• Back to Pre-school: Homework, Alarm Clocks and Vodka

    by Theresa Reichman

    I’ve been on a bit of a writing hiatus as of late. My apologies. I had no idea that when my kid started preschool there’d be so much more work for me.

    The hardest part of this whole transition wasn’t what I expected it would be (the letting go factor). After harboring this little life under my maternal wing for three years, and not missing so much as a hiccup, I was a bit flighty about this whole “school” ordeal. But I’ll be honest. There’s only been one “OMG, my baby isn’t with me!” moment.

    I was cruising away from Miss Scarlett’s preschool when “Hey Soul Sister,” by Train came on the radio. I cranked it up and as we rolled to a stop at a traffic light, I turned around to sing and dance and beam at my little rock star – who’s favorite jam happened to be, yes, “Hey Soul Sister” by Train. But all that stared back at me was an empty car seat. No stoked 3-year-old belting out the words to her favorite song and giggling at her mama’s silly dance moves. Just an empty car seat and an abandoned cup of milk with a few drops left over in the bottom from Scarlett’s breakfast.

    But aside from that one moment of shear maternal heartbreak, I actually appreciate the one-on-one time with Cecilia, and my God, I forgot how much easier running errands is when there is only one child to buckle and unbuckle, to tote and entertain. Those three hours, three times a week have become savored only-child treasures for the littlest and myself.

    However, I have a confession. I’m having a tough time rocking out the whole school-mama thing. Get this: In preschool, it’s not the kids who have homework, it’s the parents. Shyeah, wasn’t expecting that! Every day when I pick Scarlett up, I wince as I unzip her pink princess book bag and peak inside to see a stack of paper waiting to be sifted through. Book fairs, picture day, field trip permission slips, Star Student forms, requests to send in a family photo (which, I discovered, the most recent family photo we had of all four of us was when Cecilia, my now 18-month-old daughter, was still in the hospital, just days old), and the list goes on.

    But the homework hasn’t even been the toughest part. Nope. The hardest part is the alarm.

    After being a stay-at-home mother for three years, having a thyroid problem which makes me question if sleep addiction is really impossible, and having two daughters who adore their beauty rest, 7:30 a.m. has become a difficult wake up call.

    I don’t even have a minivan. What kind of preschool mom am I, really?!

    But I’m determined. Even if I have to chug coffee every morning like a freshman chugs a handle of vodka in an attempt to be accepted into a sorority. Even if I have to walk around with Post-It notes stuck to my forehead in order to remember those apples for Johnny Appleseed day. Even if I have to implement a 9 p.m. bedtime for myself. Even if my little Kia Optima has to slink its way between two shiny new Honda Odysseys every morning in the parking lot. Even if. I’m going to get the hang of this preschool mom thing, and I’m going to rock it out.

    But right now? Right now, I’m going to take a nap.

      • Madgew

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:07 am
      • Reply

      Relax. If you have a choice take afternoon pre school. It really works for families like yours. Also when she gets to kindergarten some schools give you a choice of coming an hour earlier and getting out early in the day or like my grandsons starting an hour later and staying an hour more at the end. This way school starts for them at 9 instead of 8 and they get out at 2:40 instead of 1:40. My dil and son think it is ideal and they can transition to all day when they go to first grade when everyone goes the same time. If not available early bedtimes for everyone but mostly for you. Great column. Good luck. It all works in the end.

      Sunday, October 31, 2010 – 10:59 PM

      • Jesse

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:08 am
      • Reply

      Nice job. It doesn’t seem so long ago I was 24 and taking Crystal to preschool, or 30 something with Jarrett and Caitlin. Goodtimes!

      Monday, November 15, 2010 – 09:33 PM

      • Pappap

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:08 am
      • Reply

      Hey Theresa, Nice transition from sleeping in. I like the Vodka reference. But it will never replace Long Island Tea!!!

      Thursday, November 18, 2010 – 09:42 PM

      • Ashley Zig

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:09 am
      • Reply

      I love the ” I dont even have a minivan. What kind of preschool mom am i ?”.. i think I am going to have one by the time Levi is 2..i have a feeling. Your making me nervous about the whole strapping two kids in thing.. i think i could honestly have nightmares at this point about how terribly difficult its going to be for me to go anywhere with a baby and toddler/two toddlers- at least i have two friends who have been through it (you and carolyn).

      Tuesday, December 14, 2010 – 09:00 AM

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