Chip has been going to day-care/nursery school for over 6 months now (I feel the need to use the hyphen because I think the jardin encompasses both of these institutions, it both follows a national curriculum and yet also provides naptime and is open from 8am-6 pm). However other than the first two days when we accompanied him and one “Parent visit” day when the parents were invited to play with the kids (huge success with 15 month olds, all the kids just clung to their respective parents´legs, cried and asked to be carried, NEVER doing that one again!) I have not set foot in the place. I hand him and his lunch over at the door and he trots off somewhere to spend the next 5 hours doing God knows what and is handed over to Supernanny at the door at 2:30pm , dirty, rested and fed and happy to return the next day.
Well, finally the wait is over! Today all of the secrets about Chip and his classmates will be revealed. What they do, who plays with who, what songs they sing and who bits and who is bitten will all be unveiled at my first parent teacher conference (know as a reunion de padres here, I suppose the involvement of the teachers is a given in Spanish, which makes sense…)
Honestly, my expectations are not THAT high. I am above all curious and perhaps just a tad competitive too. There, I said it, the cat is out of the bag. I have one of those obnxious yanqui- Mommy complexes that I try very hard to hide most of the time. I am convinced my kid is usually the smartest one in the room. I should admit that on the first day of school when I accompanied Chip in his classroom for a few hours a bucket of cold water was dumped on this illusion, but does that mean I let it go? Hell´s no!
There was a very outgoing and well spoken little girl who was forming intelligible sentence fragments and directing them at me, a complete stranger, on that fateful first day of school. While C was working on one word labels and even then, only with people he really knew and trusted, she chatted to me about her doll, who fell a lot apparently, who the teacher was, which toys she liked and so on. I am pretty sure that Chip didn´t get a word out at school till January and this happened in August, when he was 15 months old. At the time I chalked it up to “girls mature more quickly” and left it at that (though not until after I had asked the teacher how much older that C was this adorable little chatterbox and learned, to my dismay, that only 30 days separated their birthdates, oh, the horror!!)
Other than that one rude awakening, I am still pretty sure he is among the brightest bulbs in the batch and will either have that confirmed or disproven this afternoon.
A tad dramatic, perhaps, no? After all this is a bunch of 2 year olds, the most likely scenario here is that these lovely young ladies who spend all day with my son will tell us parents about potty training, language development and a bunch of other general information which really has little do with what I truly want to know……what kind of person is my kid amongst his peers and when I (or his dad) are not around??? After all, these hours spent in the jardin are the first step towards independence, a stage where we are not present (not only not present, pretty clueless about whatever it is he does actually do there….) and he is his own person.
Truth be told, I am not that worried about it. I know what kind of kid I have and I am pretty sure this mysterious place I am so curious about has had a lot of positive effects on who he is becoming. Not just the eating alone, he also says “gracias” on his own and very seriously every time he is given something he requests, be it a piece of cheese or a pot to bang;he´s got the whole tidying up thing down pat, complete with catchy tune, and while he may be using a lot of “mío” (mine) and “solo” (as in, I´ll do it by myself) these days, he shares at the park and with my friends´kids and he´s not yet 2. So the end results are positive.
And as for my “brightest bulb” complex, I think that´s pretty normal, as long as I keep my mouth shut and don´t share these thoughts, its probably pretty healthy to think your kid is the best, right? I mean, who else is going to do it? if it turns out to be remotely true, great and if not, well, I´m his mom, I´m pretty sure I am suppose to love him the most and if in my book that means wanting to whisper “baby genius” all of the time, so be it. Just as long as no one else hears me!