Picture this: It’s drop-off time on the first day of preschool. There’s all sorts of kicking and screaming, outstretched arms and wails of “No!” And that’s just what I’ll be doing in a few weeks.
When my husband returned to work a couple weeks after I had Ellie in December 2009, I panicked: What was I going to do with her? What if she choked on spit-up? What if I had to pee and she was asleep on me? What if I had to eat and she was asleep on me?
Fast forward 20 months and Ellie and I have developed a lovely routine of enjoying music classes, play gyms, play dates and mother/daughter fro-yo parties. I’m lucky that my gigs as a freelance journalist and group cycling instructor enable me to perform my most challenging job: stay-at-home mom. As a result, I know what she’s doing every minute of every day.
And soon I won’t. It’s not a control issue, despite how it sounds. I just genuinely enjoy seeing what Ellie does each day – what she likes, what she could do without, how she learns and develops. After months of reading the same book to her and hoping she likes it, she suddenly asks for it by name, for instance.
I sound ridiculous to moms who leave their children at daycares or have regular babysitters. I know. And I also know that putting her in the care of someone else for nine hours a week will be great for her. Her teachers know way more about early childhood education than I do. After all, it takes a village.
Besides, it’s not like I’ll be twiddling my thumbs while she’s at school. I’ve taken on a Spinning class one morning, and I can resume writing arts and culture articles, which got too hard to do when I spent my time at a museum exhibit chasing E than pondering Picasso. Plus, I can go to Target and actually concentrate on what I’m buying so that for once, I come home with the toilet paper I need and not a random assortment of toddler clothes, garden supplies and wrapping paper that somehow catapulted into my cart while I was busy preventing Ellie from smashing nail polish bottles on the floor.
I think Ellie will love school, so I’m not worried about her reaction. I just hope I won’t embarrass her when the teacher tells me to be a big girl and shoos me out with a lollipop of consolation.