Ugh... so... dealing with some frustrations here blog-o-sphere... and I thought I'd share them with you.
First off: the big'un started school last Tuesday. He's 4, so that means that here in Ontario he goes to the "2 year Kindergarden Program"... that's school all day, every day. At 4 years old.
Now - I'm not actually complaining about him going to school everyday, because the big'un is one of those kids who really really really wanted to go to school. He loves it. Everyday he comes home and tells me he had a good day and he wants to go back tomorrow. Fantastic! He even decided after the first short week of school that he no longer wanted to come home for lunch (even though we live, literally, around the bend from the school) but that he wanted to stay all day and eat lunch at school with his class. No problem, done. He's stayed for lunch every day since then.
But then last night was "Meet the Teacher" night. We've met the teacher a couple of times already, spoke to her briefly on a few occasions of pick ups and drop offs, but yesterday afternoon she met the Hubs when he picked up the big'un and told him that they were having some "listening problems" and, even worse, that when she told him to listen to her and look at her when she was speaking that he "made a gun with his fingers and pretended to shoot at her.".
Our kid... is THAT kid.
So, the Hubs talks to me about it when I get home, we decide that the consequence is going to be no video games for a week, and the big'un has to apologize to his teacher that night at Meet the Teacher night. Well, we get there, he apologizes and then as we talk to the teacher a bit, we discover that it's not that that day was a bad listening day, that there have been LOTS of bad listening days (yeah, she said LOTS... there have been 8 days of school and she said LOTS) and that the pretend shooting was the last straw. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to make excuses for my kid. He plays video games (the lego games for xbox) with his Dad - everything from Harry Potter, to Pirates of the Caribbean, to Batman and Star Wars - and watches movies (mostly Disney, but Dreamworks and other animated type films) and has definitely been exposed to "shooting" things though not with any concept of the real consequences of ACTUALLY shooting anything. So, I was upset (I'm still upset), he's definitely still having a week of no video games (and in our house, that puts a LOT of things off limits, technophile household that he lives in) and we're asking the teacher to give us quick daily reports on his listening for the next couple of weeks.
But here's the thing: (okay, things...)
1) I'm pretty sure that when we were kids, we made guns with our fingers and pretended to shoot things/each other/cars/'bad guys'/etc. I'm also pretty sure that it wasn't a huge deal if we did. We were kids. It was obvious to our parents/teachers/caregivers that we weren't going to actually shoot them.
2) I'm pretty sure that the teachers' hands are tied. I don't think she can speak harshly to him at school (lets be honest, if he's supposed to be doing something at home and he refuses or throws a tantrum then he hears some harsh words and goes to his room.) I'm not even sure she's given him a time out or put him in the hallway or whatever. I don't even know what she can do.
3)I'm frustrated. I feel like my kid isn't allowed to be a kid. I feel like, after 8 days of school (when he's NEVER gone to school before except for a 2 morning per week playschool program) that he's expected to fall in line right away, to listen to the teacher, to not have a tantrum (which, btw is kidspeak for I'm frustrated.), to just "get it" and start learning. He's meeting all the educational markers with NO PROBLEM. He knows his entire alphabet, he can count and recognize numbers up to 20... he's a smart kid, but already, after only 8 days, he's a problem child. He's the one who's "misbehaving".
And honestly - I have absolutely NO idea what to do about it.
How do I explain to a 4 year old, that even though Buzz Lightyear has a gun (yes, it's a laser gun or whatever, but it's a gun), that even though Finn McMissile (yeah, that's right McMISSILE) has guns and shoots at the bad guys, that even though the pirates carry muskets and swords, that even though they shoot everything from batarangs to grappling guns to laser beams from their eyeballs in EVERY. SINGLE. SUPERHERO. ANYTHING. EVER... that it's absolutely NOT OKAY to recreate that in his play. How do you explain that kids have been expelled from school for things like having a toy-gun in their backpacks, or having a temper tantrum in school (seriously, google it, it's out there). Do we stop letting him play video games and watching any movies with physical conflict in them? Does the hubs stop playing his video games when the kids are awake (even if they're seemingly not interested in what he's doing)?
Are other parents going through the same concerns and issues that we are?
I'm at a loss.
I guess we'll just have to see how it goes from here.
I need tea.
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