Thursday 27th APRIL 2017
Today I was served a sledgehammer to the heart: Miss Sophia, Kingsley’s school principal gave me the news no parent wants to hear. That our son does not concentrate at tasks, disrupts projects (and indeed Miss Ioānna’s lessons), does not listen, has no boundaries and uses his body like a bulldozer taking kids along with him on any direction he chooses to go.
My face must have fallen to her office tiles; the impact of his presence is felt by everybody at preschool she went on. Kingsley’s personality, physicality, intelligence and sheer strength are such a combined force that he is a pleasure to have at school…and also a difficulty.
At this point Miss Sophia collected herself as I collected my wits. Is this too much to bear Aliki, she asked. But not waiting for an answer went on with ‘I won’t sugar coat this news.’ Agreeing with her regarding wanting the information in plain terms, she asked about our routines at home. I told her the TV is turned on the instant we wake and is turned on the moment Kingsley returns from school. We don’t much ‘do’ things together other than me feeding him while he watches telly or jumps around.
All this has to stop Aliki she declared without missing a breath. Television has been proven to regress preschooler learning. Turn IT OFF. Let me tell you what happens in our household: TV is turned on for hslf an hour each Saturday while we drink our milk and coffee. That is it.
His endearing attributes are many, she later offered (possibly because my face was bordering on tears). He is warm, sweet, loving and kind. His intelligence cannot be questioned – two languages and with extensive vernacular in Greek which for all intents and purposes he began three weeks ago. Its now time to instill much needed discipline sobtgst he gets to know boundaries.
With so much (guilt) eating me up I decide to walk for miles, and miles, in fact I walked home with a heavy heart and beating myself up. Recalling what Miss Sophia repeated a number of times ‘Kingsley’s behaviour is a function of his home life. If you’re not instilling discipline and routine then how is he expected to know what to do at school.’ First thing to do is UNPLUG THE TV. Next is to engage him in fun learning activities with a start-a middle-and an ending. Third is to begin a discipline of sorts with rewards for good (listening) behaviour and consequences for nit listening. Fourth: explose Kingsley to as much playground activities with other kids as possible; every weekend. Fifth (and most controversially for me) enrol Kingsley into a preschool when we return to Dubai.
So its through the village of Anāvissos that I drag my heels and then along the craggy coast for a dip in the Saronic Gulf waters thinking that my first endeavour to engage Kingsley without the crutch of a telly will be today at 3:30pm. Of course I’ll do it; the little man deserves all the help i can give.