Friday, October 17, 2008

PreSchool Politics - Updated

I am new to the pre-school culture. Dylan started school in August. We couldn't be happier with our choice of where to send him. It is a co-op, which means the parents help out once a month or so in the classroom. The co-oping and volunteering that happen at the school foster a sense of community and interdependence among the teachers, students and parents and we feel really at home there.

But I think I may have crossed a line this week. I am going to be known as "that mom." The grumpy, uncooperative woman who when you turn the corner and see me coming you quickly look the other way and walk past pretending not to notice me because you don't want to have a conversation with me. My kid won't be invited to any birthday parties. I am the new mom at school and I complained about an issue that was bothering me. You see, as at home as we feel there, we are still kind of outsiders because, well, it's our first year and we weren't around last year when so-and-so happened or the year before when such-and-such happened. So who am I to bring up an issue that is bothering me? I mean, I chose the school, right? What could I possibly have to complain about?

I'm so glad you asked! Since the first week of school, I have noticed this little puppy around the campus. It happens to belong to an employee at the daycare attached to the pre-school. Her daughter attends the school. At first I thought that maybe she had brought the dog in for show and tell or something. No big deal if it's there for a day or an occasional visit. But it's there everyday. I guess the mom takes care of it while she's working, but occasionally during the school day, the little girl wants to play with her puppy and has it out on the playground. She's mean to the other kids about it when they get close because they are curious and want to play with the puppy too. Understandable, they're learning how to share in pre-school. It isn't easy.

My last straw was on Thursday when I dropped Dylan off. She had the dog out in the school yard. (Unsupervised, I might add... Mom was no where in sight.) Dylan walked past her to get to the play area and she yelled at him and jerked the dog around away from him. Whatever. She's four and doesn't want the other kids messing with her dog. But why is she allowed to have it there?

I have a few concerns about having the dog at school. a) There's the hygiene issue. Where is the dog eliminating? And who's making sure the kids stay out of it? b) While I love the sense of caring and community fostered at this school, I would like to know that the people working there are focused on caring for my child and not a puppy. And c) can my son bring his pet to school? It's a fairness thing, as childish as that may sound. Anyway, I have a hard time believing that I am the first parent to notice or bring it up.

Whether or not my concerns are valid doesn't really matter at this point. I said something and I can't unsay it and now I will just be known as "that mom" because I don't think it's okay for a little girl who misses her puppy to be able to play with him at school, or for a mom who is having a hard time housebreaking the dog at home to bring it to work with her. I also worry WAY TOO MUCH about what others think of me and I need to get over it. Right now I kind of feel like I made a bigger deal out of a little puppy at school than I should have. It's okay. I can deal with being shunned in the mornings by the other moms on the playground or skipping the parent socials.


Update 10/21 I dropped Dylan off at school this morning and the family in question was out on the playground... no puppy in sight! And I wasn't feeling all shunned and stuff. Now I won't sit here all day wondering if my son had to side step doggy doo-doo at recess or defend himself against puppy-induced verbal battery. But don't think I'm not gonna still be waiting for the birthday invites!


Anna said...

bring your kid to Japan, I'll invite him to our kids' parties.

All the questions you have about that dog seem valid to me as a parent and dog owner. I could rant on this for hours but just for the adult in the situation, having her dog there takes away from the attention she could be giving to her students. That single thing, out of every one that runs through my head at the thought of this, should be enough for the school to say "kennel train. NOW."

Natalie said...

Found you via Mr. Lady's comments and I wanted to pop over and say hi to a fellow Arizonan (Chandler right now) who is NOT voting for McCain!

(Incidentally, the 7-11 poll in AZ has Obama leading McCain - bwahahaahhaha!)

And no, that employee should not bring her pet to work every day.

Anonymous said...

Well, I liked your post because I don't particularly ENJOY chatting with the moms before school because it seems way too gossipy to me. Maybe it's because I show up to drop off my kid and don't stick around to find out the so-and-sos and the such-and-suches. I'd rather hit the gym full speed, thank you very much! I get that Invisible Woman feeling every time I step in there (and not from his teachers, they are amazing). So I guess I will quit caring about what everyone else thinks too. Thanks Beck!

Marin said...

Just saw this post.

For the record, you were not the only one to bring up this issue, and I for one commend you for doing so. You were not alone in your concerns. And as you commented, your actions got the desired result. So, Yeah Becky!!!

BTW, I am "that teacher". The one who brings up stuff, like why the hell that puppy was always around. I am the one the other teachers shun. How happy I was to have you echo my concerns! I was all "See? I'm not the only one!" After which I stuck out my tongue and went "nanny nanny boo boo".

A belated thank you for voicing your concerns, and never feel that you can't. We wouldn't be the communinty we try so hard to be if we weren't comfortable sharing issues that were bothering us.