Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Beginnings of Greatness

I haven’t mentioned it much in the past few weeks – come to think of it, I haven’t mentioned much of anything in the past few weeks as I seem to have forgotten all about this blog – but preschool has been going just splendidly for Zane. He really likes his teachers. He gets to play with new trains there. He hasn’t been accidentally exposed to any allergens. He gets to sing. His verbal skills are improving every day he attends, and most importantly – let me say it again - there are trains there.

In fact, Zane’s going to preschool has led to a new favorite part of the day for the two of us. Every night after tucking Zane in, we talk about preschool, even if he hasn’t gone that day. He tells me about singing and eating his snack. He brags about how well he shares, and he names both of his teachers. It’s really quite sweet and reassures me that he really does love going.

Today, however, we had a bit of a situation. I attribute this to the fact that I had a lot of things scheduled with friends during the past week and I had to work yesterday, so Zane didn’t get a chance to experience the I’m-so-sick-of-mama-why-doesn’t- she-take-me-somewhere-else-and-leave phenomena that he usually experiences every Tuesday morning.

But whatever the reason, this morning he didn’t particularly want to go to preschool, and he decided to employ one of the most effective forms of civil disobedience – nonviolent resistance.

I imagine his wee brain was saying something along the lines of Hey, it worked for Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., and they were up against real evil. I just don’t want to go to school today.

The following are some passive resistance techniques and how my own little Gandhi employed them this morning:

  1. Resistance by Inertia or Non-Energetic Compliance – There were multiple instances of this today. Zane wouldn’t lift his arms so that I could take off his pajama top so that we could put on school clothes. He laid face down on the floor so I couldn’t get the mask on him for his breathing treatment.

  1. Boycotts – Zane refused to eat the nutritious, delicious breakfast that I made. (Two pieces of ‘nilla toast.) He refused chili or anything else. This may actually have been the first step in a hunger strike, but he caved when I brought out the Cracklin’ Oat Bran.

  1. Material Sabotage – Zane refused to go potty before he left for school. He knows the school will kick out un-potty trained kids and we’re on a wing and a prayer on that front, so he figures No potty. No school. (That’s just the way his little diabolical mind works).

  1. Occupation of Buildings – Zane wouldn’t leave our front steps for at least 5 minutes today. No matter how much I begged or cajoled. He was perched on the top step, and he wasn’t coming down. So I had to carry him down the steps and into the car – not pretty.

  1. Lobbying – This is what I heard on the way to school. Zane no go school, mama. Stay home with mama. (Apparently employing non-violent resistance does not mean that he is unwilling to break his mama’s heart).

So I was preparing myself for a difficult drop off. I had an early meeting, but I figured I’d just have to be a few minutes late so that I could stay for a while and get him adjusted and comfortable. Fortunately, as happens many times when dealing with fickle, fickle preschoolers, Zane completely reversed course when we pulled into the preschool parking lot. He ran to his class and started playing – with trains – without a backward glance. He happily kissed me goodbye and acted as if he couldn’t wait to get the preschool day started.

There is a lesson in this for me: Those who practice passive resistance techniques are capricious and unreliable, and one should trust neither their intentions nor their actions.

Hmmm…or maybe that just applies to 3 year olds.

Whatever. I stand by my previous blanket statement.


Dustin said...

Ah, the combat tactics of children...I remember them well.

I still use the inertia one. Sometimes KJ sneakily snuggles up to me and then whispers in my ear that she loves me and would i "pretty please" take out the recycling. That's when I go dead-weight on her. It's pretty effective too since I out weigh her by close to 70 lbs.

P.S. No living being can resist Cracklin' Oat Bran

SRH said...

Correction, Dustin. "No living being can resist Cracklin' Oat Bran after they have tried it." Until they try it, it looks like dog food.

Zany Mama said...

I never thought of using this technique in my relationship. That's brilliant! Just wait until SRH asks for the good stuff next time.

Please disregard the above statement.

Crack-lin' oat bran is an apt description, once you've tasted it. it takes a minute to get past that whole dog food thing, but it's well worth it. I just wish it weren't $17 a box.