Adapting

The first week back to school has come to an end. We’ve had many new experiences.

  • The first day back to school/daycare after a summer long absence.
  • Beginning school or daycare for the first time ever.
  • Making new friends.
  • Getting to ride on the school bus.
  • Having no school-age children come here for lunch (this has never happened before).
  • Getting to stay up for quiet time instead of having a nap after lunch.
  • The introduction of an infant into our group – first one in five years that didn’t have an older sibling here.

We’ve been learning and adapting to all these new experiences.  There have been many exciting stories to share with each other.  It is the introduction of the baby that I have found the most interesting.

Initially, when the baby cried, the preschoolers all clamped their hands over their ears and screamed ‘It’s too loud, it’s too loud” – which of course made it worse.  So we discussed communication.  What do you do or say when you want something?  What do you do or say when you’re hurt or scared?  How do you tell someone else that you have a problem or need something?

Now, when the baby cries, the preschoolers stop what they are doing and one of them will say “Shhh! Listen, the baby has something important to say”.  Sometimes they even try to figure out what he wants but mostly they leave that up to me.

The baby likes to be where the action is.  Watching the ‘big’ kids play is so exciting!  He doesn’t crawl yet, or even sit without assistance so he spends a lot of time on my knee – observing.  He really wants to go so sometimes we sit on the floor and try to stay out of the walkways.

In the past I’ve contemplated how to get those preschoolers to slow down and watch where they are going.  They are constantly in a hurry when they play.  Their ‘Rescue Me’, ‘Dragon Hunter’ or ‘Safari Adventure’ dramatic play activities always involve some kind of emergency.  Even the ‘Restaurant’ encounters urgent situations that have everyone scrambling to save the day.  And of course the ‘Family’ getting ready for work/school/daycare is the most hectic game of all.

Sometimes I feel like a broken record repeating ‘walk in the house please’ over and over again. So I was a little apprehensive about putting a baby down on the floor. Yet, ‘out of the way’ isn’t where he wants to be so I sit close by; and I watch.

I watch and listen as Child ‘A’ sends Child ‘B’ for emergency supplies.  Child ‘B’ takes off but then stops and, still in character, narrates the situation for Child ‘A’;

“I must be careful over here.  There is a baby lying on the road.  I will move slowly – taking small steps all the way around him. I have the tools and I am coming back.”

The sense of urgency continues in the tone of voice but the action is slow and careful.  I love it!  So does the baby, squealing and kicking, happy to be part of the game.

We are all part of a new exciting adventure.  Together we are learning and adapting.

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