Today was the first day that both boys were back in school since the end of winter break. I’ll admit, after a couple of weeks off school I was a little rusty on the morning routine. So that meant that we left a little behind schedule this morning. Not too bad, but enough that I knew traffic would be a little heavier up at the elementary school than it usually is. I expected a little, what I got was a lot. For whatever reason (maybe every parent was a little off in their routine) it took almost 20 minutes to get through the drop off lane this morning, something that usually only takes about 5-6 minutes.
Needless to say I was a little cranky by the time Brendan got out of the car. Here it was 8:30 in the morning, Cameron is supposed to be starting school right now and I’m still in the elementary school parking lot. But I took a deep breath and decided not to worry about it. He was already late for school so no sense in being anxious about it. We’d get there when we got there. The drive to Cameron’s school was uneventful, and surprisingly quick. With all of the traffic at Brendan’s school I figured on a worst case scenario for Cameron’s as well which would mean a 15 minute drive between them. But I got there in about 5 minutes. Then I hit my second snag of the morning.
Back when Snowmageddon happened the roads were pretty bad. Over by Cameron’s pre-school the access road to get up to the school was only plowed one lane wide. At the time it was a little irritating, but somewhat understandable. The city plows had enough to be worrying about, and we figured that this little access road was low on their priority list. However, it’s now been two weeks since that snow storm, and it’s been warm enough to melt quite a bit of the snow. Despite these things, the pre-school has done nothing to get anyone to come out and plow that street any wider. So trying to get into the pre-school parking lot was a real challenge this morning as there were cars wanting to go both ways. Twice while I was there people didn’t realize (yup I was one of them) that it was only one lane and so would be driving head on for one another and had to pull off into the snow drifts in order to get past one another.
This meant that by the time I pulled into the parking stall at pre-school I was beyond cranky. I was flat out ticked off at this point. I unloaded Cameron and Kaylee from the car and headed downstairs to Cameron’s classroom. Once there I began stripping Cam out of his winter gear and helping him hang it all neatly. As we were doing so one of the boys in his class, who was at the center nearest us with two other boys, looked at Cameron and said in a very snotty voice, “ha ha, you can’t be here it’s fuuuuuuuuuuuulllll.” I was surprised by both the little boy’s attitude, and by the fact that Cameron didn’t get all snotty back. He just ignored the boy and continued putting his stuff on his hook. The teacher stepped in and told the snotty little boy that they’d take turns at the center and since he’d been there longest he needed to move to another center and let Cameron play on the carpet.
I was satisfied, her logic was sound and it meant that the little boy would be at a different center from Cameron and unable to spew any more venom at him. But that ended up not being the end of the situation. Cameron was happy as well, he wanted very much to play on the carpet (one of the coveted centers apparently). Unfortunately snotty boy had the last laugh, he said under his breath that he didn’t like “that little boy” (meaning Cameron) anyway, and talked both of his friends into moving to the new center with him and leaving poor Cameron on the carpet by himself. That was the final straw for me.
Cameron didn’t seem to mind being by himself on the carpet so I didn’t say anything, but the injustice of the situation just rubbed me the wrong way. I know Cameron is a little bit of a wild child, and can drive me absolutely bonkers. Some of his most outrageous schemes are recorded right here in this blog. But he’s also one of the sweetest most caring children I know, and no one should have the right to treat him like that. The rest of my morning, while irritating was no big deal and I would have gotten over it in a minute or two, but watching my poor baby being picked on is something that I can’t get past as easily. I know this kind of thing happens all the time, and most days I’m not going to be there to protect my child. Because of that, on the rare occaisions I do witness it, I don’t always step in. Unless my boys are going to be physically harmed by what the other child is doing I want them to learn to deal with the situation on their own. If they assume I’m going to be there to bail them out every single time they’ll never learn to cope with these situations. It’s a hard thing to do, but I truly feel it’s best for them.
What was hardest for me in this situation was that I’ve been there, in that exact spot, and I know how much it hurts to be disliked and left out. As Cameron sat there on the carpet seemingly contented in playing with the dinosaur toys, my heart was bursting with hurts that came from the memories of being excluded myself. Part of the problem is that most of these kids were in pre-school together last year and have formed little cliques. I mentioned some concerns about it to Cameron’s teacher at conferences in October because Cameron was coming home and saying nobody liked him. She assured me that he got along well with the class and had many little friends. That, combined with Cameron coming home and talking about a couple little buddies at school, made me stop worrying. While Cameron is fitting in better, today just proves that there is at least one clique that he is not welcome in.
I know he will survive this. He’s not unhappy at school, and he doesn’t complain about having to go there…well at least not after breakfast, before breakfast he’d complain if you told him you were taking him to Disney World. Matt and I were both unpopular and picked on in school. Having been through the experience ourselves makes this both easier and harder on us. It’s easier because we can just look at ourselves and say we made it through school and they will too, but it’s also harder because we remember how much those things hurt us and don’t want to see our children go through the same pain that we did.
Matt’s hopeful that when Cameron moves up to the elementary school next year that this won’t be as prevelent. He’s an outgoing kid, and Matt believes that he’ll have no trouble making friends. I’m hoping he’s right, but still worry that Cameron might have some trouble making friends. I just keep remembering Brendan going through kindergarten, and not making any friends that first year. Oh he had boys that he played with on the playground, and he wasn’t unhappy at school, but he also didn’t have anyone that he would call friend that year. It wasn’t until first grade that he met his best friends. I’m really hoping things will be different for Cameron.
Until then, my mantra will have to be just 5 more months of pre-school.