Last night was open house night at daycare. We went to Jacob's classroom and experienced a typical circle time, craft project, and cooking project. I was interested to see how it all went, knowing that there would be other kids there, not to mention their parents. I'm sure Jacob is usually a lot better at daycare than he tends to be with us, just because of peer pressure, but I also know that he doesn't get "Cooperative" checked every day, either.
When I got to daycare, he looked like a ragamuffin--snot all over his sleeves, different pants than he had this morning thanks to his second accident this week, and a little blood behind his ear from some sort of self-inflicted injury. Lovely...just how I want him to look when everyone else's parents are around.
Once everyone arrived, we sat in a circle to see how their daily "circle time" goes. They do songs with the days of the week, months of the year, and the alphabet. They go through letters and the kids provide words that start with those letters, then hold up numbers, colors and shapes to be identified. Finally, they read a story and do a couple little songs with motions (Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around and the Hokey Pokey). It's pretty cool to see a bunch of three year olds sit nicely and participate like that. They even have little mousepads with their names on them so they know where to sit. It's cute.
Of course, right away Jacob didn't want to sit up, didn't want to participate, and kept trying to grab toys or books. He did well during the alphabet/word activity, though everyone laughed when all of the words he supplied had to do with sports or Batman. Yep, that's our kid. He got a little antsy again during the numbers, and ended up on Craig's lap, sitting at an angle where he couldn't really see the shapes or colors to participate in that part. Eventually he got to be a major distraction, and then started screaming in the middle of storytime, at which point Craig took him out. I think he thought he was going to get a beat-down or something, because he was totally freaking out. He missed the Teddy Bear thing and the Hokey Pokey, which was a bummer because it was really cute watching the other kids do it. In general I just sat there mortified because my kid was the one being disruptive, not listening, and making us look ever-so-slightly like incompetent parents.
After he calmed down, it was time for a craft. It was basically just sticking adhesive foam shapes (Halloween, of course!) on a piece of paper. We had to help with peeling off the backings and punching out eyes and mouths, but the kids were good about it. They all sat nicely. After that was the long awaited treat--pumpkin cut-out sugar cookies! They each got an unfrosted cookie, a dollop of orange frosting, and a pile of chocolate chips. The kids had a bit of a tough time frosting, but parents stepped in to varying degrees and helped out. The kids then downed their cookies. Jacob was the first to finish, but then again he hadn't had dinner yet since the open house started so soon after pickup time. I just wish they would have had some for us!
Afterward the kids started playing with toys and parents just sort of hung out. Throughout the evening, we really didn't talk to many other parents. I guess neither of us are particularly good at small talk, but then again, no one really talked to us either. At the end of the evening we did have a chat with the one mom (probably the one that looked most like someone I'd want to hang out with) about hockey, since she knew Jacob liked it. It was pretty short-lived, though I did also ask her how old her baby was (10 weeks!) and we commiserated over sending babies off to daycare. But other than that, we didn't really talk to anyone. Maybe people saw Jacob's behavior and felt like they didn't want to open the door to encouraging play dates or anything. Maybe they just see each other more at drop-off or pick-up, so they know each other better. Maybe they've been together, doing events like these, since the beginning. I'm still sad we didn't get to know other parents better at Jacob's old daycare until the last day, because it turned out that most of them were pretty cool.
I'm not really sure about the whole play date thing anyway, because I feel like we don't even have time for play dates. Our weekends are jammed and evenings are short enough anyway, so I don't know when we'd fit more in. Does it really matter, though, since Jacob's entire day is like a big play date? Maybe playdates are more for non-daycare kids. As he gets older I'm sure he'll want to play with another kid outside of school, and that's fine, but hopefully we have a little time before that. Based on everything I read on blogs, there's good reason to be anxious about playdates...though they do have upsides, too.
As a whole, I was so annoyed by how the evening went. Every fear I had pretty much came to fruition--Jacob was a mess, he misbehaved and we probably looked pathetic trying to corral him, and we didn't really fit in with the other parents. On the bright side, it was cool to see what he does each day, and I can definitely tell that circle time has improved his letter and number recognition. Despite his behavior, the assistant director did say that normally he's sitting so nice and participating well during circle time, so he must have just been "showing off" for us. Why he feels the need to "show off" like that, I have no idea. He seems to take great pride in making us crazy, and I'm just not sure how to help him understand that's a bad thing. He doesn't learn from his mistakes, so he doesn't get that disobeying and not listening seems to end in an injury (usually from fighting us and falling), a punishment, or some sort of yelling. Never a good outcome. One of these days, like everything else, hopefully he'll figure it out.