I find it very hard to believe Riley will be going into first grade in just a matter of weeks. FIRST GRADE! That seems like … I don’t know, such a big kid grade. Like any minute now he’s going to bring home homework involving fractions and shit. And diorama assignments! And all my shoebox-and-math-related failures will sweep over me in a crushing wave of despair as I’m forced to confront every unpleasant elementary school memory I have so carefully repressed all these years!
So first grade, yeah. Meanwhile, I’m not entirely sure what to do about Dylan’s school this year. There’s a fantastically-rated Montessori preschool that’s just down the street and I’d hoped he could go there, but hurrrrrrrrrrngh $650/month for part time. Nearly every other preschool in our general area has a Christian-based curriculum, which I’m not interested in. I found a more affordable, decent-sounding preschool that’s not terribly far away, but it would involve picking Riley up at 2:50 then blasting across town to get Dylan at 3:15 and I guess it would be doable but again, hurrrrrrrrrrrrnnnngh.
My main school-related concern with Dylan is helping him get socialized. For such a bright, expressive, colorful-ass kid, he sure clams up around new people, to the point of coming across as downright rude. New adults, new kids, it doesn’t matter, he shuns them all. And, you know, I get it — I get being shy, and liking familiar routines, and taking a look at a teeming crowd of people and feeling that TILT circuit in my brain light up — but also manners, kid. I’ve been trying to work on that with him, how being shy is fine but you can’t just ignore someone who’s saying hi to you (for instance, the perfectly lovely teacher at the preschool we visited last week, whose every overture to Dylan was met with a sullen, head-shaking refusal to engage).
He was always very self-contained at his old preschool, never really made friends, didn’t actively participate in class very much. My hope is to find a school environment where he can open up a little … although perhaps this stage is similar to Riley’s sensitivities and only time will truly make a difference?
Even with the benefit of hindsight with Riley, though, I’m frustrated all over again by having a Childhood Issue to deal with and not being certain how to handle it. Yes, some kids are shy, but even a socially reluctant four-year-old shouldn’t get away with being an asshole, right? I don’t know, I would never force him to perform on command (“Tell the nice lady how old you are, Dylan! Now sing the ABC song! DANCE, MONKEY, DANCE!”), but I do expect a minimum level of politeness, you know?
And, of course, I’d like him to be able to have fun with other kids. I’ve seen him play with other kids before, but only when Riley was around to act as a sort of middle man.
Anyway, I’d love to hear from you on some of this stuff. Have you dealt with a shy kid before? How did you tackle the rude/unresponsive side of things, if that was a problem? Did preschool help?