Friday, September 10, 2010

The Great Preschool Debaucle of 2010


I hate it when a plan does not come together.

A few months ago, I posted that we had enrolled Will in preschool. Although I was a bit wistful that my little guy was old enough for such a venture, I was excited, as it would give me some one on one time with Emma and it would also be something just for him once a week.

Well, things didn't exactly work out. My girlfriend who was going to do the preschool with me was going to take Emma (and I was going to take her little girl) on the days that we were working in the classroom (supposedly once per month). So, that still left two days a month of "me n' Emma" time.

Then my girlfriend decided to do another preschool that her mom helps run, so she could go for free. So, that meant that I was going to have to figure out what to do with Emma on classroom days. At first, I hoped to take her along in the Ergo, but that's against the co-op's rules. They do have a younger sibling co-op, but of course, that means you have to return the favor. So now, I was back down to two free days and having to go and bring Emma and Will to the younger siblings co-op on the second day.

Then I got the work schedule. And I was scheduled for two days. I guess our class is short on parents somehow, so we'll be volunteering twice a month for at least the first half of the year. So now that meant that I would also have to be in the sibling co-op for two days, leaving absolutely no Emma time and schlepping both kids there every week. Ugh.

Then I got my committee assigment. Each parent has to do a committee assignment which is an additional task. Mine are bulletin boards that have to be maintained. Not a huge deal, but another day I have to come it, decorate the boards, and figure out what to do with my kids or watch them while I do it.

Then I got the parent meeting calendar. Once a month, there are mandatory parent meetings where kids are not allowed and childcare is not provided.

All of this for two hours, one day a week. I kind of started thinking that it just wasn't worth it.

I realize that I should have figured all of this out in the beginning when we registered. I guess I was in the second trimester honeymoon phase of pregnancy and didn't figure into the equation how tired I would be with a newborn. This all just seems like too much effort and makes me tired and even more anxious just thinking about it all. But part of me feels as if I should cowgirl up and put forth the effort anyway, because I don't want to shortchange Will because I am too tired. And other parents are doing this, so what's wrong with me for feeling overwhelmed by it?

After my girlfriend backed out and I was trying to decide what to do, we happened to have Will's two year exam, so I asked Dr. Swanson what she thought about preschoool for him. She said as long as he was being socialized in other ways (and I truly feel that he is), it was not a big deal and to look into preschool next year when life isn't so crazy (and two of my other girlfriends are doing non co-op preschools, so I have the advantage of letting them go first and road testing it for me). She said that she didn't even start her own son in pre-school until he was three. So, I felt better.

But I was still feeling like a Loser Mom who was failing her kid. So, I didn't tell the school (officially). Hey, we paid our non-refundable deposit to hold our spot, so I figured I had the luxury to make up our minds. I figured the fact that we didn't go to any of the twenty million (seriously, a lot) of class playdates, picnics, orientations, and Meet the Teacher Days would be a clue.

Well, today was the official orientation for his age/day/class. I finally reconciled myself to the fact that it just was't happening, so we didn't go. I just feel badly about it. I keep thinking that he'll be so behind the other kids at preschool next year and that a better woman would have found a way to make it all happen.



Jen said...

He is barely two. Many kids don't start preschool until they are three or four. Many never go at all. He'll be fine :)

We will probably wait until Jillian is three to enroll her in preschool, and with her October birthday that is a year and a half away.

Allison said...

I know when we as moms are on the "beat ourselves up" phase not much helps but I will tell you that our son did not go to his first school experience until 4 years 3 months and is now in K doing just fact I think he is more than prepared for everything.

HereWeGoAJen said...

Don't worry about it. Studies have shown that there is no long term difference in kids that do preschool and kids that don't. It truly doesn't matter.

If you want to feel productive, teach him things like walking in a line and being quiet in the hallway. Sitting at a desk maybe. Those are the things preschool helps out when you go to actual school.

Nicky said...

Preschool for 2-year-olds is a new thing, and the vast majority of kids don't do it. From what I hear, it's 80% about socialization and 20% about following simple direction from an adult. Will's got both of those things covered through playdates and time with you. Don't sweat it.

Amy said...

lady, your kid will be fine! He's still pretty young so not to worry! My kids just started pre school this year and they are about to turn 4. Seems like there's always a catch to co-op's which is why we decided to pay a lil more so we don't have to volunteer. All we do is the snack once a semester.....anyway, don't worry, look at it as it was meant to be. The future holds something else for your lil prince! Love ya!

PamalaLauren said...

Kaylee was 3 and 3 months when she started preschool. She's well ahead of her class. Why? Because we have a playgroup (that I run) that we regularly attend so she was getting everything she needed. A lot of what they learn in preschool is nothing you can't teach him. Heck he learns more in my opinion with you. So don't feel bad about it. Spend as much time as possible with your children. No need to have them in school, they won't be behind.

Beth said...

If it makes you feel any better, my oldest (4 in June) isn't attending preschool. I feel like a horrbile mother too - but it just wasn't going to work for our family ~ due to scheduling and the fact that I couldn't be in several places at once, AND keep my sanity. That should be #1 on my list, no? S-A-N-I-T-Y. Sometimes I grasp it by my fingernails :)
Hang in there, Mama! Hugs to you!!

Sophie said...

Ugh. Co-op/parent participation schools can be a ton of work. I personally like to write the check instead, and then participate on my own schedule. And for one day a week, that sounds like way too much stress (not good for anybody).

I've also found that 2 days a week is maybe actually easier on young kids than 1- they are able to get into a routine more easily, and haven't "forgotten" the place by the next time they go.
He will be fine! And he will have lots more time with little sister!

Anonymous said...

Don't sweat it. One day for two hours only won't do much. He'd probably end up crying a lot of the time. My son has gone to full-time daycare since he was a baby. The kids in his toddler room that show up for just a few days have a rough transition at first and cry a lot. It takes a few weeks to get over that when it's just for a brief time. I would look into at least 3 days a week when you decide to enroll him.

Anonymous said...

As someone with a background in child development, I respectfully have to tell you that "preschool" is a heck of a lot more like daycare when a kid is barely two. All studies show absolutely NO difference in how kids develop when it comes to attending preschool, with one exception. Kids who attend preschool at an earlier age have more school/text anxiety when followed years later. My kids don't start preschool until four. Relax.

Tracy said...


MOST kids don't start preschool until three. I've done a ton of reading on this because I've debated homeschool preschool (I won't...I've decided if nothing else I need a few hours per week to myself), and at this age, they really benefit most from parental love and attention, and the opportunity to play freely. I'm sure that you can teach him what those other kids are learning in the TWO HOURS per week they attend. You probably already have.

Quit beating yourself up. (((HUGS)))

Tracy said...

And I have to agree with Anonymous. When I first read this post, I thought, preschool at 2? That sounds like daycare. They're still maniacs at this age. :)

Stacy Woodruff said...

In this area, that kind of a thing is called daycare, or mother's day out. Here, most everybody does Kindergarten at 5. Pre-K is for 4 year olds who are already in a paid daycare that runs a pre-K program, or who are low income so they qualify for the public school's program. Kids of SAHMs typically don't wind up in even pre-K, and they do just fine. Very few parents here choose to put their kids in "preschool" at even 3, much less 2. Most people in this region feel like preschool is just a euphemism for daycare. Also, if you're concerned about it, most public kindergarten programs will give you a list of things that a child should know before attending kindergarten. Get that now, so you have a concrete list of what to be working on. He'll be just fine.

Mel said...

Co-op preschool? YIKES. I have never even heard of that! Sounds SO STRESSFUL. I don't blame you for just throwing up hands and walking away... You have too much on your plate as it is to stress yourself out with that as well. Our church does mothers day out programs for 18 months plus that I'll probably put L in next fall. I don't imagine she'll be ready to learn much, I just see it as an extension of her time in the Sunday nursery (mostly for socialization, since we don't get to do that much) and don't worry much about actual "learning." And, it is also about me getting alone time to work and run errands! :) I can't even imagine what that would be like!

Sunny said...

I go to co-op preschool down here with all three kids, because my mom is here to watch the twins when I take Bean, and vice versa.

90% of why I go is for me. I love the other women, and not being from this area, they serve as a great support system for me. 10% of the benefit is Bean socializing. Will is missing NOTHING. No worries, mama.