Friday, August 27, 2010

Back To School in Our House

I am excited for back to school this year! It is the first fall that there has actually been a ‘back to school’ at all, so it is an exciting time. Thing 1 started a preschool program last Spring that was just 2 days a week 2 hours each day. I saw a big difference in him after he started, picking up toys, helping and listening and taking turns. He just became a lot more behaviorally organized I guess you could say.

This Fall the program is still two days, but the days are each three hours, and starting properly in the fall is getting us all excited. We all took a trip to the school last week to drop off the tuition check. Thing 1 ran right in and even forgot to take off his shoes he was so excited to see his school. And his teacher? Well, he has a major crush on her, so he went shy and beet red when he caught a glimpse of her dark tresses. I was happy to have finally met her since it is usually our babysitter who drops him off.

Preschool of course brings up the beginnings of the school lunch issues. The kids at my son’s school do not receive a full meal, but they do get a snack. Usually the snack is something like Cheerios or Goldfish. But with everything I have researched recently, I have stopped serving both Cheerios and Goldfish at home. Granted, those foods are not like a government subsidized deep fried corndog, but it does force me to ask myself “how am I going to handle this situation?”

I like to see myself as kind of an in-between parent. On one hand, my Things are free to explore the world, express themselves, play with toys however creatively they want to and ask whatever questions they like good or bad. I am very open, use big words and talk to them just like I talk to you dear readers, because they deserve the same respect I do. On the other hand if they misbehave, I will step in. And I mean business, I will not accept poor behavior including stealing toys, hitting, being un-nice (in the south we’d say ‘being ugly’), not sharing, etc, and I will intervene. Sometimes I raise my voice, probably because that is what my parents did. I know that child-led-rearing works really well for some kids, but I pretty much call the shots in my house. If it’s time to go out and play, it is time to go out and play. If you can give me a compelling reason why we should do something else I am all ears. But “I wanna watch more TV” is not a good enough reason. Don’t think I am a tyrant, but we do stay on a schedule. I have two kids, I try to make sure that everyone will have a good time.

I try to see things from my Thing’s perspective, if only to understand how things will affect him. When it comes to the Cheerios and Goldfish, I don’t want to tell the teacher “My son is not allowed to eat those and I have packed organic whole wheat crackers for him”. I want him growing up and fitting in with his peers. I did enough sticking out as a child. I remember what it was like to feel different. Kids haven’t changed at all, it is just the paraphernalia that has changed. So I am not going to fight that battle over a couple of crackers. Will I pack him a healthy and veggiful lunch every day when he starts going to Kindergarten at the Public School? You betcha. But for now Cheerios are not worth the battle.

After much thought about how I actually would handle this situation, I approached the teacher and asked how she felt about cooking with kids. She said she taught a kid’s cooking class at another center. (Score!) So I volunteered to take a couple Fridays off work this school year and come to my son’s school and help the kids cook. What will we make? I have no idea. I am drunk with the possibilities.

I have never been so excited for Back to School.


  1. If he's never been before, then I don't think you can call it "Back to school" it's just "to school."

  2. He has been in school before. It’s just that he started in January and will be attending the same school this fall. So he is going ‘back to school’, but this will be the first time we have done a full school year where we start in the Fall and everything.

  3. Ok, I guess that qualifies then.

  4. Kid's are resiliant. If you don't want him eating the goldfish and cheerios, he doesn't have to. I worked at a preschool where there was one kid who's parents packed him "weird" food and he ate it up and didn't care what other kids thought. I remember one day they brought him take out from an Indian food restaurant and he ate it all up and didn't care what the other kids said about his "weird" lunch :). Once thing that you will have to teach your kids is that they can't trade food with other kids if the school doesn't moniter that :).

  5. Thanks Shuree, I need that reminder sometimes. Perhaps if the snacks become more complex processed foods I will pack him something else. I would love it if I could get Thing 1 to eat weird foods like Indian Food! Right now he loves Goldfish when he gets them from friends and our babysitter, so I imagine that there would be a fair amount of fight Later on I am more than willing to draw the line for him.