Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No more preschool. This is why ...

I thought I was doing the best thing for all of us when I pulled the twins from the sitter's and sent them to a formal preschool two mornings a week.
They loved their sitter and she still took them one morning a week, but I needed more consistency and I felt they needed more social interaction.
Their sitter is a neighbor's nanny.
Whenever the neighbor's children were sick, she had to cancel. Whenever, she was sick, she had to cancel. Whenever our kids were sick, we had to cancel.
Then there were vacations to deal with: hers, ours and the parents of the other children.
I don't need a lot of time to focus on my writing, run some errands and get a little cleaning done. Nine hours a week is plenty right now, but I really need that nine hours. Even six will do. Heck, when I'm desperate, three is better than nothing.
At the preschool, they would stay home only when they were sick and they had seven other children in their class along with an assistant. The school promised help with potty training, drinking from cups and following directions.
It sounded great, it was highly recommended and the twins enjoyed the tour.
They were reluctant that first week, but by the second week, they were happy.
Sort of.
Compliant was more like it.
So I pushed that nagging feeling further back in my mind and labeled it "mommy guilt:" guilt over the fact that I had placed my twins in a formal school setting at only 2.5 years old, something I never would have considered with my older kids.
But an incident today finally opened my eyes.
Matthew had dropped his sippy cup in the parking lot. It slid under a car. He wasn't supposed to bring it into preschool anyway, but, like any toddler, he was devastated by the thought of leaving it there even for a few minutes.
While I tried to retrieve it, Jonathan ran into the parking lot.
Not good.
So I coaxed them inside with Matthew crying.
I explained the situation to the teacher and tried to tell Matthew I would get it and come right back to show him. He wasn't buying it. The tears flowed harder and that triggered a waterfall from Jonathan.
Ten minutes passed and the teacher did nothing to help me.
In the end, I had no choice, but to leave with the twins in tow. The teacher smiled and offered words of sympathy, but that was it.
As I buckled Matthew and Jonathan into their car seats with tears flowing down my own cheeks by now, something occurred to me. That teacher did not know these boys as Matthew and Jonathan.
She knew them as the Identical Twins.
Just last week, she told me that she couldn't see any differences between them. I took a few minutes to point out physical differences and then behavioral differences. She shrugged. She just didn't see it.
Now, I don't expect people to be able to apply the differences to the appropriate children, especially if they see them only in a classroom setting twice a week. But I would expect that after a month or so, this woman would at least see that there were differences.
She could have if she had tried.
But she didn't care to try.
So when I got home, I picked up the phone and I called their sitter.
I apologized for pulling them in the first place and begged her to take them more often.
"They slam the door in my face and say 'Bye, mom,' when I leave them with you," I said. "You don't need name tags and you never have. They adore you and I feel like you care for them," I told her.
She didn't even hesitate.
Matthew and Jonathan start their new schedule tomorrow.


Jody said...

Good Decision! As a former Pre-K and K teacher, I am appalled by her lack of sympathy and help for you! I always would help calm the child if they were having a tramatic morning and the Mom too. And I did have a set of twins who were speech delayed but it was very easy to little differences that the kids and I picked up on in the first week. Yes, we would occaisionally get them mixed up especially if they were on the playground but I never treated them as a unit and none of the kids did either! That was a poor teacher that needs more training. I am guessing she didn't have an "early childhood" degree if one at all. Altough a degree doesn't always mean anything either--it's truly the person such as your sitter who clearly has a nack for being with kids.

arda said...

that is so unacceptable! my kids go to preschool and their teachers are so loving and caring. I can't imagine any of them just smiling and sending them home!!

When the boys first started attending daycare, they were often referred to as "the twins" and they aren't even identical. I was very annoyed that they would lump their comments together, as if ari and saro didn't have separate personalities just because they had the same mom. However, as soon as the teacher's got to know them, that quickly stopped and they were treated as individuals. I would definitely have complained if the teachers made no effort to distinguish the kids!

Lexi said...

good for you, she really should have tried harder, but i would feel bad about sending them to preschool that early too... tough choices ahead of for all of us huh?

cat said...

I really think that school did not do well at all. At the Lil Miss' school they had two sets of identical twins last year and everybody knew them apart - even the little kids as the teachers amde a real effort with it.

I think you made a great decision.

Sambrina's Mama said...

I can totally understand why you would do that! The teacher really should have made more of an effort with the boys! Heck, I even know that one of the boys has a darker vein across his nose! Johnathon, right? ;)

Mrs.Kate.W said...

This made me tear up. My boys are only one but I am already tired of people calling them "the twins" or "the boys". It irritates me when all people do is look at them to compare them to each other. They are individuals and deserve to be treated that way.
Following my gut has never steered me wrong.
You did the right thing!!!

Twinsmom said...

Thanks for all the words of support. The boys adore their sitter and she's trying to do more preschool-like activities with them (She's a former preschool director), so they are in excellent hands!

KayKay said...

I have 4 year old identical twins and they absolutely LOVE their preschool. It is a teens and tots setting at a Vo-Tech center where the teenage high school students interact with the toddlers to earn credit for school, under the supervision of a pre-primary teacher and a high school early childhood education teacher. ALL of the students and teachers take special care to treat Ethan and Gordie like individuals and to foster a sense of independence. I guess it depends on the kid, the school and the teachers. But I would be careful not to write off the preschool experience. While your babysitter may be great, it is no different than being home with you, whereas in a preschool it is a school setting where they interact with lots of other kids.