Five friends and I recently started a Mother Goose co-op preschool with our 2 and 3-year-olds. We thought we knew what we were getting into. I mean, we’d gotten the kids together for play dates 2 or 3 at a time and let them run wild. So we thought, “Throw in 2 or 4 more kids and try to make the experience educational in nature with only one supervising adult. Sure. No Problem.”
I’ve done this kind of thing before with Laylee when she was almost 4. There were 3 girls and 1 boy in the group, all mature for their age and all ready to learn. Shortly into the school year they were completing worksheets and writing their own names, however illegibly. With this new group of kids, we’re lucky if they can recognize their own names written on their seat mats. It’s obvious that they’re at a different place in their maturity, motor skills, attention spans, potty-bility, listening skills, self-clothing prowess, boogey-wiping/nose-picking restraint, intellect, verbal skills, and all-round readiness for anything but being really cute on a one-by-one basis.
Besides the cuteness, they have one other special skill. They are really good at brawling, fisticuffs, throwing down, the school-yard shuffle. In my previous preschool experience, when one kid was feeling fractious or mildly violent, the other kids would simply steer clear and if they found themselves suddenly shoved, whacked upside the head, or at the other end of a flying hammer, they would cry, tattle, and whine but never take the law into their own fisted hands.
Magoo’s little gang of thuglets are different. If one of the kids happens to be in the mood for a rumble and attacks another little angel, the second little angel will take Bob Marley’s advice and stand up for his rights. He will do this by throwing elbows, administering headlocks, and plain old-fashioned cat fighting. It is amazing.
Watching them, I find myself asking 3 questions:
- How did they learn to fight so well?
- What will the body count be by the end of the school year?
- Could I possibly find a way to make money playing the odds ringside at one of their fight events?
Of course for number 3 to happen, I’d have to invite gambling spectators out to the house with the promise that toddler hand-to-hand combat is nothing short of brutally fascinating.
Then of course there are the anomalies like today where no one would get their money’s worth. The kids were freakishly and inexplicably well-behaved. They shared, they said sorry, and although they’re somewhat less than academically advanced, they remained engaged and attentive for periods of sometimes as long as 4 minutes. I suppose I should consider this a success but I really could have used the money from an underground preschool fight club gambling ring.