Mainstreaming and learning to follow his lead, whichever direction that’s in

I’ve been following Trystan’s lead since birth. He was breastfeed whenever he wanted (on ‘demand’ just sounds wrong when talking about babies need for comfort/nutrition/genderalfeelgoodness don’t you think?), slept with us (and still does), decided when he was ready to try solid foods and what they were (babyled weaning/solids). I’ve gradually eased him into new situations at his own pace understanding that he needs more time than others. I’ve offered him a variety of toys and materials to play with and don’t care whether he chooses the dolls or the trucks.

I’ve insisted on taking him to a Kinder class he does not enjoy and more often than not asks to not attend. Hmmm, something’s wrong here, yes? Why do I insist on knowing what’s best for him better than he does? Because he’s only 3,4…? Because I feel the need to direct what he learns and the type of children he learns from through play? Who am I to say that he wouldn’t thrive in a different setting? He certainly isn’t thriving where he is. Where is the unconditional love here?? The sudden realisation that I’ve been selfish hits. Ouch đŸ˜¦ .

Today is a Kinder day. Trystan woke this morning knowing it was a Kinder day (easy to pick because I’m home and Rob isn’t). He asked to “stay home all day”. I asked him if he wanted to go to Playgroup Kinder (what he calls it as he remembers doing Playgroup there) after lunch.. the answer, as I knew it would be, was no. He wanted to stay home. “I love my home”.

As our morning visit had been cancelled I asked Trystan if he would like to visit some ‘new different Kinders’ this morning. Once he ascertained that this was not Playgroup Kinder, he agreed. After a quick phone call to ask the most appropriate time for a visit, and a lot of nervous apprehension from this stressed out mamabear, we set off.

I’m not quite sure what I expected. It doesn’t matter, the two closest (and newest) Kinders we visited were none of the things I envisioned and feared. The children were happy, the teachers were caring but not overbearing, the program was entirely child-led (I found out our council operates on an Reggio Emilia approach), and most important of all – Trystan didn’t want to leave! Trystan, my usually shy in new situations/surroundings son asked me if I was going to leave! He wanted to stay.. as long as Sylar stayed too *bless*. Trystan, who is usually stuck to my side, was happily playing in various parts of the room and then outside and didn’t even check to see if I was still there.. he didn’t care. Upon asking him what we thought of the Kinders after we left each, he said “I love this Kinder”. Wow. So, I ask myself the question again, why would I not send him somewhere he instantly feels happy, safe and relaxed? He is telling me what he needs, no?

Kinder is so different to when I went many many moons ago. The structure is gone. The shaming is gone. The enforced learning through rote is gone.

I’m reminded of the saying that ‘we hate that which we fear and we fear that which we don’t understand’ (not exact wording, but that’s the gist). I didn’t understand how 4 year old Kinder operates (unless it’s just different in my area?). So, pulling myself back to the basis of unconditional love, I’m choosing to trust Trystan on this one. He may not get in (remember the enrolled from birth thing!), but then he’d get to stay home with me for another year. Not the end of the world *smile* .

Now all that remains is to discuss it with his father and then decide what we’re going to do for the rest of this year. All I can tell you is that I’m done being selfish now, this is about my precious boy and what he wants. And yep, a want is the same as a need in our world.

(and no, we didn’t go to Playgroup Kinder today)

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