Friday, November 14, 2008

A School Function

I think I’ve mentioned before that Cade is in the after school program. The school has gotten funding from the state to provide a place for kids to stay after school. They work on homework, have Karate class once a week, play computer games and are even served dinner at 4:30. I’m on the fence with this whole thing – it’s a really great alternative for parents who don’t have anywhere for their kids to go. It’s safe, it’s supervised, they get fed, they get help with their homework, etc. But on the other hand isn’t all of that the parent’s responsibility? Yes, but things aren’t as cut and dry as they used to be. There are so many parents who don’t take care of their kids which make these programs necessary. It’s a sad cycle. What really breaks my heart is thinking about the kids who are eating all 3 of their meals at school every day. It's good for them in case they weren't getting fed at home, but can you imagine not having dinner around the table with your family at all? We do have Cade in it, but if they didn’t have the program we would be fine. The only reason why we did it was because of those days Jay isn’t at school. I can’t leave work at 2:30 everyday that Jay has something going on. If I did they might as well move me to part time status. We use it because it’s convenient and thankfully not because it’s necessary.

Cade has a love/hate relationship with the after school program. He would rather ride the bus over to the high school every day, but he’s required to at least show up three times a week. This is where it gets tricky for Jay and I….if Jay wants to pick Cade up before they serve dinner (which is what we strive for) he has to be there early enough that Cade doesn’t realize he’s missing dinner. If Jay shows up at 4:20, Cade’s mad because he didn’t get to eat. Then when I pick him up I have to time it so I’m there about 5:15 which means I have to kill some time after work. If I get there right at 5:00 he has just gotten to the computer lab and gets upset because he didn’t get to play very long. Sometimes I wonder how “convenient” this really is for us.

One night last week the after school program had a fun night of activities at the high school. Jay had a speaking contest so Cade and I braved this one alone. The gym was a combination of jumping toys, a Wii game, face painting, noise and smelly feet. Kids were running everywhere. There was a huge blow up obstacle course that ended with an enormous slide. Cade headed there first. So naturally I followed him. The line was a little long, but he waited there for awhile. Kids were sneaking in line, shoving each other, etc. When Cade got almost to the front he got out of line and came over to me. He wanted to do something else. I drug him back over to the line and told him he was almost there. Really, what would Cade do without me making sure he stayed in his line? It would be complete chaos, or at least that’s my opinion.

After the obstacle course he wanted to try the Wii. So I walked over to that line with him. That’s where the blow occurred. The one that you know as a mother is going to happen, but you hope it will be where they’re 18, not 6. He gave looked up into my eyes, gave me a little push and very sincerely said “Mom, could you please just go away? I promise I’ll stay in line this time”. He didn’t say it hatefully; he was actually quite nice about it. He was with his friends and I was hovering too much. Ok, I was standing right beside him in line. Since there didn’t seem to be any other parents in a 24 foot radius of me I had to assume I was the only one waiting with my child in line. So I backed off about 12 feet.

While backing up from Cade I thought about something that had happened when he first got there…..when he walked to the line for the obstacle course he saw one of his friends in line towards the front so he stopped to say Hi to him. A little girl, who looked to be about 4 shoved Cade and told him to get to the back of the line. Cade didn’t say anything, just went to the back of the line. For a split second I almost got onto the girl for shoving, I don’t like to see Cade (or any child for that matter) treated that way. It’s a good thing I didn’t say anything. Not only would Cade be known as the one with the hovering mother, but also the one who got onto a 4 year old girl for pushing her 6 year old boy. But if that girl’s parents had been standing with her in line she wouldn’t have shoved. Yes, I think there is something to be said for parental involvement not only in school but also while kids are waiting in lines. Lines are like war zones for kids. Very, very scary.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a very fine line of where a parent should be at times like this. The child wants to independent and doesn't want to be the kid with the over protective parents, but as parents we have the need to want our child to behave and not be taken advantage of by other children. I'm glad you and Charity are grown and I don't have to make those decissions anymore.