Pessimistic Optimism

Life as I see it… sort of.

Preschooler Faux Pas

Fitting in can be difficult for many children, but so far my daughter seems to blend just fine.  Her way of blending isn’t in the traditional sense, such as doing whatever the leader does, partially because she’s often the leader, but by being similar enough to the other kids to not stand out all the time.  But a  startling new revelation might just knock my little angel into the loner club because kids can and will be cruel… if taught properly. 

She brought her problem to the forefront by being honest and being herself, which are sometimes a no-no in the preschooler-eat-preschooler world.  I guess she hasn’t caught on yet how important it is to follow the crowd in life if you want to be comfortable and boring, like her daddy.   

Here’s the problem: she doesn’t like goldfish.  Can you believe it?  She doesn’t like goldfish.  I’m not talking about the kind your great-grandfather swallowed in college, I mean the edible ones, you know, the dusty freaking crackers that every four-year-old loves.  She doesn’t even like the rainbow ones and that’s her favorite color.  To put this in context, imagine a twenty-something not liking Red Bull or Barack Obama or a forty-something not liking Starbucks or U2.  This is a big deal!

The taunting hasn’t started yet, that I know of, but I’m trying to prepare myself.  What am I is she going to do if she’s not in the kiddy in-crowd? 

I wish her well.  I’ll have She’ll have to stand tall and take the heat like a man big girl.  I hope it’s not too late for her to ride this one out by not thinking for herself and start copying her friends like she’s supposed to.  That’s the only way she’ll be able to just be one of the crowd, like her daddy. 

Godspeed young beauty!

copyright Linus Mann 2008

June 11, 2008 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, peer pressure, preschool | 3 Comments

No School For You

Something just didn’t seem right when we arrived at my daughter’s school today.  There was a different vibe to the place and an odd odor floated about.  The owner of the school walked outside to speak with the mothers and me while we were swapping recipes.  This was unusual in itself on two counts.  Number one: the teacher usually greeted us; and B. the school actually has an owner.

The forty-something dictatoreducator advised us that due to a plumbing problem, class was cancelled today.  When I attended St. GiveMeYo$ I thoroughly enjoyed surprise days off because of things like snowstorms, water main breaks or faculty arrests, but my daughter reacted quite differently; she was distraught.  She couldn’t get it through her pretty little braided head that she was being denied access to HER classroom.

It took us a little while to walk back to the van because my studicious genius kept stopping to see why she had to be with Daddy and her brother instead of her school friends and teachers.  She wanted this nightmare to be over.  That’s when my sensitive side took over.

“Honey, school’s closed today.  That’s just the way it is.”

“I don’t want it to be closed,” she said.  “I’m the star of the week” (a rotating honor was bestowed upon her this week and she obviously looked forward to it).

“Me neither, beautiful, but it’s out of my control and you’ll still be the star of the week tomorrow.” 

Unfortunately the conversation didn’t end there.

“Why is my school closed?”

I figured that honesty was the best policy with a four-year-old so I explained that the toilets were broken.

“The kids won’t have to use the toilet,” she said.

Wow, that would be a solution if all the preschoolers adhered to my daughter’s proclaimation.  Unfortunately the teachers and the “owner” probably wouldn’t take her word for it so I didn’t bother making this suggestion.

“I’m sorry, big girl, but you can’t go to school today.”

That’s when the water works kicked in.  By this time we were at the van and she didn’t want to admit defeat so she refused to climb on in so I lifted her somewhat gently and tried unsuccessfully to get her seated comfortably.  She immediately ran the three feet across the van and stood in front of her now screaming brother.  I guess he already knows that old statement misery loves company.  At this point I considered joining in but decided the best thing to do was distract them and strap her in before she knew what hit her.  The hitting her’s only a figure of speech so don’t call the authorities just yet.  My “look at the hippo” stunned them just enough to give my ears a break and gave me the opportunity to strap the dejected princess in her car seat.

Her despair really set in as we drove away.

“Someone’s bringing a snack and I’m not going to eat it with my friends,” she said.

That’s when my supreme ingenuity kicked in.

“Would you like to have a special snack with your friend in the seat next to you when we get home?”

Her face lit up and she giggled. 

“Daddy, you mean my brother can be my friend and we can have a snack together?”

“Exactly.  We can pretend that he’s just your friend and you can have a snack and some juice together.”

At this point the doldrums left the vehicle and she speculated what the snack might be and so did I.  Hopefully I could meet her expectations with something out of the ordinary.  

Back at the ranch I rustled the kids into the house with promises of a fun snack.  They eagerly climbed into their chairs as I filled bowls with trail mix that had M&Ms in it and they were ecstatic.

My daughter’s passion for learning and socializing pleased me to no end, but the fact that a good snack is the only cure for her morose attitude might lead to a weight problem if we have a harsh winter with a lot of snow days this year.  Does Jenny Craig have a preschool program?

October 1, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, preschool, school | 5 Comments

No Playing in Preschool

My daughter’s new to the whole school scene this year so we like to interrogate her when she gets dismissed from her daily 2 1/2 hour ordeal.  We ask open-ended questions like What’d you do today, What did you learn, Is your teacher a bitch, and What kids did you play with.

Her answer to the last question floored me. 

“Kids are not supposed to play with other kids in preschool.” 

It kind of inferred an answer to question number three until my daughter revealed the origin of this edict through further prodding, er questioning.

“Who said that kids aren’t supposed to play with kids?” I asked.

“I did,” she said.  “Kids are only supposed to play with toys by themselves at preschool.”

There had to be more to this so I asked a leading question.

“Did one of your teachers say this?”

“No, Daddy.  I came up with this by myself.”

“Are you sure that your teacher didn’t say this while she was screaming at the class?” I asked innocently.

“No Daddy, the teacher doesn’t scream at the class, she talks nicely.”

After some reassurance my wife and I convinced her that it’s okay to play with other kids at preschool and that in fact her teacher’s not a bitch and I really need to accept the fact that my little girl’s in someone else’s capable hands part of the day.  At least it’s only part of the day… for this year at least.

September 15, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, preschool | 2 Comments