Tag Archives: Preschool education

Parenthood is Full of Surprises

31 May

I’ve been to a few of these, including five of my own. All with mixed emotions of hurray and what-the-hell-is-waiting-for-me-now? But I’d never been to one as a parent.

It freaks you out. You completely change into a dress-wearing person. Something that my Chapstick type of personality isn’t too comfortable with, but you go with it. And then aside from transforming your wardrobe, your attitude also begins changing. You notice certain feelings taking over you as you see the school program with your kids name on it.

You really don’t want to turn into that crazed photo mom whose big head comes out in everyone’s picture. You really don’t want to be the kind of annoying person you write about. So you restrain yourself. You check your crazy at the door. After all it’s preschool. Get a grip. Coloring, cutting on the dotted line, and Llama, Llama Red Pajama. Nevertheless I found myself calling this a milestone moment in his mini life, sort of like walking and getting potty trained. In parent world this is big.

So I struggled with my crazy. I never had to do that before, usually I let my freak flag fly. But this was no freak flag, this was annoying crazy parent flag and you need to check that quick. You don’t want to regret anything later that day. You know yourself. So I sat there with mixed feelings about the whole thing. I mean I don’t know what the other Children of the Corn photo crazed parents were feeling at the time, probably no shame seeing how most of their heads with bad hair and ginormous cameras showed up in many of my shots. But all I know was that in the end I was proud to have not gone over the crazy parent cliff.

I was also surprised that I had become sappy. Not balling out soap-opera crying sappy, or the beautiful teary-eyed single drop creeping out of the corner sappy. Just the internal, pensive kind, with emotions swirling about which started when I saw him walk down the aisle in his miniature cap and gown. I thought Holy Crap! He’s going to be strolling down the aisle in another cap and gown in 2025 and then I’ll probably be a real sap. Dude it was like last week when I was cursing up a storm dropping the F-Bomb every five minutes during labor down at Catholic hospital down the street. Just last week, I thought.

But then he smiled at me and it was all good. I was still a little sappy, but I put it in perspective. I’d been mindfully present in the moments that mattered … the sand castle building, the Lego constructing, the pizza making, the stay-at-home movie night going, the family game night doing, the bike riding adventuring, the museum experiencing, the zoo exploring, the superhero pretending, and the night-time story reading. I’d been present the whole time.

Exhausted? Yes. In need of wine and chocolate during the quiet of the night. Definitely.

But also present, and not just going through the motions. There, I was there and enjoying it. So I decided to start mindfully enjoying the graduation, and stop thinking about the future, stop thinking sappy, and stop thinking about the crazy parents surrounding me.

Once I stopped, it ended up being a good day.

 

Walking towards the future ... and me behind him trying to catch up.

Walking towards the future … and me behind him trying to catch up.

 

The program that got me thinking.

The program that got me thinking all sappy.

 

The clear shot I tried to take of my son and his graduating class, but no luck with everyone else's camera never getting out of the shot. I didn't understand why they kept taking pictures constantly ... they were in the front row.

The clear shot I tried to take of my son and his graduating class, but no luck with everyone else’s camera in the way. I didn’t understand why they kept taking pictures constantly … they were in the front row. Front. All they needed to do was take one picture. I mean all I needed was one. No luck. I had better luck outside by the fountain.

 

I saw this outside while we were taking pictures and thought dude I should totally capture this. A minute later my one year old decided to explore it, and ended up breaking the fake rock. She broke it in front of a few other spectators, so all we could do was hide our holy-crap moment, pick up the pieces and walk away.

While we were enjoying the ability to take pictures without interference, I noticed this rock and thought dude I should totally capture this. What a great sign. A minute later my one year old decided to notice it too. She ended up breaking the fake rock in front of a few other spectators. So all we could do was hide our holy-crap moment, pick up the pieces of hope, and try to walk away unnoticed.

 

While trying to escape the scolding eyes of witnesses, my son decided he needed a cold beverage. I assured him we had plenty of juice boxes in the car and we needed to leave the cookie and punch reception before his sister got a hold of another decorative memento.

While trying to escape the scolding eyes of witnesses, my son decided he needed a cold beverage. I assured him we had plenty of juice boxes in the car and we needed to leave the cookie and punch reception before his sister got a hold of another decorative memento.

Parents Gone Camera Wild.

20 Dec

Message to all parents attending a Preschool Kindergarten Holiday Program …

You look like nice people. You look like you would turn your blinker on if you made a right turn. You look like normal people. Like professionals. Like you do something really important at work or at home — something that requires smarts and common sense. But in a minute when your kids come walking down the hall … all of that is going to disappear. You’re going to become parents.

True. Very true.

 

The cameras and video recorders come out.

The cameras and video recorders come out.

 

So just let me remind you of some common courtesy tips that you may forget in the process of this Preschool Christmas Program.

It’s preschool. Preschool. Some kids may sing, some may not, some may sing the right words, some may forget the words, some may have stage fright, some may pick their nose, some may yawn in boredom, some may pick up their dresses and put them over their heads, and some may just twirl around. It happens, it’s preschool. Don’t get upset. Don’t turn into one of those crazy obsessed TLC pageant moms. It’s preschool. Remember that.

But also try to remember that many of you brought cameras to cherish these oh-so-special moments, so keep in mind that the person sitting behind you may not want the back of your head and shoulders in the picture. As soon as you see your kid pass by, snap the picture, smile, wave, and sit down. He’s not gonna keep looking at you. He needs to watch where he’s going, so he doesn’t trip and fall. He’s going to look straight ahead.

 

We Wish You A Merry Christmas rocking the house.

We Wish You A Merry Christmas rocking the house.

 

Let him concentrate and sing Jingle Bells on his own. If he doesn’t know the song don’t worry about it. I’m sure he claps to the beat very well.

Once the program is finished, try not to rush the stage. Pretend like you’ve been to a sporting event or concert and let the person in the row in front of you go first. It’s game crowd protocol. Honestly, rushing to beat someone to the parking lot doesn’t make sense. Besides it’s Christmas! Enjoy the decorations.

 

The hanging wreaths

The hanging wreaths

 

The outdoor decorations.

The outdoor decorations.

 

The Christmas tree and the ornaments.

The Christmas tree and the ornaments.

 

Most people don’t follow these rules, which is why you hear of parents gone wild during the Christmas Pageant.  Listen to the professional in you — the one that wears dry clean only clothing, the one who’s been a victim to an awesome picture gone wrong because of the back of someone’s bald head and their wife’s split ends, the one who’s trying to stop the crazy parent cycle from repeating itself. Listen people, your holidays at school pageants will be much better.

The Preschool Mission and Lunch Boxes

7 Sep

I was so hoping he wouldn’t break down. This was my mission.

The assignment? Preschool.

After a lengthy sabbatical, my four-year old son returned to preschool. However this time we had to find a new school, something closer and more affordable. We looked at a couple of schools, but as always our first choice hasn’t called us back. Apparently they’re too busy to let us know that they have no space, or that they got our message, or that their classes are full.

What’s that about?

Apparently, after speaking to a friend of mine, moms need to contact preschools about six months in advance. Sometimes even more.

Are you kidding me?

I couldn’t believe it, but it appeared to be true. It’s insanity. It’s preschool people, preschool. Coloring, painting, ABCs, days of the week, music, shapes, puzzles, trains, and the concept of sharing. Why is it that people get all crazy over it? Why is it that I need to sign my kid up six months or a year before?

Because moms are crazy. Some of them want their kids reading Harry Potter and working on Excel Spreadsheets by the time they’re in first grade. These crazy moms scare everyone into signing up early, for fear of being “left behind.” So the lists get crowded, and it leaves normal people like myself who shop for schools during the summer with few choices.

But even though my choices were limited I finally found a school that provided a good curriculum and nice teachers. Teachers that gave me a good vibe. When you’re a mom you definitely have to listen to your vibes — a.k.a. your intuition. So after taking the tour, checking out the classroom, and meeting the teachers, I felt better about my mission and so did my son.

My four-year old son’s art work

He had his first day of preschool this week. I was both happy and worried, but it turned out well. No crying on his part, so there was no anxiety on mine. This made the entire process much easier. Although I think the wallet helped. We created a wallet for him that contained our pictures. So if he were to miss us, he could just take out his wallet and check out the pictures. This, I hoped, would make him feel better. He’d have us close to him and wouldn’t be scared.

And he wasn’t. He survived … actually he thrived. I was happy about that.

However I did have one concern. We had bought him a Lighting McQueen lunch box and water bottle for his preschool adventure. However he decided to take the bright green mini lunch cooler with him. So when we arrived I saw rows of Lighting McQueen, Thomas the Train, Dora The Explorer, and Elmo lunch pails. And then there was my son with the mini cooler from Target.

His Lightning McQueen lunch pail

I  thought he’d feel bad or that a kid would tease him, but he took that mini cooler and owned it. He strolled in there with confidence and set his mini cooler down next to the array of cartoons characters. He was the proud owner. When I asked him if he wanted to switch to his other lunch pail he declined.

“I like the green one. It’s mine. It has a pocket for my wallet.”

This is the one he took.