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The Politics of Yard Jumping

The Politics of Yard Jumping

Mini is about to switch yards. This is about as big as shit gets for a three year old.

The yards at Mini’s educational institution are arranged as such: the two classrooms situated closest to the previously discussed gate house the “twos.” One room is for those kids with second birthdays closest to the beginning of the school year, and the other for those with second-and-a-half birthdays at the beginning of the school year. Both are named after small and cuddly land mammals. I would imagine this is a practice replicated in many preschools throughout North America, but rather than tempt fate I will simply let you know that Mini’s birthday could have landed him in either class but he was put in with the smaller of the two animals and, as it happens, the only one that is found native to countries north of the equator.

He has enjoyed his time in that classroom, but at the end of the month, it will come time to move into the Big Boy Yard. This yard is further along the trajectory of the school’s geography, where they name the classrooms after aquatic-dwelling mammals. We found out today that Mini will be placed in the classroom named after the less-intelligent of the two medium sized sea mammals which were possible namesakes for his homeroom. For me, this was merely a momentary setback, as I quickly identified several names on the list of his classmates that I had hoped to see included, and was happy to see others had been excluded that I was sure I wouldn’t miss.

But all of this is nothing compared to what Mini has told me about what it means to move to the Big Boy Yard.

Because they have been taking the kids over a few times a week to try out the new yard, with the big kids, to see what it’s like. And Mini has apparently been making his own set of assumptions based on his time over at the new yard. And one of those things has to do with whether or not he will be bring his lovey, “Buzz,” with him to the Big Boy Yard and the new class.

“Mommy, the boys in the big boy yard, they don’t have Buzz,” Mini told me the other day in the car.
“What do you mean? They don’t bring a lovey to school, like you bring Buzz?”
“Yeah, no Buzz.”
“How do you know, buddy?”
“”Acause I go to that yard, and they, only girls. Only girls have them.”
“Only the girls bring loveys to school?”
“Yeah. Only girls bring Buzzies.”
“Oh. Well, do you mean you don’t want to bring Buzz anymore?”
“No, I bring Buzz. ‘Acause I bring Buzz.”
“I think you can bring Buzz whenever you want, Buddy.”
“Yeah, ‘acause, I go to my yard. I don’t go to the Big Boy Yard.”
“Well, even if you go to the Big Boy Yard, you can still bring Buzz.”
“I go to my yard.”
“OK.”

Now, I’m no parenting expert, but my preliminary assessment of the situation suggested that this was Mini’s anxiety speaking. But just to be sure, I checked with Mini’s teachers, and sure enough, this was something he had decided on his own, I guess based on the fact that he had not seen any Big Boys walking around the Big Boy Yard carrying a lovey. Not that he carries Buzz around His Yard, either, but it’s clear that he had seen a few of the Big Girls openly carrying a lovey, whereas the Big Boys had been more quiet about the use of their loveys, at least while he was around. And from this, Mini had discerned that loveys weren’t something that Big Boys brought to the Big Boy Yard.

As usual, there’s a little bit of ambivalence mixed in with the excitement of the new step. On the one hand, Mini likes the new yard because he can ride his bike way faster on the hills over there, and there is a whole new climbing structure to explore. On the other hand, he has spent the past ten months making this yard his own. I think right now the indecision is being played out on the body of Buzz. I’m a little impatient and nervous to see what happens, to be honest.

Comments (12)

  1. Jul 23, 2010

    Poor Mini. Change is hard no matter how old you are.

  2. Jul 23, 2010

    He sounds totally….normal. I love your Mini updates.

    Kids start to self-identify based on external possessions and that lasts awhile (for some of us, forever.)

    A boy at Eva’s school played with My Little Ponies in kindergarten and these kids are going into 3rd & 4th grade now and they still say, “Oh, yeah, that’s the kid who liked My Little Pony.”

    Is “Buzz” a bee? Buzz Lightyear?

  3. Jul 23, 2010

    Buzz is actually a stuffed toy that looks to be a butterfly thing, but I think he thought it was a bee when he was younger, so he named it Buzz.

  4. Jul 23, 2010

    That’s for sure.

  5. Jul 23, 2010

    I still sleep with my blankie.

    I don’t know if that will make you feel better or worse.

  6. snarkoleptic
    Jul 23, 2010

    Little Snark brought her lovie to school every single day of pre-K and brought him out at every single show and tell, no matter the theme. The kids just took it for granted. And I seem to recall a little boy in her class who also had a stuffed animal he brought to school every day. So normal. I wonder how my life would have been different if I had been able to attach to a security blanket/object as a kid… 😉

  7. Jul 23, 2010

    I tried to sneak back into the building during a fire drill in Kindergarten because I NEEDED to get Ellie (my stuffed alligator) out of the cubby. To rescue him, you know, from the pretend flames.

  8. Jul 23, 2010

    Mini is so wonderfully self aware. Don’t you just love that about him? So precious. He already knows that Big Boys are overrated.

  9. Jul 23, 2010

    I imagine there are many women heading to BlogHer next month who yearn to bring their own Buzzes with them.

  10. Chi
    Jul 23, 2010

    My kid brought two green pancake bears with him to the daycare everyday until he finished pre-K. I was worried he would be teased but it didn’t happen. Definitely these two bears made my kid to feel safe especially during the transitions: from toddlers to the twos, from the twos to the pre-school, etc.

  11. Yes, what Patois said. Although, I think a glass of pinot noir would suffice. Maybe, I ‘ll leave my Buzz home after all.

    In June, my son moved up a class – from the Mother’s Day Out program to the actual Pre-K program. We have seen a similar mix of excitement, pride and anxiety.

  12. Jul 25, 2010

    Elizabeth starts pre-school this year and she is full on excited about it so far but we’ve had a similar conversation. She has a puppy that’s a blanket too (it’s an odd thing) and it’s her lifeline. When i went back to work last year for a short time, she went to a daycare that tried to phase out her “puppy”. They said it was a “public health hazard” for kids to bring things like that to daycare. I was fairly livid and that is one of the many reasons I decided to not work at the time.

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