Mr. C was in a part time pre-school class last year. Two days a week, two hours a day. For most of the year, he seemed to spend as much time as possible with one of the girls in the class. Just to be consistent, I’ll just call her “M”.
All year long he would come home from pre-school and talk about Miss M. What they did, what toys they played with, what games or puzzles they liked. At random times, he would ask our opinion of what Miss M might like to do outside of pre-school. Do you think she likes candy, Dada ? How about pancakes, do you think she likes pancakes ?
As part of the parent pick up routine, the kids in the class would gather around on the lawn in front of the school and wait as each parent’s car pulled around to gather them up and buckle them into their car seats, with the help of one or the other of the two pre-school teachers. Just about every time I picked him up, Miss M made sure to give C a hug and a ‘See you next class!’.
That was last year.
A month or so after he started this year’s pre-school class I noticed that he was not spending very much time with Miss M. He was spending most of his time with a new student in class. Miss N.
Miss N likes candy. Did you know that Dada ? And pancakes!
Then I noticed that at pick up time he was getting a big hug and a ‘See you next class!’ from Miss N, but nothing from Miss M.
During pick up, M sits on the lawn, all alone.
I started to feel bad for poor little Miss M. What happened ?
‘Do you play with M anymore ?’, I asked him. ‘Oh, Sometimes’ he would say. It’s a good idea to have more than one friend at a time, I’d tell him.
Earlier this month, he received an invitation for Miss M’s birthday party. I was still under the naive impression that a party for four and five year old kids would include all of the kids in the pre-school class. A huge party of twenty of so kids running around. I was still not familiar with the intricacies of four year old boy – girl interactions. I still thought they were all just about the same, perfectly happy to have their other classmates at their party, no matter who it was. Of course I was wrong.
As the day for the party came closer and closer, I started to notice him play with Miss M quite a bit more than he had been in the past month or so, and he would talk about her a bit more often as well. No hugs, but they were playing.
Ms J. asked me if I thought Miss N would be going to the party, or maybe M is now too jealous and would not want her to go ?
Why would a four year old be jealous I thought, but maybe Mr. C can just ask ? I said.
Oh no! You can never ask if someone is invited to a party.
Well, I know that, but they’re four years old, aren’t they all invited to the party ?
Mr. C did end up asking. He said that Miss M told him that she had no idea who her Mom might have invited.
Ms J, always wise to this sort of thing interpreted this to mean; “I can not imagine why I would want to invite HER to MY party!”
Well the day of the party finally arrived, C and I go, and a large portion of the class was there but No, Miss N was not there.
When it came time to open gifts, Mr. C gave his gift to Miss M, who gave him a big hug.
On the way home from the party Mr. C told me all about how he liked playing with all the kids at the party, especially someone from his pre-school class. Who I guess I’ll call Miss O.