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Monday, November 16, 2009

Pre-K Thanksgiving aka Toddler Torture




Today parents were invited to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal in the classroom with their children at my son's daycare/pre-k. In theory this sounds like a great idea but in practice, not so much. The problems began as soon as Dad and I arrived at Mekhi's classroom. We were escorted to the kitchen to pick up our "meals" and Mekhi wanted to tag along because "parents, at school" no brainer. There was a delay with the meals and one of Mekhi's teachers took him back to the classroom while we waited and the water works commenced.

When we returned to the classroom about five minutes later, not only was Mekhi crying but another child whose mother was in the classroom was also crying. There was a general state of disorder and the children sadly were "wandering" and in doing so bringing to life their aptly named classroom -"wandering toddlers." The children finally lined up to wash their hands and sit down to eat. Meanwhile, Mekhi is still crying, despite the presence of both of his parents in the room. When he finally sat down next to me he didn't touch any of the food on his plate but he did manage to commender the roll from my plate of food. Of course, the roll was the only thing that I was going to eat but hey, that is the price of motherhood.



A little girl sitting next to Mekhi (I'll call her Mona) was not very interested in eating either. I think that her loss of appetite had more to do with being alone than anything else. Of the 7 or 8 children in the room, Mona was the only one without visitors. For the entire luncheon her lip was low to the ground and although we tried to talk to her and encourage her to eat she was completely disinterested.

After lunch it was nap time and subsequently departure time for the parental units. I am sure you can see where this is headed - water works again. I was torn between wanted to bring Mekhi home with us and wanting him to stay, nap and play outside with his friends. Dad just left in a huff. When we got outside he said "this is the worst idea ever" and has decided never to participate in a luncheon again.

I have to say I agree with him. Between the joy of seeing parents that quickly turns into disappointment when the parents depart, to the lone child without parents participating and the tears, a luncheon with toddlers is not a good idea. Perhaps an afternoon soiree would be better on a day when all parents can participate and we can take the children home. Otherwise this tortures all parties involved in one way or another.

I think I will provide feedback to the school about this particular event. I am sure it won't change anything but sometimes hearing a different perspective is helpful for future planning. What do you think? Was this toddler torture or a good idea?

23 comments:

Jamie said...

Sounds like torture to me! I do LOVE the second picture though - great shot!!!

Naomi said...

It is hard to have parents in the classroom but that photo of you two was definitely worth the struggle! Mekhi loves his mama, for sure!

blueviolet said...

I'm inclined to agree with you. It's really their first experiences at learning how to get along without parents for a little while, and it's just too tough to tease them like that.

What a sad day for that little girl.

LOVE the cute photo with you!

Execumama said...

Whoah, what gives? When we participated in the Thanksgiving luncheon in Mar's pre-k program, it was fun for us and for the children. They ate, made messes, performed their li'l rendition of the whole Pilgrim schtick, then waved bye-bye when it was time for the parents to leave. Some of us took our children with us when we left (b/c that can be hard for some of the children), but overall, it was wonderful. I wonder what was different at Mekhi's school? Did the teachers try to do things in too much of an "orderly" fashion? That SO doesn't go over well with 4 year olds.

Tanyetta said...

SOOOO SWEET! Mother and Son photo! So sweet!!!--

I love the first picture. His facial expression is priceless. He is so cute!

We're going on Friday. Wish me luck. You know the person crying will probably be me. They make us sit in those little chairs. All this junk in the trunk can't fit into those little chairs. OK, I have issues. LOL

Tooj said...

They have this planned at our kids' school as well. I think it'll be fine for our five year old, but not so much for the 19 month old. I went to visit the younger one once during lunch, and the leaving wasn't good. I don't know if either my husband or myself can get away for the party this year, and I'll be sad if my five year old is the only one without a visitor there. Maybe I could talk one of my siblings into coming if they're off work.....

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Unfortunately, welcome to a world of child torture. These types of lunches continue for most of their educational career and there are always kids that don't have anyone show up =( However, it gets easier on Mekhi, by the time he is in 3rd or 4th grade he will be waving goodbye to mom because he wants to ride the school bus home with his friends...

strokeofliving said...

Look it sounds like par for the course to me. Children cry. That's what they do. Especially if mom and dad visit school and leave without him/her. Tears are to be expected. Maybe the organization of the event could have happened differently but all in all, kids are dramatic - sounds like nap time was off schedule for baby cutie booty and Mona.

But why didn't her parent(s)/guardian attend? Strange.

mannequin said...

Those lunch/party/dinner dates at school are just no fun. Period. There was always one poor little child whose parents didn't show and no amount of cajoling would work. How sad for a little child.

On the other hand, Mekhi sure looks proud of mom. What a handsome guy.

Sheliza said...

ah, I remember those days. I am feeling sad for all the Mona's of the world. At least you got some great photos and I am sure you will have nicer family feasts in the future :)

Kathleen W. said...

Oh wow, that does sound awful! Especially with poor Mona...how sad.

You're right, an afternoon soiree would be much better.

That is such a great photo of the two of you. At least you got at least one smile.

Sherri @ Luv a Bargain said...

He looks so happy in the great picture of the two of you. You never would have known that it wasn't just a perfect morning.

Muthering Heights said...

Oh my...my heart is just breaking for little "Mona!" She must have felt terrible!! :(

Sarah said...

I totally agree that it is more than wee little toddlers can handle. Absolutely! Your idea of a parent-invitation about an hour before dismissal is perfect. That way the kids will be happy and be able to leave with their parents - happy.

How terrible do you feel for that little Mona. So sad. Poor girl.

Melanie said...

awww poor kids and poor little girl alone! I worked at a toddler care center for awhile and I don't think I would have ever wanted to set something like that up. Kids know when mom and dad are there, it's time to go. When they're older is a much more rational idea.

Modern Mami said...

We recently attended a "show" at my daughter's daycare. It was at 3 pm so it was easy to just take her home afterward. They are just too young to have something mid-day and then see you leave; they don't get it yet. There was a little boy there whose dad didn't show up either. It's so sad to see them aching for a visitor!

Ms. Bar B: said...

Interesting. I remember the potlucks that we use to have when Miss J was in Preschool. They were always at the end of the day, about an hour or two before they children would be going home, and we would all bring dishes and sit and enjoy our children and each other. Sounds like the teacher might need a few suggestions on how to make holiday celebrations more enjoyable for everyone.

African American Mom said...

I agree the departure is always the hardest. I have experience this many times over. My sons are usually left dissappointed and I am left hungry becasue I was busy trying to calm or chase them instead of us sitting down to eat. I honestly think it was just me because I would look around the room and see other parents enjoying themselves. Glad to know know someone else feels the same way I do. However, I will say that you will probably go back next year or at Christmas because you are going to think about Mekhi sitting there all alone. I have come to realize it is one of the tortures of being a parent to a toddler in preschool.

Felicia said...

OH man!! It sounds like a nightmare! lol! I bet he will remember it though.. the fact that you came to his school to have dinner with him.

Jewelry Rockstar said...

I've done a bunch of these over the years, and I'm sure I'll have to do a few more. One thing that was a great benefit to me was the two-way mirror at my children's school. I used to go up and watch the children after one of these torturous events (because they all bring on the water works no matter what), and what I found is that they recover very quickly. I mean within minutes of the parental chaos coming to an end, the kids transition to whatever is next and they are fine. Hope that helps some. You've got to keep going or else yours will be the kid with the lip hanging low, and for that I have no special words of encouragement. Poor baby girl.

angie said...

Oh, how sad that it didn't turn out well........I always feel for that poor kid whose parents for whatever reason couldn't make it.

La'Tonya Richardson said...

I going with torture! The routine is, parents leave children in the morning, and in the evening when the parent returns, both child and parent leave together. Things were outside of the norm.

SageMom said...

That is such a great photo!

DS1's school had a "family lunch day" earlier in the year, and DH went (I stayed home w/DS2 since babies weren't allowed), and DS1 didn't cry when he arrived or left.

However, whenever we do come in for any other reason and we leave, he usually does cry A LOT.

I think the schools have good intentions, but many don't realize how kids may react when they see their parents come/go.

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