What I’m Learning In Preschool

SJP and son, kids, parenting, mom
Out of the house on time for school? I Don’t Know How She Does It!

Well, the year has started. No, not 2013, but if you’re a parent, the year begins in September and ends in June. This year, I have two kids in two different schools, which is a challenge in terms of driving/being on time and a constant reminder that my kids are getting older (sniff, sniff, tear)!

My daughter’s school is like an old comfy pair of slippers for me. I’m a 4 year vet at the place and have spent so much time in that building that my peers mistake me for faculty. I’m not. But I love the school and feel like I really know the ins and outs.

My son’s school is another story. I’m the new kid on the block because he’s the new kid on the block and we’re in for the long haul…all the way thru 8th grade. Considering he’s only 4, we’re going to be there forever.

So as I begin navigating my way through what will be my second home for the next 10 years, I can’t help to feel a little like I’m going through the system once again.

All the old fears are back: I’m nervous about homework, scared of teachers, worried about not following the rules, and crossing my fingers that the other kids mommies will like me.

And the “What If’s” are constant:

What if I forget to pack a “show” for “show and tell”?

What if I show up to pick up my kid too early, or take a more experienced parent’s favorite parking spot in the lot?

What if I send the wrong snack for my son’s birthday?

What if I forget to check my son’s backpack one day and there’s a note about how to get him into college and he fails everything and has to spend the rest of his life delivering pizzas and living in my basement?

There are so many ways to F it all up and, as you can probably tell, my mind drifts off to the different ways in which to do so.

And along with being the NKOTB (oh, oh, oh, oh, oh), I’m also having a major epiphany about why I was forced to study some subjects that I hated. For instance, science and I have never been friends. The only chemical reaction that I’ve ever cared about is the one I get from my husband when he sees my credit card bills. But being a new mommy in a new school, I’ve been able to apply almost every school subject to my life, so here goes…

  • Math: If I live approximately 4.8 miles away from school (yep, I GPS’ed the distance) and have to drop my son off at School A by 8:15am and my daughter at 9am at School B, what time, in Chicago traffic, do I have to leave the house? Oh yeah, there are the constants, but there are also tons of variables including construction on almost every street in Chicago; the jerk driving 5 miles/hr on Ashland all the way from Division to Addison because he’s texting; my kids yelling/singing/firing off questions from the backseat while I try to concentrate on the rules of the road; the odds of finding a parking space in the school’s lot or on a nearby street; and the median time it takes for my kids to walk from the house to the garage, while stopping to argue about who gets to open and shut every door, and get in their car seats. The answer = plus or minus 30 minutes. I could not have figured that out on paper and I got an A in calculus in college. My current life must be based on “new math”.
  • Science: Try this experiment. Take two kids who sleep late and add a school day that begins almost an hour earlier than we usually get up. Then combine that with kids who can’t go downstairs for breakfast in their school clothes because they consistently spill everything they eat. The end result? A disheveled mom who just might not be *viable because she’s constantly exhausted and is made to shower before the sun comes up if she wants to do so at all during the week. *The scientific definition of viability is the ability to survive adulthood. Can’t believe how appropriate my science classes seem right now.
  • History: “Did you know that last year at school the parents had to…”? “And before we did it like this, we used to…, but now we can only do it like…” “But next year, we might change it again. It’s all online and in the materials we sent you. Just read it in your spare time.” Hate to tell you folks, but any more extra-curricular mommy homework, and I just might be history too.
  • Fine Arts: I’ve been practicing and practicing all summer, how to clearly and professionally write my kids’ names in everything they own for fear of losing everything they own. Now, I’m not one to mind if we lose 30 pairs of socks, but if my daughter’s favorite Foofa t-shirt or my son’s McQueen backpack go missing, we’re all in big trouble. I’ve also been tuning up my vocal cords to practice my serious voice that I use to get the kids in the car when we’re running late (which is daily). Actually, lets add drama to that too. I have to turn on the dramatics to get them to understand why we need to get dressed and get going so that mommy doesn’t get calls from the school for being late everyday and does NOT get stopped by the police for speeding to school. Oh, if only they understood my stress. Now I know why parents tell their kids that someday they’ll understand. And with that, I say, sorry Mom!
  • Foreign Language: Poop, poopie, pee pee, dong-dong, boogies, and toots. These are just some of the words I learned to incorporate into my everyday vocabulary to keep my kids entertained and myself sane. Thank g-d for potty talk. To the 3-year old who invented it, my family thanks you. We practice daily.

So while I might be getting schooled in a whole new way, I actually have to say that so far, my family is incredibly happy at our schools. We love being part of the communities we’ve picked and look forward to the years to come…well, at least until my the homework starts.

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