Tag Archive for Preschoolers

Inappropriate Recital Costume or Prudish Mama?


Hot pink, or fuchsia (as Fancy Nancy would say), is my daughter’s favorite color. But she likes all the shades of pink. And at age three, she already has developed a signature style I still have yet to figure out mine.

Each morning, she selects a shade of pink pettiskirt, a pair of funky leggings, and one of her dozens of pink tops. Add pink socks and her shiny pink sneakers, and she’s good to go.

My mother-in-law bought her a very cute book: I Wear My Tutu Everywhere. Much like my daughter, the pint-sized protagonist likes to wear her tutu…well…everywhere. One day it rips at the playground. Her mom repairs the tutu and then reveals the perfect place for her daughter to exercise her sartorial preferences–Ballet Class.

So, I’m sure you all know what comes next in my little story. Yes, adorable requests for dance lessons.

My daughter had enjoyed a trial class and a birthday party at a local dance school, which is known in the area for taking a very fun, casual approach. They even have story time as part of the class.

Most of the kids started in September but the teachers reassured me there was no problem starting mid-year. All was going well as I paid the various deposits, fees for shoes, costume fees, etc. When I peeked through the window, I was delighted to see her giggling and holding hands with the other kids.

Then, one of the teachers pushed a plastic laminated sheet from a costume catalog into my hands. I froze.

The recital number is the genie’s song from Alladin–an upbeat ditty of magical one-ups-manship.

And the girls will be dressed as “Arabian Princesses” according to the costume’s description. Except the costume seemed more evocative of “Harem Girl” to me. I can’t quite put my finger on what bothered me about the outfit. It was more than just the “bare” midriff (technically not bare since a nude-color mesh actually covers the stomach). I wore bikinis when I was a little girl and the photos of me clearly show a funny, knobby little tomboy. Nothing weird at all.

As one of my friends has pointed out, they are just three and four year old girls who will be bumping into one another and stepping on each others toes and wandering off stage. And the recital is just for their families–nothing exploitative or creepy at all. Still, there was something very “off” about that costume to me.

I’ve since spoken with some of the other mothers–who I assumed had all approved the costume earlier–and discovered at least two others had similar reactions.

I’ve seen some adorable Princess Jasmine costumes for little girls. And I used to dress as Princess Jasmine for kids’ parties when I was a teenager. And it was all, clean wholesome fun.

I’m withholding judgment until I see the costume in person. I’m hoping that when I see it on dozens of fidgety, skinned-knee mini-ballerinas, instead of in a photograph of an airbrushed, posed model, it will be cute.

But if it is not, what do I do? Am I overreacting? Should I ask if I can tie a scarf around her?

Help!

They Are Very Considerate

My son has decided that I need more sleep. And he is enforcing this by waking up regularly and demanding that I join him. As soon as I cuddle him, he falls fast asleep. The moment I attempt to put him down, he cries. If I finally get him to bed, he is back up within the hour.

I try to imagine it from his perspective–he spends an hour trying to get mommy to sleep: reading books with me, cuddling, nursing, singing. And then finally, just when he thinks he has me down for the night, he wakes to discover I am not there. Sneaky mommy. Just what does it take to get mommy to get her much needed sleep?

And then there is my darling daughter. Lately she has taken to asking me how much I love her. Being a bit of a sap, I told her:

I love you more than there are stars in the sky.

Tell me more, mommy.

Well, sweetie, I love you more than there are pebbles on every beach. More than there are grains of sand in all the deserts in the world…more than…

Do you love me more than this light?

Huh? Ummm…well, yes, sweetie. I do love you more than this light.

I love you more than the hamper, mommy.

Well. Ummm. That’s good to hear, little one.

More than the hot pink hamper, mommy.

Thank you, sweetie.

Yes, I’m THAT Mother (Already)


When I was teaching, I swore that when I had kids I wouldn’t be that mom. Hyper-involved, helicopter-parent mom. The one who thinks her precious spawn is just so-supah smaht and needs more attention.

But here we are.

My daughter really loves structured lessons based on themes. And so, with mixed feelings about the very concept of preschool, I decided to enroll her two days a week for two and a half hours each session.

After the first day of preschool, I noticed they were writing her name on her paper. She knows how to write her name. So I told her next time she could say if she wished, “Thank you for helping me but I would like to write my own name.” And the next session, she came back with her own scrawl on the paper. Good job, kiddo.

Generally, I would prefer to stay out of things and let her work them out with some parental advice and guidance. At the same time, I am also very afraid of her getting bored in school. I got bored in school at a very young age and the results were not pretty.

I got on the horn the other day to request that if they must do dittos in preschool (which I’m not all that fond of to begin with) could my daughter could do dittos more in-line with her skill level.

For example, on her letter ditto, she is supposed to “color in” the letter–but I know she can already write the letter, identify words beginning with the letter, sound out words with that letter in them, etc. Or on another, she had to trace a pre-drawn dotted line connecting an animal with where it lives (right across from the matching animal)…why not have her free-draw a line to match the two? These are things she already does at home.

First, the teacher justified their use of dittos by saying they will have to do dittos in kindergarten.

Ummm…but she’s three. Should I hand my one year old a ditto based on that theory?

Ultimately this issue is besides the point, though, because although I’m not thrilled with dittos, my daughter thinks they are fun…so let her enjoy her dittos…can we just match her level a little more closely.

The answer to this was that they were all reviewing. That some of the kids don’t even know what it means to trace.

I’m sorry but that brought out Mama Bear. I don’t really care what the other kids do or do not know. We’re talking about my kid. Not the other kids.

I replied that as a former classroom teacher, I recognize the challenge of differentiating instruction for different skill levels. HOWEVER, these are DITTOS. Dittos already DONE INDEPENDENTLY. I’m not asking them to change their curriculum. Just PHOTOCOPY ANOTHER WORKSHEET ON THE SAME TOPIC.

I also recognize that I will be beating my head up against a one-size-fits-all system throughout my children’s lives, whatever their ability levels. However this is a private preschool, for which I pay. And I purposely chose a Montessori school because of the emphasis on independent exploration. And they have a mixed class of three to five year olds…so they are presumably already differentiating.

At this point, I feel like the teacher thinks I am pushing academics. And please, believe me when I say I am not. There are no baby flash cards, baby educational videos, or any bionic-super-duper-baby paraphernalia in my house. In fact, I’d rather her go outside and play more, or wriggle her fingers in some playdough, or finger paint, than do any dittos at all. I just don’t want her to get bored doing dittos she already knows how to do.

She assured me that most of their time was spent playing outside or indoors on the mat with the Montessori materials. She promised they would be “evaluating” (shudder … but that’s a whole ‘nother rant) the kids and differentiating soon.

As I hung up the phone, I thought about the absurdity of questioning the pedagogical tactics of teachers who spend a combined total of 5 hours a week with my child, when I spend the other 163 with her.

And I realized that yes, I have become that parent.

I guess, somewhere deep inside, maybe I always knew I was that parent. I just didn’t think the transformation would happen so very quickly.

Photo Credit: Mike Baird

Preschooler-isms: Diva Says Daddies Don’t Need Dinner

My husband is in the National Guard and has had a lot of drill lately.

So, the other day, my preschooler says, “Daddy will be home at dinner?”

“No, sweetie, not today.”

“Daddy will come home tomorrow for dinner?”

“No, honey, another few days.”

“But…but…Daddy’s going to get hungry!”

Toddlerisms: Mind Your Ps and Qs

Diva: I WANNA SIGG* WITH WATER!!!

Me: Isn’t there a word you should use? It begins with “P?” Puh-puh-puh…

Diva: PIG!

Me: Yes, um…pig begins with P, but another word, when you want to be polite.

Diva: Pleeeaaase!

* her sippy cup, my daughter is brand-conscious

Diva: (arranging the baby monitors) Wanna bring this one downstairs with “monitor family!”

Me: Sweetie, the monitors are so I can hear you and brother if you need me.

Diva: No. Need bruddah monitor for family. Mommy monitor, Daddy monitor, Sister monitor…this Brother monitor!

My Mom: Sweetheart, the monitor needs to work. You know how your Daddy goes to work? Well this monitor works. It goes to work upstairs.

Diva: No! This BAAAYBEE monitor. No need to work.

Preschool Curriculum; Welcome March with a Lion and Lamb Weather Calendar

My dear daughter really likes to do an organized project each day. So, if we do not go on a play date or to the library, I try to plan something. Often it is impromptu but lately she’s been calling me on my lack of organization (“Mommy, butterflies in Spring. Not Winter!”).

So, I borrowed a bunch of preschool curriculum books from the library and I’m trying to actually plan things in a semi-thematic and/or seasonal way.

Today is March 1, so we printed a blank March calendar and some Lion and Lamb clipart from The Big Book of Monthly Ideas : Preschool-Kindergarten : The Best of the Mailbox Monthly Idea Books.

(This whole activity is modified from that book.)

I shared the saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”

We talked a little about lions (fierce, strong, roar) and lambs (gentle, friendly, baa) and what type of weather each might represent. Then we selected the right animal for today: lion.

We placed the lion on the calendar day and also wrote down that it was snowy and a high of 35 degrees (note to self to get a thermometer so she can read it herself, instead of me looking it up on the Internet).

We also wrote “Lion Days” and “Lamb Days” at the bottom of the calendar and made a hatch mark next to Lion Days.

Each day we’ll paste the right picture on the calendar and make our hatch mark. At the end of the month, we’ll talk about whether March was more of a lion or a lamb and whether it did in fact come in like a lion and out like a lamb.

Easy Butterfly Craft for Preschoolers

This craft is so simple and fun for a toddler, preschooler, or kindergartner.

Materials:

  • Two (2) Coffee Filters
  • Watercolors (you could use crayons, tempera, glitter glue, or any other decorative materials…but I like the water paints for this)
  • One (1) Pipe Cleaner

Directions:

  1. Flatten coffee filters
  2. Paint and decorate coffee filters with watercolors and allow to dry.
  3. Fold each coffee filter into a half circle.
  4. Accordion fold both filters from the flat side to the curved side.
  5. Fold the pipe clear in half and twist three to four times.
  6. Place one of the coffee filters, flat side down in between the pipe stems and twist twice.
  7. Place the other coffee filter in, flat side up (the two rounded sides should be facing inward) and twist three to four times.
  8. Take a pencil and curl the ends of each stem of the pipe cleaner into antennae.

If you are crafting with a toddler or younger preschooler, you may have to assist with twisting the pipe cleaner.

This is great for young children because no matter how they paint it, there will be a nice effect.

And there you have it! An easy little butterfly.

My daughter enjoyed flying hers around the house.

If you make several, you can create a mobile and hang it from the ceiling.