Wednesday, June 18, 2008

GRADUATION BLUES

Seth's pre-K graduation was today, and it was close to being a disaster.

We arrived early, with my dad and Marc's mom in tow, since parking is super hard by the school, and we wanted to get a prime view for the event.

Seth was totally thrilled to see us, and was excited in general about the festivities.

More and more people arrived, and the teachers prepared. The children, Seth's fellow classmates, were asked to take their seats. All did, but Seth.

He clung to my neck with a mighty grip and wouldn't let go. He refused to take his place and started to cry. I lifted him and tried to place him in his chair, and he wouldn't loosen his gorilla-like grip.

One of the teaching aides came over and took him from me, and let him sit on her lap. He didn't love that, but went along with it, and eventually sat in his seat. But, he refused to sing any of the songs. Wouldn't smile. Made some small hand gestures to the music,as did the other kids. But, all without any enthusiasm.

I was stunned, and I thought Marc was going to totally lose it. He was already running through his mind ways to punish him back home.

Seth was not only not smiling but he looked like he was in a daze. This glassy eyed, teary look.

I spoke to his teacher afterwards who said that maybe he got scared by all the people there.

Another person from the school offered the perspective that perhaps Seth, who always enjoys being the center of attention, decided he'd get more focus by being the one child who looks miserable.

Hmmmm....would he actually think that?! I'm not so sure.

My dad and Marc's mom felt awful, and it put a total damper on the whole experience. Marc was in charge of video taping it, and it almost felt like we shouldn't bother. Who wants to remember the occasion as such a downer?!

His teacher said we shouldn't make too much of it, as sometimes kids get intimated or whatever. A mom we are friendly with offered that her daughter once got shellshocked on stage during a school performance, and stood frozen....so we should grin 'n bear it, basically.

But, should we really?

Marc & I feel that we need to teach Seth that this was totally unacceptable.

So....he will have no dessert, pizza, or soft drinks for a week...and we'll see how this goes.

In the meantime, what should have been joyous and maybe even emotional, was riddled with anger, angst and disappointment. We were so looking forward.

Oh well...I guess it's just part of the unpredictability of our kids and the parenting experience. Best to let go of expectations. But, I still can't help but be letdown, and happy in a sense that this day will pass.

Did that every happen to you? When you were so looking forward to something with your child and it turned out to be a total bust for reasons you may never understand?

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4 Comments:

Blogger Kim said...

I have never been in this position but I would be curious to learn if withholding privileges for a week works with a pre-k age child. My oldest is only 3 and can just about handle a three minute trip to the quiet stair.

7:49 PM  
Blogger naomicatgirl said...

It's always so dissapointing when we have high expectations and they don't work out as we plan.

Perhaps he was a bit sad to have to leave his teachers, or maybe all of the people scared him. Maybe he didn't get enough sleep and was tired. I don't think kids at this age do this sort of thing on purpose. He's still just a little boy.

Did you ask him what was wrong? What did he think about the day?

5:44 AM  
Blogger Robin Gorman Newman said...

I did actually ask him what was wrong, and he couldn't express it at the time. Then, we spoke with a parenting expert we sometimes consult, and it was interesting. She explained that we should not punish him....that it was a bad case of stage fright, which can happen. He was likely overwhelmed with all the people there, and doesn't love to sing to begin with.

So, I then felt badly for his punishment, and we had a talk with Seth and revoked the punishment, explaining that we now understood that he couldn't help how it felt.

But...wow...this stuff is confusing and challenging...and so emotional when you have thoughts of an occasion being joyous, and it doesn't turn out that way.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

What a great lesson for you and Seth in regards to apologies and your imperfections. It's great to say to your kid, "We made a mistake, we're sorry. We'll make mistakes again because we are not perfect." Give him a chance to learn how to say that to you later.

4:51 PM  

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