I sometimes wonder if sending Ava to a Mother's Day Out program twice a week is the right thing for her. She'll watch PBS, ride her bike around the family room, or play in the front yard until we're ready to let go... in other words, class started, and we're late!
As I pull her away towards the car, she says, "I don't want to go to school."
Oh boy. Already? Really?
Part of me wants to say out loud, you don't have to. In fact, let's play longer. You're getting so good at catching the soccer ball by yourself. Let's try again.
But instead I say, "Ava, you have to go to school. Your teachers are waiting for you - and so are your friends. Don't you want to go play with them?"
She thinks about it, and some days, I get a flat "no." Other days I get a smile, and she skips towards the car. This tease makes me anxious. Like the incident the other day...
Teacher: [notices embroidery on Ava's dress] I see triangles on your dress. Remember we learned that last week? What shape is this?
Teacher: That's right - good job.
Me: Ava, you're soo good at your shapes. You were talking about your planets this morning. Want to share with your teacher?
Ava: [whispering] Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. And those are my planets.
Asst. School Director standing by: Wow. I don't even know all my planets.
Me thinking: I'm in trouble here.
Either way - the storm clouds are brewing over my head, and I can't see through the fog right now to make a decision. If I pull her out, would she miss out on cupcakes or girlfriends to hula hoop with? And if I keep her in, will she hold herself back or come home with [gulp] cut-out paper triangles instead of dioramas of pyramids? Not challenging herself... getting lost in 9 other children's worlds - instead of her own?
With the pressure of waiting lists, application fees, and simply not knowing "enough" in seconds about everything out there [montessori? private? homeschool?.... unschool?] I'm afraid I'll keep taking her to this program. Until one day, maybe a lot like today... when the rain just fell on us unexpectedly and instead of running straight for cover, we had fun getting a little wet outside.
Noah on the other hand, made it quite clear to us that the program wasn't for him from the beginning. And I regret that there was a trial period to verify what my gut had been telling me all along. But that's how it happened - and I'm one step closer to understanding Noah's unique growth for discovery and playfulness to experience the world as he sees it, rain or shine...