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tess

hi honey
happy to say i disagree with you on the: big kid beside smaller kid thing. teachers get to know personalities pretty quickly and don't make judgements until they do. your sweetie won't be condemned, they'll figure out C pretty soon.

one of sebastian's good friends is big for his age, and his mom toned down the "oh, it must be because he doesn't know his own strength" comments that she used to get in the playground by pointing out how her son only defended himself, rather than being the aggressor. i would also jump in at this point, "he has never made sebastian cry, he is a really gentle boy." nothing like tag team.

it really is irritating when you are disciplining your child and yet the other kid gets nothing but empty threats that he now knows are empty threats. i hear you there. one thing you can do, if C hits your angel is say in a loud voice,

"yes, he is going to be disciplined, because what he did was unacceptable."

that advice was given to me by a teacher who observed what a kid was doing to sebastian and that the mother never did anything about it. so after the next time the kid bit sebastian and he came running to me, i said the above, and the mother was forced to do something.

is the faber book out in paperback yet? i want it.

xo

Susie

I have to delurk here to say that, while I know it's impossible not to worry about this stuff, you'll be surprised at how well a good preschool teacher can assess conflict situations among kids. They will be on to C so quickly, and they will certainly be able to see what an empathetic and kind child El Chico is.

Also, I'd like to add that at least for a bunch of years to come, the kids don't seem to care about the size of their playmates. Developmental stage and personality play much bigger roles in determining friendships. My daughter is also 3 and very big (she's probably as tall as your son and about 38 lbs), and she's the oldest kid in her class to boot, as she misses the cutoff by days. She's no shrinking violet, being the youngest after 3 boys, but she, like your son, is very kind and rarely the aggressor. Don't get me wrong -- I'm under no delusion that she's angelic, she's just not the brute you'd think she'd be. Her teacher is well aware of all the personalities in the class, and takes each situation as an isolated event.

So, cheer up -- if anything, once there's an objective adult in charge, El Chico will probably get some relief in terms of constantly being dubbed the bad guy.


Linda

Wow. The more posts I read from parents of "older" kids (kids that are older than mine: 10 months) the more complicated parenting gets. I'm being introduced to situations I hadn't considered before and I appreciate the extra time to think about what I might do in those situations.

I may be naive, but I have a lot of confidence in teachers (I had some great ones) and I remember my elementary school teachers being very sharp. They knew the manipulative kids, the smartasses, the gentle ones. They didn't overgeneralize, I don't think, but did take into account the overall behavior of each kid as well as the specific situation before disciplining. I think Tess and Susie are right.

That said, I am also worried about the girl who can't say "Stop!" when someone is hurting her. I am always worried about girls who are afraid to make a scene or be considered "mean" by stating that they are afraid or uncomfortable. It comes from doing rape exams for 3 years and learning that making a scene, sticking up for yourself, attracting attention, acting confident and saying, "Get away from me now!" help in warding off attackers. I'm glad this girl's mom is also concerned.

WannaBeMom

Okay, Moxie, my youngest brother was a big kid all his life, and he sounds very much like El Chico, and even had a friend like C (whose name also began with a C!) who would whine "I'm going home" any time he didn't get his way. And as a former preschool teacher, I can say I think Tess and Susie are absolutely correct. I think I would suss out a kid like C and El Chico without many problems. Let me further reassure you that my brother had no problem retaining friends and has a core group of pals he's been friends with since middle school. He's graduating from college this year. One of his friends said about him that he not only marches to his own drummer, but he's got a whole damn band. And the kid ended up being elected Prom King (?! I didn't even GO to prom, why am I proud of this??!!) He also ended up being a very athletic kid, captaining several high school sports teams-- big and comfortable in this body, like El Chico, were integral to this. I think El Chico will be great. And I think you sound like a great mom. And (one more and) I also would worry about D. Sooo corny here, but when I taught preschool and a kid would complain about someone hitting, or pinching, or whatever, I would send them back to the hitter or pincher or whateverer, and tell them to say, "Don't touch my body!" I got so teased by my brothers for this, but it's empowering nonetheless.
Love,
WannaBeMom
PS-- I hope your head feels better!

melissa

Hello! Delurking for the first time to add my (hopefully helpful) thoughts. I agree with what everyone else has said and will go one step further. In my previous life (before kiddies) I was a teacher. I always welcomed any info about the kids personal lives that would help me diffuse situations in the classroom. Therefore, if Johnny and Sid had a playdate over the weekend that ended badly, I would want to know about it. So, depending how the summer goes, you may want to clue in the teacher on the relationship between C and El Chico. It's not being a tattle tale, but rather an informant!! A good teacher will take the info and plan accordingly. I hope this helps and you are feeling well>
Melissa

wix

i was always the big kid: tall, muscular, and chunky. i was/am a tomboy, too. there were kids whose parents were worried that i was 'too rough', but i was never violent--el chico's temperament sounds much like mine. [at the risk of being branded A Flake, he seems to have the typical pisces temperament.]

anyway, i'm coming at this from the kiddo perspective, not the teacher or parent perspective. it's true that el chico may feel the sting of some discrimination from the parents of his playmates--i had my tender feelings hurt by more than a few parents who were somehow convinced that i was a threat because i'd rather spend the afternoon in a treehouse or riding my bike on a dirt track than playing with dolls.

just watch out for el chico, and try to soften the blow for him when you can. since he's a boy, he might not experience the same kind of "nice little boys don't do such-and-such vigorous activity" crap that i met, though i am sure there are plenty of gender assumptions made about boys, too.

he sounds like a great kid, and you and el grande sound like great parents. at the end of the day, that support will make up for a lot of bullshit from the outside world. tu mijos are very lucky.

wix

oops, that was supposed to be, "nice little -girls- do such-and-such...". i started to write one thing and then changed my mind midway through. you'd think i'd learn to click 'preview'. maybe i will before i'm 40. hope springs eternal!

Chantal

I'm jumping on the same wagon to say that preschool teachers are pretty crafty and observant. I think they'll have both El Chico and C figured out pretty quickly. I'm always amazed at the "eyes in the back of the head" they have.

He's gonna have a great year. He'll make a tonne of friends.

I want to add that my oldest is just like El Chico in alot of ways. She is very affectionate and exhuberant. She is excited to see her friends and hugs and jumps and sings. It can be sort of off-putting and I sometimes remind her to tone it down just a bit, but her closes friends know this about Kristyn and that's why love her!

Sara

Another big kid here. If my DD stays on her growth curve, I fully expect she'll be about 40 pounds/42 inches right around 36mos.

Her big brother, who just turned 5, is also very big for his age - just not as big as she is. And he's not particularly agressive, which led me to get very worried when I started hearing stories from him when I picked him up from preschool, about one particular kid doing a lot of shoving and toy taking. I was worried that Primo, who is significantly bigger than this other kid, was either becoming a target because he's big+soft (which makes for more status if you attack him), or that he'd be marked as the bully if he tried to defend himself...

I caught his teacher in the hall to talk about it. And she knew *exactly* what was going on, all about the dynamic of the situation. No worries there.

The thing that does happen with both kids ALL the time is that people assume they're older than they really are, and judge them accordingly for their behavior. That really frosts my cookies.... having little old ladies come up to us in restaurants and chide my child, saying "You're too big a boy to be eating with your fingers." "Such a big girl to still suck her thumb...." etc etc.

Erica

How frustrating for you to have to watch C's behavior! I agree with everyone else who thinks that the teacher will interpret the situation correctly, but I know that doesn't help the playdate situation, or how it makes you feel. We've had playdates with a fair share of Known Weasels, and I've yet to figure out the best way to handle them -- I keep trying to remind myself that the real goal is to give the girls skills to deal with those sorts of situations, but it doesn't make my heart feel any better, and it certainly doesn't make me want to smack the Weasels of the universe any less.

kristine

I just wanted to say welcome home, I hope your headache goes away, and I loooove what you said about letting your son form his own relationships with people, like you did with your grandpa. Very insightful, my dear.

Lisa V

My perceptions of my children as toddlers and pre-schoolers is totally different from who they turned out to be. El Chico will find friends who suit him and compliment him and recognize the best in him. His teachers will deal with all the children enough to recognize who is doing what. I know this won't be the last time you worry about him. I don't think we can help it.

jacks


<<...other people are raising emotionally needy little manipulators.>>

sounds like that's exactly what's happening. it sounds entirely frustrating. and i'm sorry it's causing such distress. hopefully it will even out. i don't have any experience with preschool, but the very fact that C's mom won't be going with him suggests he'll have some hard lessons to learn.

Sarah

Hang in there, doll. You and your husband are obviously raising your son well, and are sensitive to him and his surroundings without being coddling. He learns from you how to handle whiney kids and manipulative BS...I'm positive he's going to be OK.

Christine

My friend's boyfriend's son is like C. You can actually watch him look around, make sure one of his parents is watching, and then start with the whining/tears. It's annoying, but even Paul and I, with no experience around 5 year olds, picked up on it. And when we went to a birthday party for him, most of the other kids figured it out, too, and shut him out when he started with the crying. I think the kids just knew how to handle him, and I'm guessing that when he is spending more time around other kids he's going to figure out pretty quick that he's not going to have many friends unless he knocks it off. I hope anyway.

I can't give any parenting advice...no experience...but you always sound like you're doing everything right. Trust me, I'm taking notes as I read your blog.

Leggy

Moxie,
Also delurking. My son is 4 and is also a big kid with a sweet nature (although he does have gun obsession and has started to become more aggressive lately). He has one friend like C, I'll call him B. B is both tiny and an instigator. Its gotten to the point where we don't play with them much because C's mom & I have totally different parenting styles. She has actually told me she thinks I "intervene too much." Hello- they are 4 (were 3 at the time)- they aren't old enough to play in the other room by themselves for 30+ minutes, as often happens at their house. We stopped doing things with them because a) they pounded on each other all the time and b) I was the only one telling my child not to.

I agree with you on the friend issues- I can't believe how many issues come up at such a young age. We went through: "I don't want to be friends with A. anymore, only T." He was 3 1/2- I didn't think this exclusionary stuff started so young. I think it is in part because he is big, he tends to play with the older kids, and unfortunately picks up some of their negative behaviors (as well as the good ones too). I'm just amazed at how early the friend issues and self-esteem issues start. I was a pretty self-confident pre-schooler and didn't start to have self-esteem issues until grammar school, when friend stuff started happening more. Ugh!

Meg

I was a teacher in my old life pre-kids and the other kids will pick up on it, as will the teachers. El Chico will probably get an even fairer shake than usual because the person watching will not be a parent. The great thing about school is for the first time all the rules apply to everyone, no matter who your mom is. "No hitting, no throwing sand, no bringing food onto the playground" become rules all the kids must obey, not just hear their mom say in an offhand way because she feels like she is supposed too, and then goes on with her conversation. Kids who are used to the whining and manipulation working with thier moms are in for a bit of an adjustment.

We have a friend with a little boy who is all about DRAMA. First the mother has a problem with this other kid or mother and then it is that other kid or mother and you just want to yell, "Hello! Your kid is the common denominator here!" To tell you the truth the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. It is obvious to anyone paying attention for any length of time where and what the problem is...sure I've been mistaken about what has happened between two students when one is holding the toy and the other is crying, but it only takes a little bit of time and observation to figure out what the problem is when that kid is crying no matter who he plays with and the other kid seems to get along fine with everbody else. It will be amusing (and maybe a little sad) to see the bewilderment on C's face when the same tactics that work with his mom do not work with his teacher.

jenna

I have a friend who has a 5 year old who has been in a safe, protected home environment since birth. The poor kid has no idea how to deal with other kids. She is always running to mom to settle disputes that the others figure out themselves. This has reinforced my belief that kids need to be around each other, early and often.

KJ

My oldest, Sam, is almost four, 42 inches but skinny, the tallest kid in class. HIS best friend, (Let's call him D) is little, manipulative and smart as the dickens. We've been through a whole year of "If you don't do what I want, I won't play with you anymore..." and then Sam, who's as tender as a plucked chicken, ends up crying: "D doesn't like me anymore! He's not my friend! Why?" That toy thing--where C snatches it away and then starts crying--that's the story of their lives.
Sam also follows D's lead everywhere...and D is not always the best role model. We've taken to calling them George and Lenny.

Point is, his teachers got this dynamic IMMEDIATELY. They'd seen it all before. They separate the two for activities, support them when they're together, and I don't think they've once been fooled by the waterworks. I worship these women.

Beyond that, D's changed since he started school. Between peers and teachers, he's clued in that this isn't working out.

I hope for the same for C and for El Chico. As for the clueless Mum (which isn't part of my story at all) well, she's not doing him any favors, but unfortunately you can't tell HER that.

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