Tuesday, October 12, 2004

"I Don't Like The New School"

A couple of months ago, the health department, because of PCBs in the light fixtures, suddenly shut down my daughter’s preschool. It was all over the news. The only notice was a call one Tuesday evening to say that they would keep us abreast of any possible reopening. But because the county (evil King County), who owned the building and the property, refused to help financially to fix the issue, the school was closed. I loved her school, and so did she. The closure was a shock to all, and enraged parents at the lack of assistance the county was willing to provide. The scramble to find new employment for the workers and placement for the children was on. The great thing about Bubba’s school was that it was more than reasonably priced, had great staff and large grounds. Replacing that was proving to be a challenge. The only thing we were able to match was pricing. And so far Bubba has not enjoyed her new school.

Every time I pull up in the drive, she takes one look at the building and begins to grumble, not to me, mind you, but even more disturbingly – to herself – “oh no, not my new school, I don’t want to go to my new school. I want to go to my old school. I want to see Miss Tia.” And no matter how many times I explain the situation to her the mornings are the same. She grumbles in the car, then clings to me as we walk in the door. She ignores the teachers’ greetings and invitations to join the other children. I have to ply myself away, and everyday when I look over my shoulder as I walk away, I see her standing alone, head down, face sullen. It breaks my heart, because she used to be so excited about preschool. She loved her “kids” as she called them, and the teachers, and just everything. It was a great shock to her. And while she was always excited to see me when I came to pick her up. She now squeals with a delight I have never seen or heard from her; she runs up to me and hugs me and smothers me with kisses and I love yous and I missed yous. I wonder what goes on during the day to make her so sad to go and so happy to leave, so much so that I have considered looking for a new school, though this one will now be but ½ mile from my new apartment and directly on the way to work.

And then this morning, when I was feeling my worst about the “new school” and trying to figure out what to do now that I wanted to keep her there for location’s sake, we arrived and everything was completely different. When I unbuckled her, she jumped down, ran to the sign-in area, waited patiently while I signed her in, then raced to the room filled with children. Once she entered, she walked up to the closest girl and gave the surprised child a big hug. The teacher and I exchanged looks of shock. I shrugged my shoulders and turned to go without a goodbye hug for fear it would set off the melancholy, but she remembered me. I held my breath while she ran over to hug me, but rather than clinging, she gave me a quick squeeze and ran back into the room. This time as I glanced over my shoulder, I daresay I saw a smile gracing her beautiful face.

P.S. King County is now fixing the PCB problem. Guess they just wanted the school gone. I can't say how wrong that is and worthy of many an argh!
- Crazy/Hip Blog-Mamas +