...
Finally, Maybe you could mention to the teacher that you want to have a play-date with some of your little one's friends and could she please let you know who she seems to play with/gravitate towards the most? That way you could find out who (if anyone) that she does play with and then go the extra step to actually have the playdate and you could both make new friends!

Kim said...

Oh, Dallas. If only we lived closer, we'd be crazy moms together-so, we'll have to settle for crazy moms on the blog together!
I've been there. Had exactly that problem with Kennedy at preschool. Felt exactly as you described. Her teacher told me they like to let the child figure it out. Okay. Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled with what I was told, but, eventually, Kennedy would say "____ played with me". I know this is a common thing, and I don't blame you for checking it out. Nora is great and what is wrong with those kids!!! :) See, I know how you feel!

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