Wednesday, February 29, 2012

he's okay, i'm okay

Yesterday, my husband and I were picking the kids up from daycare and one of the teachers asked us if W is talking at all at home. "Huh?" I said to myself? You  mean my chatty little toddler is not chatting well at daycare? And they explained that they rarely hear him speak at all, not to teachers or students. I assured them up and down that W is chatty, that he talks in short sentences, and that I hear new words almost every day, many of which he's learning at daycare and which I'm taking as a good sign that daycare is a fine place for him to be. It's all true--he is chatty. He does talk a lot. And he's still mimicking us and then using those new words in sentences of his own design.

I've been mulling it all over, though, and am concerned. I don't particularly like his current teacher, and I have a sense (rightly or wrongly, I'm not sure) that she's the kind of teacher--a very common kind, I might add--who tends to reward louder or more demanding kids. What I mean is that there are studies to show that kids who act out or who are loud and boisterous tend to get more face-time and attention from teachers because they demand it. My kid, however, is shaping up to be more like I was as a child: sensitive, able to go along with the flow, shy, and not necessarily demanding anything from anyone. I hated teachers who put me on the spot (as this teacher does in "circle time") or who repeatedly asked me questions when I just wasn't in the mood to talk.

I have a feeling that W would be far happier at a montessori or montessori-like school, but there aren't any nearby or convenient. The closest one that I've heard rave reviews of would add 45 minutes to an hour to my already long (45 minute) commute to and from work. Impossible.

So do I leave my kid where he is and hope for the best? Do I assume that he'll start adapting to this environment, or that his current adaptation will just work okay? He doesn't seem worse for the wear. He's usually smiling when I pick him up from daycare. And while he's not smiling when I drop him off, the other kids aren't either.

As I think it through, I'm also reflecting on what I would have wanted as a child. I went to a montessori preschool for about six months when I was four or so and I remember loving it. It was one of the few childhood school environments I think fondly of; the rest all blur together in a haze of dodgeball, disappointment in my peers' reading levels, and general boredom. In the end, I wasn't the worse for the wear, either. I have a Ph.D., for crying out loud, so I found a love of learning and school despite those bad early experiences. I imagine that happened in large part because of my mother, who guided me toward a love of books from day one (as I will guide my kids to do as well). The shyness did suck during high school and college--hell, it still sucks today--but this might just be who I am.

Our kids are little reflections of ourselves. They show us who we are today, who we were, and who we wish we were and are. They're more than reflections of course--they are their own full people and I don't mean to suggest that they only exist for me to understand myself. But it seems clear today that part of parenting is self-reflection, as painful and awkward as it is.

I have no clear answers about what I'll do. I suspect we'll keep him where he is and see what happens next. If he doesn't start feeling comfortable enough to speak at daycare, perhaps we'll revisit.

By the way, I owe you all a quick update on the post-partum anxiety front: the anxiety is slowly going away! It's not completely gone and I still catch myself doing the ocd behaviors around bedtime and nursing at night, but they're quieter and less intrusive. The anxiety is not crushing or panicky. I think the post-partum hormones must be easing off and I'm returning to my normal levels. Life is feeling more relaxing by the day. Good news, right?

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Elphaba had a great idea: to create a blogroll for people who are parenting after infertility and/or loss (PAIL, for short). It's true, I think, that those of us on this blogroll may be different than other parents, and it's exciting to think we might have a place, together. I don't think of myself as part of the world of infertility and loss anymore and I certainly don't identify as a mommy blogger. In fact, I recoil from many mommy blogs, and I can't quite put my finger on why, though perhaps my identify as a member of PAIL is a big clue, huh?

Anyway, I invite you to head over and check it out!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Susan Niebur, of Toddler Planet, has died. As a longtime reader, I'm incredibly sad and am holding her family in my heart with lots of love. As a tribute to Susan, please also read her very important explanation of inflammatory breast cancer.