As a parent, we have those moments we dream about, like when your child takes their first steps, opens a birthday present we know they will love, or first says “I love you”.
I had a vision in my mind of what our first day of “Mommy and Me Pre-school” would be like. My two-year old, Blake, would be the star pupil, sitting quietly, learning new shapes and colors, while occasionally turning around to look up at me and smile. I would be so proud, photographing all the adorable moments. Well, this was another parenting moment that was not at ALL how I pictured it!
The class, which is once a week for an hour at a local church, started off very smoothly. Blake excitedly walked in and started playing. I call these pictures the “calm before the storm”.
Here Blake is with his teacher, Miss Melody. She helped each child put their hand-print in a children’s bible. So sweet.
The first 30-40 minutes of the class were spent playing and socializing. Blake and I are good at that! It also helps that I already knew three of the moms and their children from Gymboree class.
Then it came time to put the toys away and do activities in “circle time”. Here’s where things get interesting. My little angel threw a holy tantrum! We’re not just talking a few tears. We’re talking a throwing himself on the floor, screaming meltdown because he wasn’t ready to stop playing. As I struggled to pick him up (keep in mind I’m nearly 8 months pregnant!), and calm him down, I noticed all the other angelic two-year olds sitting quietly in a circle, waiting for the next activity to begin. Blake continued his fit and continuously ran out the door of the pre-school room, into the hallway. As mothers gave me sympathetic looks, I was trying to figure out how to best handle this situation. I didn’t want to physically force him into the circle. I knew that would only make matters worse. So while all the kids sang songs and listened to a story, Blake and I watched from the hallway. Between my frustration and pregnancy hormones, I almost burst into tears!
So following our first day of “school”, I sent an apologetic e-mail to the teacher, also asking for advice on how to handle my strong-willed toddler. Luckily, she was more than understanding and gave me some great tips. She says many toddlers have a hard time transitioning from play time to circle time and suggested I give him a special treat, like a juice box, when it is time to stop playing. We have also been practicing transitions at home, so that he is hopefully more prepared for what to expect at school.
We go back tomorrow, so we will see how it goes! I’ve got my fingers crossed!
Have any of you had similar experiences? If so, I’d love to hear them and your advice!