Friday, April 02, 2010


I am starting to look into preschool programs for Sophie and Nicky. I am afraid they are in desperate need. There are definite advantages to having a work schedule that allows us to be home with our kids and not have to put them in daycare. However, I believe they are missing quite a bit from not having that daycare experience. Lucas was in daycare until he was 3 and a half. It was a small home daycare, but he loved it. She did most of his potty training...taught him his letters and numbers...taught him valuable social skills like taking turns and playing nice with friends. Sophie and Nicky, having been home with us since birth, are a bit lacking in those areas. Left to our own devices, our children have learned nothing. Actually, that's not entirely true. Nicholas, in his typical Rainman style, taught himself his colors, numbers, letters, and shapes. He is even starting to write letters and numbers. Sophie on the other hand, not being an idiot savant, has had to depend on her mommies to teach her. Unfortunately for her, the luck of the draw gave her rather lackluster parents. Sophie knows her shapes and her colors...I think Elmo taught her those. However, she cannot name a single letter or number...with the exception of S. I will point to an E and Sophie will confidently announce "J!" Ummm...seriously? Not even close. We jokingly say that Sophie just isn't book smart...she's street smart. But really...street smarts on a 3-year-old aren't exactly desirable. Right?

As for social skills...again, Nicholas excels in that area. He doesn't have a shy bone in his body. He will talk to absolutely anyone. Yesterday afternoon, he spent half an hour chatting up the 17-month-old who lives across the street. I can only imagine that was a one-sided conversation. He is moderately adept at sharing and for the most part gets along with everyone. He must have inherited good genes from our donor. He's certainly nothing like me.

Poor, poor Sophie, on the other hand, inherited my genes. She is painfully shy. At home, she is a whirlwind and the sassiest child I've ever met. However, get her around other children or adults that she does not know well, and she turns into this clingy, frightened little creature. It's really heart-wrenching to watch. At the park, she will be playing fine until another child gets on the slide or climber she is on. Immediately, she will get down and come running to me. She won't play in the Playland at McDonalds because there are other kids in there. I can see on her face that she wants to join in, but she just cannot make herself do it. If a child she does not know tries to talk to her, she clams up and begins frantically looking for Ruanita or I. I know exactly what she is going through. I was the same way as a child...though Sophie may be a bit more timid even than I was. It breaks my heart to watch her.

I think Nicholas and Sophie would benefit from preschool a few days a week. With Sophie, it is imperative. She knows absolutely nothing that a child needs to know to be kindergarten ready. We have one full year to get her up to speed and then she will be entering kindergarten. I don't want my daughter to start school from a point of disadvantage. My only concern about putting her in preschool is that I know she will HATE it. I can see it now...Sophie crying and begging me not to leave her. Sophie sitting in the corner miserable. Sophie watching the other children playing, too timid to join in. It kills me. However, I know that the only way she will develop those necessary social skills is if I put her into that situation and let her sink or swim. I just don't want to see my daughter drowning. Of course, at some point, I have to let her go. I have to trust that the preschool teachers will engage Sophie and not allow her be excluded. I have to trust that school will be a place for her to learn and grow. I have to entrust my beautiful daughter to them at some point.

I don't have to like it though.


Angie Rehnelt said...

Hey Shannon, does/would Sophie do any thing like a dance class? Maybe that would help her get used to being independent, but you would be able to still be right there watching through the window (or whatever) AND she would have lots of fun dancing, etc. Just a suggestion - good luck! :)

Shannon Ralph said...

Angie--That's a great idea that I hadn't thought of. Sophie loves dancing and tumbling. Do you have Ashley in a dance class? If so, where?

Angie Rehnelt said...

I don't have Ash in a dance class right now, but I hope to this fall. We go to Danceworks in Lakeville, but that's probably too far away for you guys. She took a 3 year old dance class and LOVED it. You could also consider gymnastics since you say she likes tumbling. These classes can get major expensive, so I would suggest your local community ed for some summer dance or gymnastics classes. Happy Easter! :)

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