Ev has more parents than peers. His sister packed his backpack, read the information packet from the teacher and told me not to forget to pick up two vinyl folders on my way home.
“Yes, dear.” I responded with a smile.
This isn’t my first rodeo, and yet, in so many ways, it is.
Aaron was the only of my older children who went to preschool. We were living in Hungary at the time and enrolled him in the local preschool for language emersion purposes. But my mind was still firmly entrenched in homeschool philosophy. Aside from expecting him not to be a behavior problem, I really didn’t care about anything else that happened in his preschool. I wasn’t worried about him learning. I didn’t really care about education assessments.
I know. I know. My teacher friends are cringing right now; they have had to work with parents like me. It’s a nightmare. We smile and nod and then do whatever we please.
But it’s different with Ev.
I feel like I can’t give him what I gave the other children. For one thing, I can’t give him younger siblings. When his sister leaves home for college in less than a year, he will no longer have any playmates in the house. I also can’t give him my undivided attention. I am working nearly full-time and don’t have time (or inclination or energy) for play groups or mom with preschooler dates. All of Ev’s interactions are with older kids or adults. It’s no small wonder why he connects with older people best—his siblings are thirteen to twenty years older than he. He considers them his peers.
I saw his disconnect with kids his own age so clearly when I brought him to a Wacky Water Night at church. The teens were there helping with the kids as they played a series of different kinds of water games: some games were individual “fair” type games where one child at a time would play and others were team tag or relay style games where children played in teams. Ev did great on the individual games—he’s great at playing by himself. But on the team games, he shied away from the group, independently doing his own thing (much to the chagrin of his teammates) and eventually ended up over with the teens laughing and playing. He enjoyed himself immensely with the older kids, but not so much with his peers.
And these are the reasons I chose to put him in preschool.
These are the reasons it’s different with Ev.
He’s like my first…only without the stress of Ihavenoideawhattodowiththislittleperson. I enjoy every minute of life with Ev. I appreciate even the stubborn nuances of his personality. What I can’t give him alone is that great interaction with other children near his age.
As I picked him up from his first day, I asked the usual questions, “So, how was your first day at school, Ev?”
“It’s preschool, mom, not school…and it was great!”
“What did you learn about today?”
“Well, we went outside and saw our shadows. In the sun, you can see your shadow. I was runnin’ with the boys, and it followed me again and again. It was amazing! I liked sitting in my chair,” I think he adds this for my benefit because he RARELY sits still, “and making a craft. Well, I made four actually, and I liked the story about Max the dog.”
“That’s great, Ev! Who did you meet today? Did you make any good friends?”
“Well, I made a good friend with Joshua, and I sit next to Noah.”
So far so good. Seems like adjustment to me, but then Ev adds to it.
“And the teacher only had to talk to me about not doin’ somethin’ once.”
My stomach does a flip flop as I fast forward in my mind to my future sitting across the desk from a stern-faced principal with my delinquent teen in tow.
I gulp nervously, “And what exactly did the teacher talk to you about?”
“She told me not to click my feet during story time.”
Ok. That’s not too bad.
“And did you stop?”
“Of course I did mom. She’s my teacher and she asked me to stop so I did.”
Relief runs over me.
Maybe there is hope for this late in life oldman/child who has wisdom beyond his years and joy to share with the masses.
And maybe…just maybe…there is hope for this oldwoman/mama who feels like she can’t give Ev all that he needs in the same way she gave her other children.
Hope: it’s a good thing.