Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Why Don't You Work?"

I walked into Bobby's preschool at 11:00 like I do every Monday and Thursday morning.  He'd been there since 7:30 and it was time to pick him up.  His classmates seemed extra bouncy this morning, and it made me wonder if they'd done anything out of the ordinary.  All of a sudden I felt a tug at my shirt.

"Bobby's mommy....why don't you work?"  I glanced down at Kinsey's precious little inquisitive face.  Another student, Audrey, chimed in.

"Yeah, how come you don't have a job like my mom?"

The logical part of my brain understood that their questions were reflective of 4-year-olds' natural curiosity but the emotional part felt a bit defensive.  I wanted to respond, "What do you mean, why don't I work?  I work harder as a Stay-At-Home-Mom than I ever did at any of my previous jobs.  It's 24/7 with no vacation and no sick days! And I haven't slept well in four years!!"   Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to answer because the teacher signaled to the class that it was time for lunch.  And it was also time for me to join her in the office for a parent-teacher conference to discuss Bobby's state testing results.

Anyone who's ever had a parent-teacher conference with two young children present knows how crazy it can be.  Some of your attention is on the teacher (who's explaining extremely important information) but most of your focus is on your children (who are yanking books off the shelf, hiding staplers, throwing erasers, or playing in the garbage can).

What I managed to gather from Bobby's teacher in between re-shelving books and redirecting my Curious George-esque children was that this particular test was administered in February to all of the 3-year-olds in the school.  It covered twenty areas including: gross motor skills, fine motor skills, sequencing, spacial relations, patterns, predicting, identification, matching, and rhyming. Bobby's score was broken down like this:

2/20 questions= on a 4-year-old level
13/20 questions= on a 5-year-old level
5/20 questions= on a 6-year-old level

He was 3 at the time and scored above age/grade level on every question of the test.  I was very impressed!   The teacher told me one of the test questions was, "What would you do if you walked into a dark room?"  An age-appropriate answer would've been, "I'd turn on the light."  or "I'd be scared." Apparently Bobby said something to the effect of, "I'd pull my art desk over to the light switch, stand on it to turn on the light, push my desk back to where it belongs, and then find my train track under my bed.  I like to set up the track the way Daddy does so that it looks like an 8...."   He went on and on, giving the teacher much more information than she needed/expected.  There's a rubric to score these types of open-ended questions and the content of his answer matched something a 6-year-old might say.  

I know every parent brags about his/her child and I'm no exception.  Bobby has always been intelligent in my eyes but it's reassuring to hear it from someone else (who's not family).  In a way, it validates my decision to stay at home and raise my children.  I've worked with Bobby out of workbooks since he was 2 and 1/2 years old.  We do puzzles, flashcards, and constantly talk about what's going on around us and why.  I'm a teacher by trade and I love being able to teach my own children every day.  It's hard work and tiring at times, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Bobby's classmate asked me this morning why I don't work.  Now I know how to respond.  I may not have a traditional job with a paycheck but I'm doing the best I can with what I have.  And it seems to be paying off.

1 comment:

  1. You have the best " job" in the world! Way to go!