Thursday, April 17, 2008

Snail's pace

Went a week without posting -- egad! At least I'm typing something up tonight, on Eldest's unfortunate encounter with a snail.

The new preschool has been working out great for Eldest, but it seems the times when it seems to not be going so well has been after school is over, when we're still lingering on the playground and parents are filtering out their kids. Either I can't get him to go, or he gets so overstimulated that he takes things to personally or becomes uncharacteristically mean, or something else goes wrong. On Monday, something else went wrong.

There are two 4-year-old classes conducted at the same time at this preschool, and a girl from the other class -- a girl whose mom is going to be Littlest's 2-year-old preschool teacher next fall -- had a snail someone had found for her (that's important because it wasn't like a show snail or anything). She put it on the ground to see if it would move, and Eldest then stomped on it.

We don't think he was being purposely mean, though I did initially. He said he didn't want her to have it, but I think it wasn't because he was jealous, but because it was a slimy snail. Wife hates snails -- we've had some in our garden -- and I'm sure he would have stepped on it at home. You start to fear the worst when your son does something like this, but he is a boy, and boys squash bugs. I did make him apologize, and we did skip rock climbing that day, so hopefully he got the point that it still wasn't a nice thing to do.

The girl was crying, a lot. I didn't see it happen, but I heard her screaming "You killed it!" At first, I was really worried -- the preschool has had chicks in the classroom but had them outside in a cage in a dry kiddie pool that day, and a few minutes before the teacher had them out, and I thought Eldest had stepped on a baby chicken. But it was just the snail.

On Eldest's next day of school, we let him pick one of our flowers to give to the girl and say he was sorry again. She loved it and was still holding the flower after school when all the kids were playing, until, another kid slammed into her on a tricycle. This poor 5-year-old -- the flower came off the stem, but she was crying more from the scrape the accident inflicted. I was just relieved at the missed irony that could have been if Eldest had run into her.

I hope Eldest learned a couple of valuable lessons, especially this one: Giving lowers always will get a girl all mushy inside!

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