Friday, October 12, 2007

Do I know my child?

When I first started my school search, my dear friend Kimmy told me that I need to find the school that's right for Alice. She said that when I tour that school I will know it—I will feel it. She's not the only person who has told me this. In fact, everyone is telling me this. They're saying things like, "When you walk into the school of your dreams, you'll feel butterflies fluttering in your stomach"; "You'll definitely start to cry because you'll be elated"; "You'll see a group of kids doing something like playing a friendly game of four-square and you'll picture your little joey with those kids." Okay, I'm exaggerrating but everyone is saying, "You know your child best. You will know which school is right for her."

But do I know my child? My husband and I met with Alice's teacher yesterday. Alice has a smart, thoughtful, energetic teacher. And as she sat there telling stories about my daughter, I started to tear up because I could see that this woman truly loves my child. She knows her. She's aware of her strengths and she appreciates her quirks.

Of course, we asked about schools. She had a lot of great suggestions and generally thought that Alice would do well anywhere. But she did say that Alice is very social and she has leadership qualities. She thought she would particularly thrive at a school with two or more kindergartens because she might need more stimulation than a school with one could provide.

Wait? What? This never crossed my mind. In fact, my perspective had been entirely different. In my posting on my strategy for finding a school, I specifically talk about Alice needing a small, intimate environment because she gets overwhelmed by big groups. I'm intentionally touring a few private schools with only one kindergarten.

Guess who definitely gets overwhelmed in crowds? Uh...uh...that would be me. Am I projecting my personality on my daughter? At school, it sounds like she does great in a group. When she comes with me to an event with a bunch of people, I notice that she gets a little uneasy—but is that only because she senses her mom's stress? Something to think about.

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