As promised, it’s finally time for me to tell you about my experience going to preschool with my daughter.
I must admit that I sometimes get a little nervous when I’m around little kids or dogs. When I was a little kid, I had a bad experience with a dog and I think it traumatized me for life. When I was a little kid, I also had a bad experience with a little kid, and well, I’ve been afraid of little kids ever since.
I also was scared I would stick out in the preschool class given the fact that I’m at least 2.5 feet taller than all the other kids, I no longer own any Mary Janes, and I will never again wear leggings during this lifetime outside the privacy of my own home.
But fortunately, I had my brave, self-confident preschooler to guide me through the long hallway to the preschool class and tell me what to do.
We got to class with our big piece of posterboard and despite the fact the class had a substitute teacher that day, she immediately knew I was THE Mom.
We washed our hands and when I wasn’t looking, my daughter correctly spotted our last name on a magnet on the chalkboard and placed it under her emotion for the day. The kids have just started recognizing their last names, rather than their first.
I looked up to see she had placed us on Excited, and that made me feel very Happy. But we only had one last name magnet, so I decided it was best for me to feel Excited, too.
As we were hanging up our coats, one of the boys announced that Aidan* was wearing sandals.
“But we won’t be going outside today so his socks won’t get wet,” the boy said in a very loud voice.
I looked around to find the culprit. Sure enough. There was a little boy wearing socks with sandals. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt that he must be having an allergic reaction to his tennis shoes or perhaps he had a sweaty foot problem. But then I remembered all of the times my boys insisted on wearing socks with their sandals in preschool and realized he might not have grown out of his strong-willed toddler years just yet.
Soon, it was time for our circle time. My daughter and I excitedly walked to the corner of the room and excitedly sat down on a little plaid sofa while all of the other kids sat in a circle on the floor in front of us.
The Substitute told the children that she was recovering from a case of laryngitis. She asked all of the children to say the word laryngitis, and amazingly, they all said it perfectly. Her doctor had instructed her to speak very softly, she said, so the kids would need to be very quiet and listen carefully to her speak.
I had a sneaking suspicion she was making this up. But whatever the case, I thought it was an excellent story, and one I planned to use in home school instead of my usual tactic of using my harsh, mean voice when my boys were running around during math time.
It was time for us to explain the photos on the “All About Me” poster we had so lovingly and painstakingly made together. My daughter immediately skipped to the middle photo on the bottom row and explained that this was the one in which she and her brothers are dressed like INDIANS! Then, she was done.
My thoughts were racing: What about all of the other photos?!? What about your baby picutre?!? What about our fabulous trip to Rio de Janeiro?!? And what about DisneyLand?!? And haven’t I told you a hundred times to say NATIVE AMERICANS?!?
But then I remembered that kids don’t even develop a memory until they are about 4 years old, so how could she possibly be expected to recite the details of more than half of the photos. I guided her through the explanations we had rehearsed of the other photos and was relieved to be done with our presentation.
“We usually have questions,” the teacher’s aide said.
The hands shot up and I have to say that my daughter handled herself like she was the press secretary at a news conference.
“Yes, Olivia,” she said, pointing at a blond girl to the left.
“What is your favorite color?”
Whew! An easy one. As if the pink posterboard and the purple outfit weren’t a dead giveaway.
My daughter scanned the children.
“What is your favorite fruit?”
“Strawberries,” she answered calmly.
WHY didn’t I THINK of putting a strawberry sticker on the poster?!?
Finally, we had time for one more question from Aidan.
“What is you favo-ite yo-ga?”
“Excuse me,” I asked, hoping the kid wasn’t inquiring about her favorite Yoga move.
“Yogurt?” Yes, that was it. “What is your favorite yogurt?”
“Vanilla,” my daughter calmly answered, which I thought was really good since the true answer is: “Well, I love strawberry and blueberry yogurt, but my mom is so cheap she will only buy the big jumbo container of vanilla.”
Next, it was time for everyone to bring out a secret item from their backpack for the letter of the day, R.
All of the girls brought rabbits and all of the boys brought racecars, except for one very creative little boy who brought a Red Robot. Oh, and Aidan. He brought a rocket. The same little boy who had called him on the sandals also argued that his vehicle wasn’t a rocket at all.
The teachers and I looked at the blaster on the back and defended him, “Oh, yes. It’s a rocket.” But inside, I think we all had the same thought: “That thing is totally a hovercraft.”
OK… It was finally time for us to go to our first station. This is where we had to color pictures of various weather conditions and draw a line connecting them to a child playing outside in the same type of weather. We got ours done in no time and carefully colored our pictures using identical color choices.
We then spent the next five minutes trying to convince a little boy that although it can be windy in winter, the picture of the wind would best go with the kid flying a kite, rather than the picture of a girl playing in the snow. “But I already used that one,” he kept telling us as we tried to convince him to change his line. We finally gave up and left the teacher’s aide to argue with him.
Next, we went to the other station where we had to use squares of various sizes and colors to create a mosaic-type picture. The teacher said only three children could work at this station at once because the class only had three glue sticks left.
To say they even had three glue sticks was a bit of an exaggeration, since all that was left was a tiny bit of blue glue stuck to the very top of the inside twisty part.
Without thinking, I said, “Boy, honey, I think we should have brought some glue sticks to school today.”
“Oh, the glue sticks will be arriving this afternoon!” The Substitute reassured me. I’m sure she was afraid I might be thinking: “With the hundreds of dollars I spend each month on tuition, you people can’t even afford GLUE STICKS?!?”, but I wasn’t thinking that at all. Nope. Not even for one second.
(I might have been thinking, “Yeah, and you have laryngitis, too,” but I wasn’t. I just thought that would be kind of funny to write.)
Finally, it was time to have some free play. We joined a table where we got to build with some little blocks that were sort of like Legos, but not Legos because they were nearly impossible to get the tiny bricks apart. All of the kids were building tall towers with their bricks. And one little girl showed me a secret trick to pull them apart.
I decided this would be a good time to use my years of training as a Toy Lady and suggested we build our towers in patterns. Then, I realized we COULD put the bricks together in directions other than UP.
I built a little base for mine and then started placing the bricks in alternating directions.
“What IS that?!?” one of the kids asked. Soon, a few more kids had gathered around to see the square tower I had created.
I decided to try something more complicated and built a rainbow, then a frog. Nearly the whole class had now gathered around us.
“Can I play with that?!”
“Will you build one for me?!” kids asked. Soon, I was whipping out brick structures faster than a balloon-sculpting artist at a kids’ carnival.
Despite my tall stature and my lack of fashion, I was becoming popular!** Now, I WAS excited! I wondered if all of the other moms were this popular when they visited, and I decided that they probably were. It was finally time for me to go, and I have to say that I wished I could come back another day.
But it was time for home school. And time for me to use a few of the phrases I had learned that morning in preschool, which means that I learned a few things myself in the land of 4- and 5-year-olds.
* The names in this post have been changed to protect the innocent.
** If you were able to make it through all of my sarcasm, then I thank you very much for reading.