When Jonah was tiny baby Jonah, I couldn’t imagine leaving him! He was so vulnerable and I was so in love, AND I was his sole source of nutrition, and I was his mama. I wanted to be with him 24/7. Even going to the store for an hour was hard. I missed him. I worried about him. I wanted to rush back home and cuddle him.
Now, he’s gaining more and more independence each day. Literally, each day. Yesterday he started running. The day before that he realized that toothbrushes were different from hairbrushes. The day before that he climbed the stepstool to the sink all by himself. The day before THAT he opened a box of crackers and helped himself to a few. You get the point. He’s growing up – fast. He definitely still needs his mama, just not quite as much as before. Not 24/7. And he’s absolutely fascinated with other kids now! He loves to study their movements, watch their interactions, and…tentatively… join in their games.
And I’m more independent, too. I can leave him for a few hours without aching to get back home. I still miss him, I’m still super happy to see him, but I can also enjoy doing me-stuff. I can enjoy the separation. I sometimes even look forward to it! Like my spa-time last night. Heavenly!
So with this new-found independence on both our parts, I thought it might be good to send Jonah to preschool in the fall. Mark agreed. Jonah seemed on-board, if his love of storytime and trips to the Children’s Museum are any indication. I thought – Hey, Fall is quite a ways away! I’ve got plenty of time to methodically research and compare different programs and pick the most suitable (and affordable!) one. Hahahaha.
No. Parents of the world, take note! If you want your kiddo to go to preschool in the fall, start researching the preceding fall. Or summer. Because guess when enrollment starts? January. Deciding in February to maybe consider preschool for the upcoming fall is really pushing it. Really.
Luckily, I know some awesome mamas who know some awesome preschools. Luckily, I made it to the very last info session for our top-choice school. Luckily, they still had a spot open for Jonah. Luckily, he will get a chance to attend a super fantastic wonderful program 3 half-days a week in the fall! Whew. But we almost totally missed the boat on that one.
I didn’t think I’d ever be one of those parents, waiting with baited breath for a letter saying my 15-month-old got into our top-choice school. High-five-ing (fiving?) Mark. Doing a little dance. Feeling so relieved. Whew! But here we are. Now, this school is not at all about academics. I’m not pushing Harvard (Mark is. But not me! He’s the Asian parent!). I mean, Jonah will only be 21 months old come September. He doesn’t need to be studying, he needs to be playing.
But of course, as his mom, I want a certain environment for my child. I want the best. I want it to be in line with our own family values. I want to know that Jonah is safe and cared for. And I think this school offers that. It is an incredibly loving, nurturing environment that fosters empathy and independence, encourages free play and time outdoors, promotes environmental sustainability and a strong sense of community. Honors the children where they are. Yada yada blah blah throwing up rainbows and unicorns and puppies. Ok, so it’s like the hippie version of Harvard. The classrooms all have little gnomes for the kids to play with. Seriously. GNOMES! Who doesn’t love gnomes? I give in. I’m just like those other parents, except with a bit more crunch.
So I’m happy. I’m excited for the fall. I’m excited for Jonah to form friendships. To explore a new environment. To have a bit more routine in his life – something Mark and I often struggle to provide. We’re bohemian artists, ya know. We balk at routine. It stifles our creative flow. But I hear toddlers really thrive on it. And like I said, I want the best for my kid.
And I’m also really excited about having 4 hours to myself 3 mornings a week. I’ve got it all planned out… Cooking/cleaning/errand Day, Work Day, and Spa/Fun/Me Day. Three times a week. Every week. Sept-May. Yes!!!