This week LM started preschool. He had previously been in a “two’s” program, and also at a nursery program though early intervention, so he was used to being dropped off in a classroom setting. But this year is different—this is “official” preschool. It’s public (because of LM’s hearing loss he gets public special ed preschool), in a building with children of all grades who are deaf or hard of hearing. I believe it’s the best environment for him, and I took as much as they would give me: full time, 5 days a week, 8:45-2:45. Gulp. On top of all that, he’s getting “bussed” (really a guy in a minivan), so someone else is driving him, and I have to trust he will get to his destination and home safely.
It’s a lot for a mom of a newly turned three-year-old to bear.
This week was harder on me than it was on LM. His first-day transportation got messed up—the transportaiton company had the wrong number and so I never heard from them. I took LM to school myself (I wanted to walk him in and meet his teacher anyway), but then the van showed up at my house! I finally straightened things out with someone from the company, who profusely apologized and told me the driver would pick LM up that afternoon. The incident did little to instill confidence in them. And who is this driver? Would he buckle LM in right? Would he speed? Would he take the highway or the side streets? Would he get so annoyed at Sam’s crying that he’d pull over and smack him?
Calm down, I told myself.
LM seems to be doing well. He’s all smiles when he comes home, and his teacher emailed that he’s a joy to have in class. Still, my life is much changed. It occurs to me that I need to be doing more, now that I have time for writing, working out, grocery shopping and meal prep. All of a sudden I have all this time, but my worry over LM’s well-being makes it hard for me to concentrate.
Most kids going to preschool are not taking the bus and are not full time. So I’m going through what many kindergarten moms go through, and it makes me want to slow down time. I’m longing for the playdates and activities we used to do. I feel like I’m missing a limb when I go to the mall or Target without LM. For so long, I identified as a “mom,” as evidenced by the crying child attached to me for all the world to see, that it’s strange to suddenly be my own entity again. When I walk in public alone, no one knows I’m a mom. I almost feel like it’s a throwback to my infertile days, when I longed for a little baby to push in a stroller.
Here’s a taste of what my week has been like, in 20 thoughts:
- I feel like it’s my first day! Why am I so nervous?
- Did I get everything on his school list? I don’t want the teacher to start out hating me.
- He’s too young to be going off on a bus by himself!
- The bus is actually guy in a minivan. This creeps me out.
- What is he doing right this moment? (sob)
- Seriously, am I going to get a schedule or something? What the hell is he doing all day?
- There is so much I can be doing here at home that I can’t figure out what to do first.
- Let me go run some errands.
- Oh, look at that little baby in the stroller! (sob)
- Here’s a toddler in a cart. He’s not in preschool. Sam is too young for preschool all day. Why did I do this to him?
- Why did I do this to me?
- Where is the damn minivan? He’s late. Maybe they got in a car accident.
- Seriously, where are they??
- Oh they’re here.
- I wish LM could tell me what he did today. Why doesn’t the teacher write in the little book we send back and forth?
- She wrote in the book! Oh wait, it’s to ask for hearing aid batteries. But I did put in hearing aid batteries because they were on the list. She probably just didn’t see them because I put them in the same bag as his extra clothes. Great. She already thinks I’ve forgotten stuff. But I didn’t!
- I’m on snack duty first. I have no idea how this works: Is it a different snack every day? How to do I get it to school? I have to make sure to get good (a.k.a. healthy) snacks so I can impress the teacher.
- Why did his art smock get sent back home? It’s not dirty. Hm.
- I have no idea what the F I’m doing.
- I miss my baby.
I find myself singing ABBA’s “Slipping Through My Fingers” (really, it’s one of the best songs about parenting ever) while staring out the window waiting for him to get home. Luckily, LM has adjusted really well to being at school. It’s me who’s having a hard time. This parenting thing never gets easier, does it?
What were your thoughts when your kid first went off to school? Am I normal?