I am SO not ready

April 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm 10 comments

He sat in a circle of preschoolers on a brightly colored number “7” carpet square. He looked so cute and so content as he listened intently to a woman dressed as Mother Goose tell stories and nursery rhymes. It was preschool open house week and we were sitting in, observing for the day.

I was in rare obsessive-compulsive mom form. I was determined to walk away equipped with a list of skills that he should have mastered before school starts in the fall. He still doesn’t use a proper pencil hold…will that be an issue? What about the names of coins, he still thinks everything is called a penny. What about…

I wanted to find out how I’ll know that he will be ready for preschool. When in reality, I should have been concerning myself with how I’ll know that I will be ready for preschool.

There he was, my three year old looking so at home in that classroom. A classroom full of four year olds. Four. I remember being four myself! And this time next year he will be four and a half!

Ugh, I’m SO not ready.

He made a little friend immediately. Sitting to his left was a little boy who also had a little baby brother. That was all it took for them to strike up a conversation and for each of them to find a new friend.

To his right was “B,” a little girl who has been one of his favorite friends since last year. He loves his playdates with B so much that he imagines playing with her even when she‘s not around. When we hear him “talking to himself“ in his room, we know the answer to “What are you doing Sam?”… will usually be “Oh, just playing with B.”

He was equally happy to sit next to his new friend and his old friend, his male friend and his female friend. Because at three, he only sees friends. He was asked to choose a picture from the story board, and he picked the big, pink castle with the princess. Because at three, he doesn’t see one picture as more gender appropriate than another, he only sees the biggest picture on the story board.

A one year age difference means nothing in the adult world. But in preschool world, a whole new social perspective emerges between age three and age four.

A few months ago, Sam had to have one of his two front teeth pulled due to an A-typical growth pattern. Of course it had to be one of the front teeth, right? So far, it doesn’t seem to bother him. Truth be told, it bothers me much more. And so far, none of the kids in his three year old circle of friends seem to notice, or care.

A little four year old boy at the preschool noticed Sam’s missing tooth though. He didn’t say anything directly to Sam, and Sam didn’t hear (or just didn’t care) when the little boy started talking about how HE had more teeth.

I realized at that moment that at age four, kids think on a different level than they do at age three, in more than just the academic sense. I realized at that moment that it doesn’t matter as much if Sam has a proper pencil hold or some other arbitrary preschool readiness skill. (I never got my list anyway).

I realized that it might be starting sooner than I thought it would. Soon, insensitive words will chip away at my son’s self esteem, and I will really have to step up as a parent. I will have to help him work through anger and hurt feelings. I will have to get over my own hurt and anger felt on his behalf. I will have to find the right words to teach him the importance of inward beauty and the value of character.

I realized that I need to be prepared for preschool.

And I am SO not ready.

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Entry filed under: life, Motherhood, Parenting. Tags: , , , .

Do you want to get the camera, or should I? Happy Birthday, Daddy!

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. K  |  April 26, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    My little man is going to preschool two mornings a week next year.

    I’m struggling with it a bit, but at the same time I’m kinda excited to be able to grocery shop without “help” and maybe meet a friend for coffee every now and again.

    Good luck.

  • 2. Tiffany  |  April 27, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I am still not ready and it’s been 5 years since my first went off to pre-school!! It will help you because he will love it so much!!

  • 3. Evenshine  |  April 27, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Really nice post. My daughter had a tooth pulled, and we elected NOT to have a replacement put in. She loves it, and loves that people ask her if the tooth fairy came. And you’re right about having to step it up as a parent. It’s always a step up. But it’s so good for us to invest in them, even though we feel the hurts more than they do.

  • 4. ck  |  April 27, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    You ARE ready.

    You’re doing a wonderful job.

    I think one of the hardest things about being a mom is how much we have to face about ourselves, our perceptions and our hearts when we have to let go.

    We’ve better for it.

    And so are they.

  • 5. faemom  |  April 27, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    I’m totally there. I’m wondering where the time went. I’m wondering if he’s ready. He is, but I’m not. I wonder if school will change him, make him less creative, less different, just less. We’ll be all right, right?

  • 6. Gibby  |  April 28, 2009 at 1:45 am

    I have cried on every first day of school, for both girls. Nope, I wasn’t ready, but whether you are or not, they keep taking little baby steps away from us. Which is what they are supposed to be doing, so we must be doing something right. Right?

  • 7. KathyB!  |  April 28, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    You’ll never be ready because no one is ever ready, and it’s just how it’s supposed to be. It’s one of the most bittersweet times of their lives. I think you are doing a beautifu job and your son will be more than prepared. As for you, I suggest that you do as I have done on so many first days… stuff your pockets with tissues and bring sunglasses.

  • 8. SAHM-I-AM  |  April 28, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    I am SO with you. We as parents have an inherent need to protect our kids from, not only physical harm but, emotional as welll … and, it is the emotional part that is hardest to trust onto someone else because WE know our kids best. So we feel we need to equip them with ‘survival’ tools and forget that most children are resilient and can usually hold their own even when taunted/ignored/bullied by other kids. Though I know all this, I’m still SO with you and don’t think will ever be ready for the ‘letting go’ part. But, we’ll all manage, won’t we? Coz our mom’s certainly did and we turned out ok : )

  • 9. ymk1  |  April 29, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I hear you. When I first left Dimples at a daycare, and she cried and screamed as I left, my heart broke. And I sat in the car and cried before driving away.
    This happened for a few weeks. I cried every day.
    But one day, she didn’t even notice that I left. I kept looking through the window at my baby busy playing with the toys, in the daycare lady’s arms.
    That day, I cried the most.

  • 10. JennyPenny  |  April 29, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Looks like we’re both experiencing school anxiety this week. I might be the only mom I know who didn’t cry on my child’s first day of preschool. I don’t know why I didn’t. It was just such a small chunk of time, and I was practiced at leaving her off with her grandparents for overnighters. Maybe that was it? Nonetheless, you’re right: He’s stepping into the social tornado. I have found the emotional crap that happens between kids at preschool to be the most challenging with my daughter this year. It wasn’t bad at all last year, in the 4-year-old class. The 5-year-old class has been a good sneak peek, though, at what’s to come. It’s a reminder that it really kind of sucks to be a kid sometimes, and that’s where you come in to help out. You’ll do great. I’m confident of that.

    By the way, I was reading with interset about his missing teeth. Our 8-month-old crashed face-first into a chair this past week and split his gums. The pediatrician took a look and said, “He might have killed the tooth. The only trouble it will cause you is about five years of bad family pictures.” So NOT funny, because the first thing I thought about was how other kids might treat him if he’s missing a front tooth. Glad to read it hasn’t been troublesome for your kiddo. I guess kids with missing front teeth are pretty commonplace by the time preschool hits!


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