Yesterday upon arriving at Ethan’s preschool, I knew I was in trouble.
I was in trouble because when the teachers saw me coming, they said, “There she is.”
Oh, boy. Never a good sign.
In the past three months, Ethan has received an ‘incident report’ three times. Each time it has more or less been because he’s a rambunctious kid who has no respect for others’ sleep needs. During nap, he jumps from cot to cot, is loud, climbs on the air conditioner, shelving, and unused cots, and is generally the life of the party.
And as we all know, the life of the party gets obnoxious after awhile.
The teachers do not require naps, but they do require those not napping to sit quietly on their cots and engage themselves in quiet activities. For Ethan, that is just generally impossible. So now they want us to go have a conference with them and the director, which is like being summoned to the principal’s office.
Thing is, we’ve been through all this before, I know what they’re going to say, and it is just tiresome.
First, they’re going to tell me they think Ethan has attention problems. They’re going to recommend that he needs to be evaluated for the much over-diagnosed spectrum of attention disorders. I know this, because I heard the same thing with Laurel. But with Laurel, it was that she was bored and needed alternate schooling. Maybe it is the same with Ethan.
I was so frustrated last night after his teachers requested this meeting that I was just beside myself. I also was not feeling well, so I believe my response to the teacher’s request was something in the vein of, ‘You know, this is just getting ridiculous; you can do all the write-ups and we can have conferences until we’re all blue in the face, but WE CANNOT BE HERE TO BABYSIT HIM and keep him on his cot and quiet, so I don’t really know what you all want from us here.’
We like the teachers; we do. But Ethan (and Laurel) need a stronger sense of authority than these teachers give. This is probably not their fault. This is the fault of our culture, wherein parents are so damned permissive that they cannot stand a teacher giving firm authoritative instruction to their child. Greg and I are able to impart that authority at home, and therefore are able to reach them by ‘putting the hammer down,’ so to speak. Our kids don’t need Mr. Rogers, they need Gunnery Sergeant Hartman:
After a good night’s rest, I decided to see if I could keep Ethan entertained today. We started with coloring, and we had a breakthrough. Ethan wanted to color pumpkins, and he wanted to color them purple. Cool, okay, I’m fine with that. He colored this:
But then I gave him 2 minutes (really, no more than that) of advice on coloring within the lines, and he colored this:
Hmmm. I think maybe we’re onto something here. My theory: Ethan’s very energetic and doesn’t see his teachers as authority figures. He’s bored at school, and frustrated because he needs more stimulation but can’t provide that for himself without more one-on-one instruction. I’m going to have to step it up at home. It’s time.