• 52°

Choices bring unintended consequences

My 2-year old daughter got an early start on résumé-building when she got kicked out of her Montessori preschool last fall for — I kid you not — being too playful.

In our apartment, that’s a badge of honor she’ll wear proudly.

We had chosen this particular preschool after moving from Williamsburg to the South Hampton Roads area because we made the poor assumption that Montessori preschool programs were mostly alike from one place to another.

We learned the hard way that they are not.

Our active and engaging toddler had turned into a rebel at her new preschool, eschewing circle time for the book corner, and being told she couldn’t play with certain things in the classroom, even though they were in easy access of a toddler’s reach.

That’s when she learned the meaning of the word, “no,” which my daughter demonstrably still says while pointing. She heard that a lot at her Montessori school. We had three conferences with her teacher and the preschool’s director before they gave up.

She got kicked out in December just before winter break, so my wife and I had a two-week scramble to find an open, affordable spot at a preschool or daycare.

At least they refunded our money.

Like the last time, we got recommendations from friends on places they liked, and we had started a list anticipating that we would withdraw her in June before the decision was made for us.

Fortunately, we found a daycare that would take her, but it’s a half-hour of city traffic away from our apartment, and to say it’s a little chaotic in her class at times is an understatement.

They tell us she’s doing well except for sharing — what 2-year old shares? — but we still worry, as we have every other time we’ve entrusted someone else with her care, whether we’ve made the best decision on her behalf.

It’s hard to tell some days if she’s happy in her new place.

We have this game we play in the car in which I ask her if she’s ready for school, and she’ll say “Ready.” When she was at her Montessori school last fall, she went silent in response to the question after the first week.

That should have been my first clue that she wasn’t happy there.

I ask her now and she says “Ready,” but when I bring her to her class, while she’ll walk on her own to get in the class, she clings to me once she’s inside and we’ve hung up her jacket.

Try freeing yourself from a toddler’s grasp. If you do, and can survive the crying without your own emotional meltdown, you’re a better person than I.

Are we doing the best thing for her?

We’ve asked ourselves this question five times now — each time we’ve had her in a different daycare or preschool.

The best answer is that we don’t know. Our friends and even our pediatrician say that children can adapt well to different situations.

Children are resilient, right?

Of course, I could have helped the adapting process a little if I had only remembered to bring the handmade Valentine’s Day cards for her class to school.

(Remind me, I have some groveling to do with my wife — and I’m also on the hook for next year’s Valentine’s Day cards — wherever my daughter’s next preschool happens to be.)

At least my daughter has a good start to her résumé, though.