by Heather Green
As you can tell by the title, I intended to write about “A Day in the Life of C.L.E.W.S” but I couldn’t decide which perspective to use. Should I write from the perspective of the teacher? God bless them for working with multiple three -year-olds when some days I have all I can do to handle one. Or should I write from the perspective of one of the students? Have you ever tried to interview a three-year-old? Or should I write from the perspective of a parent? After all, I am a mother of a child in the ‘Just 3’ class. As I pondered which direction to take, I realized there was a bigger picture – my daughter is in preschool.
My daughter is in preschool. When did that happen? How did that happen? What happened to my tiny baby? The past three years have been a whirlwind. I will never forget the emotions of my daughter’s first month, which she spent in NICU – the nervousness of holding a three pound baby for the first time – the uncertainties of the apnea monitor and mandatory CPR training – the frustration of learning to side-feed your baby because preemies cannot eat like a “normal” baby – the fear when the doctors explained all the potential complications, follow-up visits, tests, and monitoring your baby would need for the next two years. I felt some of these same emotions on my daughter’s first day of C.L.E.W.S. and just now, as I was thinking about the enormity of this experience – my daughter is a “normal” child.
My daughter is a “normal” (if not precocious) child. Her pediatrician has told me more than once that she is a “true miracle”. I am not sure why I was blessed with such a miracle, but I am truly thankful to God. For some reason, He chose me to be her mother. Maybe I am feeling especially sentimental and grateful because of the time of year (it is the middle of December), but whatever the reason, I am in awe of my “normal” child.
But what is “normal”? A teacher would probably tell you about behavior, a test score, or grades. A child may tell you that normal is related to appearance. A parent, especially a mother of a preemie, will probably tell you it is related to growth, heart rate, temperature, and feeding schedules. All of these answers are correct, but they are all influenced by perspective. This is why I was having such a difficult time trying to write about “A Day in the Life of C.L.E.W.S ‘Just 3’ Class” – each teacher, student, and parent involved in C.L.E.W.S. will have a different experience because each person has a different perspective.
There are “normal” routines each day. The children come in, hang-up their coats in their designated space, wash their hands, and start activities in the classroom. They have learned to use magnifying glasses, develop their fine motor skills with art projects that now adorn a wall in my kitchen, listen to stories, develop their gross motor skills with obstacle courses that the teachers lovingly set up, and they sing songs. Mrs. Bareither is wonderful about telling the parents what activities the children did that day and if we arrive early enough for pick-up, the parents are invited in to help sing the “Good-bye Friends” song or listen to a story that was read that day. However, when I ask my daughter what she did in school, she always says, “See friends.”
As an only child, she loves spending time with other kids her age. In her perspective, this is the most important part of C.L.E.W.S. As the mother of an only child, I realize she is learning to take turns and share (some days are better than others). In my perspective, this is the most important part of C.L.E.W.S. But, even my perspective is influenced because I am a mother. There should be no doubt that the absolute most important element of C.L.E.W.S. is learning about God, our Savior, Jesus Christ, and Christian values.
I think it is sometimes so easy to be caught up in the details and chaos of living that we don’t always recognize or appreciate our blessings. Again, maybe I am overly sentimental because of the holiday season, but the New Year is just a few weeks away, and with it resolutions. I have decided that this year I am going to resolve to focus on my blessings instead of what I want to change – “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” (Wayne Dyer). After all, it’s just a matter of perspective.