It was the Fall of 2010. My firstborn child Ian excitedly set foot inside his preschool classroom. Ian was excited for snack-time (as always) and looking forward to the comfort of his cousin Lucy in class with him.
As a baby, Ian was social and goofy, but as he developed into a toddler, his demeanor gradually shifted to timid and introverted. I was quietly nervous for him, but as we approached the building and entered, I was all smiles and excitement, hoping to encourage him.
As we stood in line, his spirits dropped. Other kids were bouncing off the walls, talking, excited… and Ian just absorbed and watched. As we approached check-in, we were told to look on the wall chart, find his name on a small laminated apple, and move the apple to the top of the chart to show he had checked in. The kids were expected to move the apple by themselves, which would help them learn to recognize their name eventually.
Ian didn’t budge. I did my best to encourage him, but there would be no moving the apple by his will that day. I gladly moved the apple so he could attend class, and we sat down in the circle. He proceeded to have a wonderful time, and got to tell Daddy and Ana all about his day when he got home.
The next day would be the first day to drop kids off to attend class on their own. Seems pretty simple: walk in door, move apple in pocket, mommy signs kid in, and *poof* its class-time, and mommy can go drink coffee.
Instead, here’s what commenced (oh and to preface what’s ahead, Aaron and I were learning a parenting technique called “Love & Logic” at the time. We were very much beginners, especially me):
“Ian, its time to move the apple.”
“Here, can I show you where your name is?”
“How about I put it in your hand?”
“Ok let’s have a chat…” (as I proceeded to attempt hugs, bribes, and anything else under the sun)
“Ok you have a decision. Either you move your apple, or we’ll just have to go home.” (wait, did I just say that?!?!?!)
“I wanna go home.”
“Eh… hem. Uh… okay. Sorry teacher, we’ll be back tomorrow.”
First rule of “Love and Logic Parenting” by the way, is to give two choices YOU CAN HANDLE. What can I say, I was just learning the method!!
No need to go into the gory details, but I continued to spend the rest of the school year battling this apple-in-the-pocket thorn in our side. Thank the Lord we had teachers who had the patience to deal with our shy boy with stubborn undertones. His performance and behavior in class steadily improved. Ian continued into his second year of preschool int he Fall of 2011, and made amazing improvements on so many levels.
Yet, the Battle of the Apple remained. Until last Friday.
The morning started out like any other morning: Ian said hi to Daddy in our cafe, he had some cheese, and told Daddy he would move the apple if no one looked at him, and if no one made a big deal out of it. I walked him up to the chart. At first, he refused. I simply said, “Oh buddy, I really need to get going. I’m turning around now, no one is watching, please take care of it.”
Within no time at all, I felt a gentle tap on my leg, turned around, and I almost had a heart attack. IAN MOVED HIS APPLE. I wanted to jump and scream and kiss him all over, but instead I casually kissed his forehead, gave him a squeeze, and sat him down with his classmates. End of story.
I love my boy, and all his quirks. But the Apple Battle is OVER and I mark Friday, February 24th, 2012 the most glorious day in history.