whose child is this anyway?
Sitting in tiny tot chairs across a small wooden table from Munchkin’s teachers last week was a surreal experience, and not because of the diminutive furniture.
With the fall semester behind us, we stopped by Munchkin’s school to have a chat with his teachers and hear about his progress. Because he is a bit older than many of the students in his pre-primary class, but not quite old enough to join some of last year’s classmates in the elementary class, Munchkin is benefiting from a unique program whereby he spends the mornings with younger classmates and then either joins the older kids after lunch or spends the afternoons working one-on-one with his teacher.
The sense we get at home is that he has made quite a few strides developmentally thanks to this individual attention. He is curious about the passage of time, always asking us what day of the week it is. He also has become more adept with numbers while developing an ever-growing fascination with spelling. He knows the letters that comprise his name and frequently sounds out the first letter of various words or asks us how things are spelled. His teachers also said he derives a lot of joy out of classifying living things. “He stopped the entire class one time because he found a bug and he wanted everyone to see this living thing he found.”
And what about his behavior, D ventured – does he hit any of the other kids or throw tantrums? At home, we’ve been noticing a bit of a behavioral regression since Junebug’s arrival. “Oh no!” his teachers replied in unison. They described him as a good-natured, well-behaved, independent-minded boy who sets the mood for the class. “But there is one thing: we need your help,” they implored – “Our swimming classes are a bit sad now because he refuses to take part, and we don’t know what to do.”
Given the holy terror we know our son to be at home, the teachers’ comments gave the impression that they were describing someone else’s child. At home, rare is the day that he does not break down into a crying or screaming fit. And getting him to listen to us has become a Sisyphean task. That said, knowing that we have a rebel threenager, we much prefer having him act out at home while being a model citizen at school than the other way around. Much better to listen to Munchkin’s teachers laud him than be hauled in for disciplinary conferences.
The independent-minded part, on the other hand, certainly rings true. If Munchkin makes up his mind that he does not want to do something, good luck changing it. Swimming, unfortunately, has become a casualty of this stubbornness. He has become dead set against learning to swim and now refuses to come anywhere near a pool. Initially, we thought it might have had something to do with being forced to take swimming lessons, which he clearly hated, but recently we hit on a new theory. The last time D took him swimming, Munchkin resisted the lesson but then had a good time playing with a squirt gun around the pool….until he fell in. D fished him out quickly enough, but it appears the experience may have traumatized him even further. Whatever the cause, we have our work cut out for us to overcome his resolve and get him interested in swimming again.