Tuesday, September 2, 2008

And Then There Was Safety Town

*I though that this should be posted before my Kindergarten post. And then there was Safety Town. This whole crazy story actually begins decades ago when the little girl my mom watched over the summer got to go to Safety Town. I was going into first grade but my little friend was going into Kindergarten so she got to go to the brand new magical world of Safety Town. There was a little town just my size, there were big wheels for everyone, there were play fire fighter helmets, and friends, and snacks and WOW! I was only able to see snippets at drop off and pick up but it looked like kid heaven to me. And I wasn't allowed to go. This magical camp was offered for the first time that summer so I had missed my chance by a year. I felt like I had been rooked. Fast forward 16 years and my first preschoolers were racing in to tell me all about wonderful Safety Town. The little town, the big wheels, the new songs, the go, go, go! It was so much fun to see the shine of excitement in their eyes. Fast forward another, aw, who cares A LONG TIME, and I have before me a little boy who I will do almost anything to provide the opportunity to enjoy life. I had a decision to make. He can go to Safety Town. He can be a part of that fun pre-Kindergarten excitement. But I didn't sign him up. Like everything else, it was going to be a bit of leg work and at the end of the school year I didn't feel I had it in me. So I put it off. Then we had Summer Camp. The best experience Ben could have asked for and I decided that we, meaning he, was ready to give it a try. So I bit the bullet and signed him up. A lot of stress (on my part) was put to rest in one conversation with a kind woman who spent all sorts of time making sure I knew that they were all set for Ben. First day was pretty good. Drop off was a bit overwhelming but smooth and at pick up he looked a bit dazed but said that he had had fun. The second day I had to pick him up after he cried so hard that he vomited. That was the beginning of the end. Every moment he spent in my presence after that he waged full out emotion warfare. "Mama, I'm too tired", "Mama, it's too hot", "Mama, I'm hungry"(that's when I realized that we were at war), "Mama, Don't leave me." "Mama, Don't make me go", "Mama, Safety Town is not the place for me" I had backed myself into a corner. We were going to start Kindergarten in a couple of weeks. I couldn't just let him cry and vomit so he didn't have to go to Kindergarten. But for goodness sake! He was acting like I had tossed him out in the snow and shut the door. So I spent a some time at Safety Town and reassured myself that everyone was doing things "right" which they were so we kept going. He was enjoying himself there, just giving me all sorts of grief when he was home. Guess what? His did it. Made it through to the end (it was only 5 days, only ha!). Made it through to the graduation. Walked up on stage, sang every song, did every dance, said every line and smiled, laughed and never once cried at any of the clapping. Best of all he walked up, all by himself, to get his diploma. Everyone clapped. The teachers, all of the volunteers, other parents who know us and even parents who don't know us but knew that he had had a hard time in the beginning. His teacher actually cried at how far he came in a week and how brave he had been.

So he made it through smiling and laughing, got in the car, looked at me and said "I don't want to go to Kindergarten!" What did I say about the beginning of the end? Crap!

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