Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chameleons

Our confident, rambunctious, friendly kids are, apparently, not. The girl who gleefully conducts regular family gymnastics classes in our living room refuses to participate in gymnastics. Our boy, energetic singer of songs and banger of drums, does not like music. And while they love nothing better than to sweep their special friends up into their personal world of games and toys and imagination, neither will initiate play with other children.

Or so I was reliably informed by their preschool teachers during our first-ever parent-teacher conferences.

Who are those impostor children inhabiting my own every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.? Who is the "shy, quiet girl who plays by herself and mostly watches others during activities?" Who is the "introverted boy who is never any trouble but keeps himself to himself?" Clearly, not mine.

I am baffled and troubled by the vast chasm between who I think they are and who they are at school. More importantly: How did this happen and how do I fix it?

Ouch.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Jen said...

I am guessing a lot of it has to do with the new school situation. They've only been there a couple of months, right? I would bet that they're still getting used to it, and before long, their gorgeous little personalities will assert themselves once again.

Or...you all could just come for a visit and we could watch the April 4th twins & J ham it up together?

6:34 PM  
Anonymous persephone said...

Oh, Bugs! I know how you feel. But it's not that you don't know your kids, or that they're pretending. The school environment is so, so different from the rest of their lives, it really is an unknown how they'll react.

It's also not a given that there's anything to fix. Some kids truly are content to be introverts at school, and outgoing, assertive kids the rest of the time. Are the teachers just pointing this out as something to keep an eye on? Are your kids actually unhappy about any of this?

If they *are* unhappy, there will be something you can do. It might take getting some support services, but it's worth it when it starts to work.

On the surface, it sounds like my kids struggle with the same kinds of things, but I don't want to jump to assume it's for the same reasons. But please, email me if you want to talk in more detail. We're very happy with the support our kids are getting.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Orodemniades said...

The Chieftain is a loner, too, although when he's around other kids he watches them like the proverbial hawk. and then does whatever they do as soon as they move on to something else.

He's also very different in speech therapy and play group, so much of the time I just chalk it up to that. But I worry for the future...school terrifies me and I can totally see being a homeschooler. Ack. I dream of time to myself...

8:20 PM  
Blogger Foxxy One said...

Unfortunately, it's not something to be fixed. It's a new world for them so they are getting their feet wet. Some kids just take longer than others.

A psychiatrist observing Dylan (maybe for 30 minutes at most) noted in Dylan's IEP that he plans alone - avoiding other kids.

Really?? Every time I pick him up from day care, he's chasing or being chased by some other kid or getting into some mischief or another with another child.

Let them be - they'll find their way.

5:45 AM  
Blogger zarqa said...

Wow, does this sound familiar. We started preschool this year too and, although according to the teacher, LO is adjusting well, I know from my own observations of her in school and in playgroup that she does indeed keep to herself, hesitates to assert her wants, be it hanging on to something she's playing with or taking her "turn" when it's due. It bothers me to no end and I see the things I deplore about my own personality cropping up in hers. When it's just me and her, she's outgoing, assertive (bossy!), speaks full beautiful descriptive sentences and paragraphs. She talks about her "friends" and knows everyone, but I've never seen her initiate contact.
Hubbie thinks we should look for help, but I don't know where to go, since according to everyone we've seen so far, she's perfectly fine.
Would love to hear what you learn and do.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I'm also not sure it's something that needs to be fixed, at least in the short term. It's a huge adjustment. My youngest is supposed to be going to day care 1 day a week and is having a hard adjustment and I often have to stay a while after dropping him off and watching him play there, he's different - even when I'm present. Quiter, more cautious. Skeptical, even.

And my kindergartener is so well-behaved, helpful, and industrious at kindergarten that I would have asked the teacher, are you sure you're reading the right report if that kind of joking was socially acceptable in Switzerland, which it totally is not.

Just like adults take on different personalities in different situations, the kids do too...

2:03 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

You know, I didn't think about it until tonight, but my daughter is like that- happy, outgoing, singing, exuberant at home-yet at storytime, she's quieter, restrained. She sings none of the songs (that she sings constantly at home) nevermind dance to them.

Home is where we're most comfortable, I guess- is there really anything wrong with that?

9:02 PM  
Blogger Tommie said...

Both of my daughters are the same way. They're insane at home (loud, wild) and in school, they're quiet, observant, more likely to play alone or with one or two kids than to be in the crowd. I think, like others said, it's just a comfort thing.

10:57 AM  

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