Tag Archives: preschool

I Like Stephen King, But Not at Preschool

27 Sep


Usually people shake hands with the teacher, assess her behavior, her interaction with the kids, her welcome speech, her bulletin board, and her room layout.  Usually.

And yes. This is something that I did carefully when I went to the little “Open House” for my son’s preschool. The inquisitive journalist in me asked multiple questions. Multiple. She probably thought I was Barbara Walters, but hey … this was my kid. I wanted to get the whole vibe on the room, the kids and the teachers. I used to substitute teach for a couple of years. I know teachers, well at least the middle-school kind. So I just wanted to be sure my kid would be all right.

Sure enough he was … both teachers seemed to pass The Guat’s test.

But as we finished the formal talking bit we moved over to the ice cream social part of the evening and this … this is where it happened.

I noticed it.

As I was checking out all the kids, making sure the crazies, if any, were nowhere near my son, I began looking at the parents. Something wasn’t quite right. The kids seemed to be fine, normal four-year olds, some in desperate need of a time-out, but nevertheless pretty normal.

Image via likecinema.net

But the parents … the parents seemed a little too Children of the Corn for me. All of them with that same creepy blank stare. Standing there by the slides and sandbox with their suits and flowery dresses. One couple tried to talk to me about something and I just made my way toward the monkey bars. I have no room for new friends, especially the Children of the Corn type.

Can I tell you how much that movie creeped me out? Middle-school, dragged out to the Million Dollar theater by my sister.

Dude. I don’t think I’ve seen a scary movie ever since. I haven’t even seen The Exorcist. I’m not a big fan of that, but I do watch stuff like Law & Order, and CSI stuff. I guess I’m more into crime solving, suspense type of dramas and less into the creepy horror thing.

However this whole Stephen King vibe that the parents were giving out sort of gave me second thoughts about letting my kid hang out with these people’s kids twice a week.

And then as I kept scanning the crowd I noticed a couple looking at everyone the same way I was looking at everyone. Then another. And another. Apparently there was an entire group of us having second thoughts until we realized that the Children of the Corn group was smaller than we thought.

But still … I don’t think I’m going to be doing any bonding with these parents. I know the kids are all right, but you never know, parents seem to have some sort of influence.

Yeah … we might even change schools.





Jellyfish and Testicles

26 Mar

Considering that my son is on a preschool sabbatical due to my economic technical difficulties I decided to expose him to some of the same experiences he would’ve had if he remained in school.

Here Come the ABCs

Here Come the ABCs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t get all crazy home school regiment, but I did apply some of the same guided discovery situations that allowed for play-based, thematic learning zone. The Guat Learning Zone.

Ocean combined with marine life became the first “theme” I explored. So we read books like Eric Carle’s A House For Hermit Crab and The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. We talked about all the animals the different shapes and body parts like the gills, tentacles, fins, teeth, blowholes, and tales.

We got chalk and drew out all kinds of fish, octopus, whales, and dolphins in the back yard patio. We put on our snorkel gear and went “scuba diving” and then went “deep-sea fishing” with our makeshift fishing poles. Since we don’t own a pool, and I chose not to got to the public urine filled pool that reeks of chlorine, we grabbed our swim trunks and gear and headed to the bathtub. It was a little crowded.

We resurrected the old Discovery Channel jellyfish tank that my son loved so much. It created a mini tidal wave when my aunt decided to move it thus, putting the computer out of commission a couple of months ago (you can read about that little incident here).

And then the field trip. The Aquarium of the Pacific. My son was so excited to see the diversity of marine animals live and in action, as well as the water play area that featured life-size oceanic animals squirting water at you. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time in water battles that day.

We experienced the awesomeness of the tropical pacific gallery that featured multitudes of colorful fish and coral reef.

One of our favorite exhibits proved to be the scuba divers swimming in a ginormous tank modeled after Blue Cavern Point, a kelp forest near the Santa Catalina Island Coast. It was a massive tank-like aquarium with scuba divers feeding hundreds of fish species trolling the waters. He was able to name some of the sea creatures and body parts, like their gills and fins. He was excitied about all this fish knowledge he acquired. I was pretty proud.

At the shark lagoon we petted sting rays, which were quite slimy and a couple of bamboo shark. But the best part of the field trip adventure was petting the jellyfish. My son was a little hesitant, but after explaining and seeing the similarity to his jellyfish-like creatures in his Discovery Channel tank, he was up for the adventure.

He pushed up his sleeves and plopped his hand right into the water. As I guided his hand over the jellyfish, he smiled and tripped out on the rubbery and slippery texture.

He was not scared, but amazed. He saw them swimming everywhere and yelled:

“Wow … look at all the jellyfishes everybody! They’re swimming. They’re swimming! And look they have many testicles, look at all the testicles, but we can’t touch because they will sting us.”

Amazing fish knowledge indeed.

The Aquarium guide lady and a couple other adults couldn’t help but smile and giggle.

“Yes … I see many tentacles.”

“Yes, mom. Many testicles.”

I smiled. I was still proud.

The Lorax to the Rescue

1 Mar

As a parent I’ve come to understand that I will fail from time to time. Doesn’t matter that I have a Bachelors or Masters degree I will fail in some way, shape, or form. I feel wretched. But it happens, that’s why Lambic Framboise was invented. But it’s only temporary … just until he turns four … and well … the teenage years.

Friday will be my son’s last day at preschool. I’ve had to pull him out for a couple of reasons. His teacher is going on maternity leave and may not even come back. It took him a long time to successfully transition into her classroom. It was a week and a half of watery eyes, tight hugs, and long good-byes … and this was just me. Seeing my kid break down because he thinks I’m shafting him has that effect.

The school added a new teacher, which meant a new environment, new rules, new scene. It would only be temporary because he would be moved again to the “big kids” room in a couple of months once he turned four. Then the teary-eyed good-bye cycle would return. I  think I’d have to buy a case of Lambic Framboise to get me through these phases, and I really didn’t want to turn into a raging alcoholic at 10 a.m.. So I thought might as well just do the good-bye cycle once and put him in a classroom when he turns four, which is in a couple of months.

Then there’s the move. Since I’ve been a guest at my parents’ house, the trek to his preschool has gotten a little longer, and gas prices are a little higher. I see about twenty preschools on our way to my son’s preschool. I figured once we were settled and moved into our new place, wherever that would be, I would find a quality school … you know, one with no pedafiles or perverts within a ten-mile radius.

But the primary reason: pisto. They’ve raised the tuition and I got no more pisto. Cash. I don’t know how much preschool is in other cities or states, but here in The Guat’s neighborhood the least expensive was $825 per month. I did a lot of research and looked into different places. Places that gave me a good vibe and the highest $1200 the lowest $825. And now it would be $875. I should have been a preschool mogul, instead of a writer. Maybe we’d be in our place by now.

Well with the raise in price and my income not being very incoming, I’ve had to pull the plug and finesse the situation. I felt like a terrible parent. Total downer. I prepared him for two weeks, letting him know when his last day would be, how school was ending, and how he’d be taking a little vacation with mom and then he would return to his new school. The “big boy” school. This did not go over very well.  So I had to be a little more tactful in this delicate situation … a little more politician.

I told him he was graduating.

I told him we had to celebrate his graduation. He did a great job in school and learned a lot of new things. Now he was graduating and we would celebrate. That’s what you do when you get bigger and succeed in school. You graduate. You celebrate with goodies, such as cake.

That seemed a little better, but not yet. He didn’t quite believe me.

Then I said we will have our weekly movie night at the movies. (Thanks to Netflix, we see a movie every week. We cozy up on the couch with Orville Redenbacher and watch Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Muppets, Nickelodeon or Charlie Brown like films.) I told him we’d make a special field trip to see The Lorax. We will see the Lorax as your graduation present.

The Lorax

Image via Wikipedia

“The Lorax is not a movie mom. It’s a book, see?”

He shows me his worn-out hardcover version of Dr. Seuss‘s The Lorax. We must’ve have read that book at least six hundred times these past two years.

“They made a movie. See?”  A commercial for The Lorax plays on the computer. Then as I close the screen, another commercial appears on the television.

“The Lorax! They made The Lorax Movie for my graduation?”

Yes … yes they did.

He smiled. Lorax to the rescue.