family

Too cool for preschool

Jack_sunglasses

Tomorrow, Jack embarks on a new adventure. Preschool. Actually, we’re just attending a one-hour open house for students and parents; school starts in September. Three days a week, two hours a day. Jack is a little bit . . . terrified, I think.

We first visited a Montessori preschool because we liked their teaching philosophy on paper. They wanted Jack five days a week, three hours a day. The teacher there told me that Jack would know algebra by the time he entered kindergarten. For us, that sounded like too much time away from home for a three-year old who has only been watched sans parents by grandma and Aunt Nini. And yes–too much math for a five- or six-year old. Too much math for any-year old, I say. (The only Barbie I ever felt akin to was the Barbie who whined "Math is hard!" when you pushed a button on her back. Poor Math-Sucks Barbie, I feel ya.)

We found a preschool called Carefree Kids, run by a former kindergarten teacher. Her students call her Miss Cindy. I think Jack thinks her name is Misindi. Here’s a list of what we’ll do tomorrow, according to the open-house invitation:

* Learn a song
* Read a story
* Complete a simple art project
* Learn classroom rules
* Have a snack
* Play with the toys

Um . . . can I come three days a week, too? Because that to-do list sounds like it’s right up my alley.

Still, Jack is not looking forward to the experience. Whenever I ask him about preschool he says, " I’m NOT HAPPY about it!" and pulls a genuinely troubled face. Oh dear. It makes me want to wait another year. But he needs to be challenged when it comes to social skills, which is Miss Cindy’s main focus. If you hang out with Jack for 45 minutes, you can take his heart and put it in your pocket–he is yours, and you are his. But it takes at least that long. And mind you, the minutes may not be consecutive. I’m hoping Miss Cindy and Jack’s soon-to-be classmates can help condense that warm-up time.

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By December, I’m betting Jack will love preschool so much he’ll be begging to go to Miss Cindy’s on Christmas morning. The question is, what will I do without him three days a week, two hours a day? Who will be my shadow? Who will yell, "Look mom, I’m Superman! Look!" over and over again while I’m trying to talk on the phone? Who will spill juice on the carpet, smear butter on the couch, create a tornado of clutter in the living room? Who will beg me to watch clips of Wonder Woman on YouTube? Who will dance with me?

Aw, silly mama. It’s only three days a week, two hours a day.

But I see what’s coming: play dates, field trips, best friends, sleepovers, summer camps, crushes, homecoming parades, prom nights, college dorms. When you have flashes like that, it makes it hard to let go.

I guess that’s a parent’s job. Get them out of the nest, get ’em flying. I just didn’t realize I’d have to start nudging so soon.

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