Archive for the ‘preschool’ Category
I’d forgotten how alarming fevers can be. It’s been awhile since my son’s head felt so hot. After changing him from the stifling footed-pj’s into cooler wear, taking his temperature and placing a cold compress on his forehead, I worked hard on tuning out the alarmist-speak in my mind, replacing it with: Fevers are common. Fevers come out of nowhere, at least with my son. Fevers mean his body is fighting the whatever-it-is and this is a good thing. I have friends who traveled with their children in countries where they didn’t speak the language and their kids bloomed fevers and yet—all worked out—meaning, I know the language here, I know where the nearest ER is if necessary, I know how to use the newfangeld beeping thermometer thingies, I am good at reading my son, I have learned something in 3 years about fevers and colds and flu and boo boos and tantrums and head knocks and coughs and all that goes with raising baby to toddler to preschooler.
So I didn’t call the 24/7 nurse or ask my husband his thoughts on taking our son to the ER. I believed the thermometer (instead of upping it 5 to 10 degrees, blindly responding to unhelpful hysteria), called upon my fever-educators (Dr. Spock, Dr. Sears, my sisters, my mommy friends), got him comfortable and waited. And the fever passed. And just as importantly as the passing of this fever? My not freaking out—like that first time he had a fever and of course we were out of town and we freaked out and took him to the ER where he screamed, where the doc on call had no experience with sick babies and had to phone her superior, who of course advised her to give our baby the parent-pacifier-antibiotic: amoxicillin, about which our pediatrician shook his head sadly when we told him because the fever should have been left to just run its course—it wasn’t even 103—but what the hell did we know? Feverish crying baby, nervous new parents up 5 times in the night to call the 24/7 nurse—okay, those days are over. I will never rule out a visit to the ER, but I will also never rule out listening to intuition, staying calm, learning from past sicknesses, continually educating myself as a parent, and above all: Vigilance. “Listen, PB,” someone told me. “If it isn’t serious, LET it not be serious. Okay?” Yep. Okay.
I’ve written all this from my sickbed. No fever. No coffee. No nanny (not that I’ve ever had one). The good news: It’s a preschool day and I think I’ve turned the corner. Hysteria? Ha ha ha! Or, rather: Ha. Ha. Haaaaaaa…OM.
Despite being given a hint of grief from one of T’s preschool teachers because I failed in my two attempts at making jello hearts over the weekend (I even bought silicon molds, then when that fell apart, tried cookie cutters this morning, then when that fell apart raced to Albertson’s and bought mini-cupcakes, which disappointed this particular teacher, who asked if I’d read the expiration date on the box of jello used, who let out a big sigh of disappointment, who shocked the hell out of me by saying the cupcakes were nice, but the kids shouldn’t have that much sugar—and jello is what???—but instead of responding like a Valkyrie, I took the high road and mostly because T loves the school————–you know? I did return with a plate of the leftover, fallen-apart jello, handed it to this teacher and politely explained, “Um. Here…”)—despite anything freaky in the world, it’s a glorious Valentine’s Day, sunny and temperate, and I have the next 2 and 1/2 hours to myself while my son enjoys his V Day party at school.
Life is hearts. Have a wonderful 2011 Valentine’s Day and remember to send a little love to yourself—because you deserve it. Even if you fail at jello hearts.
I don’t know about your house, but THESE are the kind of Christmas shenanigans going on around here:
Not to mention early Christmas presents from Semi-Secret Santa Mommies:
Or Christmas caroling to the dog:
But this, THIS is really what’s going on around here—every—single—second:
O perfect, metaphor-catching picture! Yes, I vacuum up dog hair twice daily, rise at 4:00 a.m. to allow the child into our bed, awake every 5 minutes until 6:00a.m., when it’s time to get up for the day because T wakes with his headlights on BRIGHT and is ready to rock and roll and eat pancakes I’ve secretly stuffed with carrot puree and applesauce, yes I’m still a sleepless mother despite preschool, but I can honestly say: I am enjoying the season. He is enjoying the season. My currently snoozing husband, too.
Who knew the end of the year could be jam-packed with so many changes? New dog, preschool (!!!), Thanksgiving at our house—well, that happened last year, too. I guess I mean: HOLIDAY SEASON (MADNESS)!!! In addition to us all waking up at 4a.m. (at which point little boy comes and gets in bed with us and plays tag with my kidneys with his heels), 5a.m. (at which point Dadda takes the dog for a rollerblade/walk), 6a.m. (at which point the youngster among us is up until naptime). I am also editing/revising my novel. And mopping floors and finishing Christmas shopping THIS WEEK and organizing a booked calendar and hoping I’m not forgetting anything, anyone—like this blog. And—well, see picture below. ‘Tis the season! Let us Hallelujah. Until the next post.
This post is important for me to write as it involves almost not listening to my intuition, almost letting exhaustion run my mind instead of logic (not that logic isn’t a fair weather friend of mine), thereby almost resulting in sending my son to the wrong preschool instead of: the fantastic, nurturing, sun shines out of its a**, Waldorf-got-nothin’-on-us, creativity promoting, we-help-potty-train preschool he is currently attending.
A month before his 3rd birthday, my son switched from sleeping through the night until 6am OR LATER, to waking up several times during the night and for good by 5a.m. I should say, he reverted to this brutal waking hour, one I have yet to (3 years later) get used to. With the addition to our family of a 2nd toddler, Tucker, my sleep once again constantly disrupted, my husband and I considered preschool for our early waking, determined to test his parents, adorable son. “I’d rather have a sane wife than—well, than not,” my husband told me as I stared dismally into my 5am coffee mug, having forgotten to put coffee into the maker’s filter, thereby brewing myself a pot of hot water. “Just need more, um, what’s that called. Sleep,” I whispered, my head crashing to the table, snores louder than the dog’s erupting.
My son and I visited several schools. One in particular struck my fancy as it is close to us, thoroughly gated and full of teachers. This school’s Mission Statement extols enriching the lives of 3-year-olds and helping to potty train them, if necessary. Miss A was soft-spoken and when she sang songs, her students listened. However, on the 2nd day of visiting, misgivings plagued me. Miss A had 10 little ones and no helper, despite all of the teachers-teachers-everywhere. On our 2nd day of visiting, Miss A’s class arrived and wouldn’t behave or follow rules and this took a huge toll on Miss A—she was stressed out after the first hour. Understandably so! How could she watch 10 rampaging toddlers AND help some with the potty, change diapers, have them make their Mayflower boat painting, read to them, sing to them all by herself? Bless her. She did her best and I admire her. She should be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and receive free spa visits for what she does.
But the fact that she had no assistant worried me. Furthermore, when the kids were outside in the fabulous playground, teachers seemed to manage kids vs. play with them, or make games with them. This “managing” crept deep into my subconscious and troubled me.
That evening, I once again fervently Googled preschools in the San Fernando Valley, my heart sinking when the schools I hadn’t yet visited and was most attracted to were Montessori or Waldorf based and $10,000/year. Not do-able at this time. So I started resigning myself to sending my son to Miss A’s class, because how different could preschool programs really be, anyway? Perhaps managing children was what happened to children his age, no matter WHAT a Mission Satement insisted (and the Mission Statements school to school, whether pricy or modest tuitions, were all similar). Instead of teachers dressing up like fairies or historical figures or wizards or animals and introducing students to acorn art and really wild stories and fun songs, perhaps the reality was a class like Miss A’s. And besides, Miss A was a nicer teacher than at any of the other schools I’d visited, she was closer to home and———I slept on it.
The next morning I decided to visit one last preschool near us that I hadn’t checked yet. I was 99% resigned—yes, resigned!!!—to Miss A’s school, despite my guts twisting every time I thought about it, despite alarm bells and sirens wailing through my brain, trying to shake me up, trying to order me not to settle for anything less than the best for my son, trying to tell me I was going to have to start from scratch and check out schools farther away if I had to—advice hard for a Mama with bags under her eyes to take. Alarms did penetrate my fatigue, though, because we did visit. Here’s what happened.
The second we were shown into the secure preschool area, I was greeted by the Director, a friendly woman wearing a tye dye summer-ish dress. She gestured to the play area and encouraged my son to explore it, which wasn’t necessary, as he was already RUNNING over to join in the activities. As my son engaged with children, the Director showed me around and second by second I was swallowed by the happy vibe of the place, it’s cheerful student artwork proudly displayed on walls, it’s library, its toys and homey feel and outside, its sand and bubbles and teachers moving here and there with the packs of kids, instructing, suggesting, stimulating minds. Correcting, yes, there was correcting going on by the teachers, but it was obvious they were there for the children in a way that the previous school’s teachers were not. My son held Miss M’s hand within the first hour of our being there and accompanied her to the potty, went potty and returned wearing a pull-up beneath his jeans instead of a diaper. I almost threw myself into the Director’s arms and sobbed relief into her tye dye. I had almost made a huge mistake. No—preschools are NOT all the same and the right preschool IS out there. We had definitely found ours.
So I’d like to thank my own personal nagging and alarms for not giving up on trying to alert me. I’m glad I listened. The return for listening is priceless. I must never forget to listen, never excuse not listening, never settle. Now pardon me as I try not to weep in my car, having left him at preschool for the first time. My little big boy! Mama is going home to nap while you paint, make giant bubbles, sing songs, make art with acorns, sit for storytime, enjoy snacktime, make messes and help to clean them up. I promise you, my son, I will be a better mother for extra sleep and some time alone—and you have some new things to discover and tell me all about when I pick you up in 3 hours. Sniff, bawl. I love you, baby! (cue that Carly Simon song that plays at the end of “Heartburn” with Meryl Streep).
My son just turned 3.
A year ago he and I visited a preschool. It was very: science station, art station, monthly themes (pirates, the holiday stuff), and parents could hang out and peek around corners to see if their children were happy——
Leave my son in that sweet, teacher-caring, we-provide-potty-training environment? A Mama’s worst nightmare!!!
A year ago, my son would not sit still for any storytime we attended. He parallel-played consistently. He did not engage in science stations (his sand and water table at home, dirt pile in our yard) for longer than a few minutes. At the preschool visit, he obsessed on the indoor pirate ship thingy and screamed when I tried to get him to look at what the other kids were doing, upsetting parents peeking around corners. I was scared of disrupting the entire school. So we left, with me telling myself that there is plenty of time for pre-school, that he is going to be in school for such a good portion of his life, why not stick to playdates and beach outings and park fun.
Tomorrow we’re returning to that preschool from a year ago. My son’s sleeping habits have reverted to his first year of life, when wakings were constant and urgent and why this is happening again is beyond me. I don’t feed him sugar. He doesn’t eat fast food. He drinks milk. Tonight he even accepted steamed green beans. I am. A. Vigilant mother. Especially when it comes to my finnicky eater. So why the wakings in his cozy, super-dark room (but for a little nightlight)? Why? Mama is so tired…
So tired, that I AM READY for preschool. 3 mornings a week. As long as he likes it.
He does love being around kids on playdates and at the park, even if older kids don’t realize he is actually following them around and playing some game they are inadvertently involved with. He does crafts now (for about 10 minutes). He likes bugs and binoculars and anything pirates and rockets and marine. He won’t sit still for a storytime, but if the other kids are, maybe he’ll consider settling in, especially since he loves books. Tomorrow is a big day.
Because it’s not about me. Of course it is about me! But not really. You know?