Friday, August 21, 2009

School Boom

Does anyone else appreciate Waiting for Guffman references, or is the post title purely for my and Greg's benefit?

Sidamo started preschool two weeks ago, and this picture pretty much sums up his feelings about it.

As some of you may remember, we had Sidamo in preschool last year and pulled him out after realizing it was a really bad situation. Since then, he's been at home and we've gone through four (yes, you read that right) different nannies. So I'm just about as thrilled as he is that we've found a positive, consistent environment for him.

His new school is at a children's rehabilitation facility that began as an orphanage about 125 years ago. It is run by nuns, which I love, even as an atheist. His preschool is secular, but as a recovering Catholic who attended a Catholic university, I feel a real sense of comfort and familiarity when Sister Roberta welcomes us every morning.

I also love the tremendous diversity at the school—not only racial diversity, though there's plenty of that—but I also appreciate that Sidamo will be exposed to children with emotional and psychological differences. It'll be interesting to see if early integration of this sort will help him and his peers grow up with less perceived stigma about emotional and mental illness. Or if they'll even notice.

While Sidamo is at school, Nora and I have been spending lots of Q.T. together. I'm in a bit of a career transition at the moment, and I have a short window of free time in which to enjoy my little girl. It's so fascinating to see her on her own and discover her little quirks and interests apart from her big brother.

Her favorite part of the day, though, is when I say, "Should we go find your big brother?" Her face lights up, and she nods furiously. When we walk into school, she's all giggles and delight, and Sidamo is filled with joy when he sees us coming. It's kind of adorable. Also fascinating is getting the school report from Sidamo. I'm so used to being around him all day, even when a nanny is here, so to have this time of separation and distinct experiences has created a completely new way for us to relate to each other. I ask him about his day, and I hear things that actually surprise me (including one mean kid story—I don't know if I'm ready for those).

Each day that he goes, he's excited, happy, and ready for new stories, experiences, and adventures. And I'm excited to hear all about them.


Alicia said...

I'm so glad you found a place that you're happy with! Sidamo looks thrilled! :)

Cindy said...

Cool, he looks awesome! My babies started preschool last week (Head Start, so also a diversity of issues, backgrounds, and home lives). Wow, so wierd that our little guys have this whole nother life outside the home and away from us. So far they love it although being non-verbal, I am clueless about anything that happens which is totally wierd. The bus driver just cracks up everytime he drops them off. :)

So I was always curious, why was the other school not good? Sometimes kids just hate certain environments and there is no tangible explanation . . .

Sam said...

We were like that with Molly today, which was her first day. Although, she may have gotten off to a bad start, she was upset with the teachers for putting away Molly's toys without knowing they were Molly's toys.