Let's hear it for the girl ...

My mom sent me an article I think I'm going to print for Bean's school: When a Parent's 'I Love You' Means 'Do as I Say'. I've read Alfie Kohn's "Unconditional Parenting" book, so I knew what to expect from the article. UP is, to me, an ideal and not something I can implement on an 'every minute of the day' basis, but it's such an awesome concept. I don't do time outs. I take away *things*, but I don't withhold love or affection. Bean's fond of saying "Love is a privilege you'll never take away mommy." She knows if she makes craptastic choices, we won't be going on any special outings or she may not get to do arts and crafts at home, or she may lose her bedtime stories, but she also knows that's where it ends. Sure, there's still a 'condition', but it ain't my love or affection.

The one thing I have to thank this latest teacher dilemma for is that it has reawakened my belief that Bean is a great kid. Somewhere in the effing fours, I had forgotten that. I had forgotten how magical, how funny, how incredibly warm and loving she is. I'd lost sight of the fact that she's the kid that tells me, as she accompanies her improv song on the harmonica,

"This song is called 'Crazy Big Sister Girl'
You're my crazy big sister girl
See my stinky butt-butt
See my stinky butt-butt
My stinky butt-butt is funny!"
She's the kid who hollers at Dora the Explorer "I already said map!" She's also the kid who asks if I can stop the car so she can get out to hug a tree.

She's the kid who asks me to sit closer to her so she can hug me while she eats, and goes to get her little sister when we're coloring, because she thinks Miss O should be with us. She picks out Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon for story time every night because she knows it's my favorite book (and one the rest of y'all should get if you don't have it - it's just awesome.)

She's the kid that explained to me this afternoon, as we looked at a 'human body' book and a picture of the facial musculature, "Right here (pointing midway up the nose) is about where my finger stops when I pick my nose. Then it finds a boogie to eat and it goes into my mouth. Then it goes back in my nose."

She knows the Latin names for crape myrtles, oaks and birches, but has *no idea* how a huge scribble of magenta crayon ended up on the windowsill. She will cheerfully yoink a toy from her sister with the cry of "I had it first", knowing that's usually my criteria for deciding who keeps it. But she'll also hold all the other 4-year-olds in her class at bay if they try to hassle Miss O when we arrive to pick Bean up.

I'm sure there are some folks who think the fact that Bean's still in her current class reflects poorly on me; while there are others who think I'm some molly-coddling parent who just needs to STFU. The paradox for me is the balance between what she can expect from life, and what I want for her in life. Her teacher's take on how kids should behave/be treated isn't really out of left field. I need to see if it aligns with her school's stated policies, and then Dave and I have to decide how to handle it if it does, but I think she's basically a good teacher who is probably a good fit for most kids.

One of the reasons I've held off on any formal sit-down is because I don't want to talk to the school and have them come down on the teacher; she's probably doing what she thinks is right, and since she has taught kindy before, she probably has an ideology she follows. Julia and Vivian, your takes mean a lot to me, because you have education experience. J, you mentioned she may be a Harry Wong 'student', and from what I can find online with his classroom management dealie, I wouldn't be surprised. It rubs me a little wrong, but since I'm not trying to survive in a room full of four-year-olds, far be it from me to question a "classroom management" approach to life.

Thankfully, Dave and I are again on the same page as far as questioning whether it's the right environment for Bean. With the evil Miss A, we wanted Bean out of that class, and fast. With this teacher, it's more about understanding if the school is behind the approach, and if so, why. Tho my gut says if this really is the way Bean's life will be until kindy, it's not something either of us is really okay with ...

So thanks again to everyone for the feedback and support. Thanks also, for the cheerleading for Bean. I wish everyone could meet her in person, she's a remarkable kid and one you would be unlikely to forget any time soon :)


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