Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pre-school

I have three distinct memories from pre-school:

  1. Watching a movie about train safety
  2. Skipping a field trip
  3. Panicking over the fact that I was in the nap time area and I was not supposed to be there for nap time

The first memory is pretty self-explanatory. We were shown a movie telling us to stay away from train tracks because trains are bigger than pre-schoolers. In a fight between a train and one or more pre-schoolers, the train will always win.

Pre-school

The second memory involves a field trip to a park. I was terrified of being lost as a child. In my mind if I wasn’t on top of my game, monitoring my surroundings and those who were allegedly watching me, then I would be left behind and lost for all time. I would be forced to become a wild nature girl, relying solely on my animal-like instincts to survive among the bears and other forest creatures.

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I can remember when I was six my family was stopped at a rest stop on our move from Utah to Washington. When we were walking around I kept my brothers in sight at all times as to not misplace them and lose them to the forest.

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So anyway, in pre-school my class was talking a trip to a park. Of course I wanted no part in this. So, my mom told me I didn’t have to go. When I delivered this message to the teacher, it did not sit as well with her as it did with me. She did not have a backup plan for students who did not want to be a part of her activities. The teacher sternly told me to sit in a chair until I was picked up. For some reason, there was a single chair in the front of the play area facing the door – maybe she had actually come up with a backup plan, and this was it.

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I sat there until they left.

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Then I started exploring. She had conveniently turned all the lights out so my adventure was lit only by the sunlight streaming in through the front windows. At first I stayed near the chair. That was my safe zone. People would know to look for me there. I played with toys on the shelves behind the chair, keeping the chair in view.

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But as my courage grew, so did my radius from the safety zone. Soon I was wandering the hallways observing the other classes that weren’t forced to choose between a trip to the park that would lead to a lifetime of forest dwelling, and a day of solitude and shame with only a chair to call friend.

I watched the kids eating their snacks and they all stared at me wondering why there was a strange little girl salivating at the end of the hall. Their teacher didn’t offer me any tasty treats.

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With hunger setting in, and the overwhelming fear of being captured and lost in a group of kids where nobody would know to look for me dominating my thoughts, I headed back to the chair. I sat staring at the door, not sure what I was waiting for but knew something would happen. Luckily my mom appeared and took me away from the dark, lonely, shame-filled adventure.

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Much like my second memory, my third memory largely revolves around fear. I stayed at pre-school until nap time – that’s when my mom would come to pick me up. I knew where nap time area was and what nap time mats looked like. I also knew that I didn’t want any part of it. If I was there for nap time, it could only mean one thing – I had been lost and forgotten for all time. So, when the teacher led us to the nap area I began to panic. I’m pretty sure we were going to watch a movie, but it felt like a trick to me. I made sure my teacher was well aware of the fact that “I’m not supposed to be here” and that I had to leave.

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Clearly pre-school was a terrifying part of my childhood.

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