Friday, June 27, 2014

We Have Survived

Bundled up for the first day of school
Today is Sidney's last day of pre-school for the year. Although he started in February and only spent five months under the strict tutelage of Madame Isabelle, his Belgian, French speaking teacher, he has learned so much. In many ways he started as a shy little boy and has emerged as a much more confident  and worldly boy. But although short, it hasn't been an easy road.

For the first few weeks Sidney alternatively liked and hated school. At the end of the day he would say he had fun but then refuse to get out of bed the next morning. He would literally glue himself to his booster seat once we reached the school parking lot, requiring me to pry him out of the car and bring him kicking and screaming into his classroom. He said he didn't know what was going on since everything was conducted in French. Disliking the lunch that was provided by the school and refusing to even try it, he would be ravenous at the end of the day yet have no idea what was even offered on the menu. He would tell me he was good during the day but my appearance in the classroom at pick up time would immediately illicit a laundry list from his classmates reporting of everything Sidney (supposedly) did wrong during the day. On various days Sidney would come home with scribbles on the top of his head, paint on his arms and face and torn knees on his jeans with no real explanation as to how they all got there. Madame Isabelle initially said he was adjusting then she told us that he really needed to get better about listening. I began to wonder if our son would be kicked out of pre-school. (He wouldn't be the first one).

But gradually something changed. Sidney started listening to Madame and stopped hitting or kicking back at children who supposedly did this to him. He started talking about playing with his friends and began telling us how to say various things in French. Much to all of our surprise he started at least tasting everything on his lunch plate and has reported that some of the soup is even good. Pasta dishes remain his favorite but he will now sample the meats that are drenched in Dijon sauce and he really looks forward to the days when they serve fish. His artwork is still quite creative but he can write his name and readily recognizes many words in both English and French.

Somewhere along the line Sidney stopped crying at the notion of having to go to school in the morning and now gets himself up and dressed most mornings without any prompting or supervision. We arrived during the blustery and cold winter months making dressing in layers a no brainer. School is ending with days that are filled with cool mornings and warm afternoons (which reminds me more of later September rather than late June) thus prompting debates of what is appropriate attire for the day. Most days we end up in a compromise. He is now disappointed when it is Friday and he can't go to school for a whole two days. The refrain of "why is my school closed Mamma" has become a regular Saturday morning occurrence. And as of 15.15 today, Sidney will be on summer break; what will the boy (and his Mamma) do? We have variety of activities planned for the coming weeks including an extended stay in the United States and two weeks of summer camp (which Sidney is only willing to attend because "it is like school but with more fun activities and everyone will speak English). Sidney is concerned that other kids will be at his school while he isn't but I've assured him that no one will be there. And I've promised him that when we return from America he will be able to back to his school. It will be the same school with some of the same kids but a new Madame. Sidney wanted to know if she would speak English or French and my reassurance that she would speak French seemed to comfort him. Yes, things have changed in the past few months. My little boy has grown up and loves school. A mother really can't ask for more than that.

And Sid on a recent school morning wearing a
compromise outfit

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