This is a guest post by my Best Blog Friend, Jessica of Cloth Diapering Mama. Cloth Mama Jess is a wealth of knowledge on green living and natural parenting!
We’ve all heard the saying, “they grow up too fast…” well on the first morning of preschool for my first born, Nathan, that sentiment was loud and clear, yet, bittersweet for me. I was looking at a tiny boy about to turn 3, he wore a Thomas the Train backpack and a smile that SANG excitement.
My newborn son, Brady, was 8 days old. My husband was already back to work. My parents had returned to Boston. It was just me and my kids. Wasn’t this my dream? Two days prior when my husband toured the school with Nathan I was adamant that I wouldn’t use preschool as a daycare, yet, here I was marching my son into his first classroom when he was barely out of diapers.
Day 1 didn’t go very well, Nathan peed and pooped in his pants and *gasp* no-one noticed, he had a rash on his behind and I was furious (Nathan had a blast, though). We decided, after an emotional phone call to the school’s director that we’d move him into another group and give it another shot. Since then (over a year ago) its been pretty much smooth sailing and I’d like to share with you the top 5 reasons that preschool works for this AP family.
5. GET UP and GO… Getting Nathan up and ready for school is probably the only “routine” that we follow in this house daily, and the baby and I love to go hang out at there and play in the school yard at drop off time. In fact I often have to wake the baby to bring Nathan to school, at first he is fussy…then I say, “want to go to Nathan’s school?” He runs to the door, a wonderful start to our mornings!
4. Bonding, breastfeeding, baking & bed-making! My new set of baby-b’s! With Nathan at school from 8:30 until 12:30, I am able to have one-on-one time with my younger son. We do spend a lot of the time cooking and cleaning, but these tasks are much easier to accomplish with one child at home…minus the sibling rivalry. In the early days I would spend lots of time in my rocking chair, nursing away, gazing at my newborn, napping when I could…now we nurse on the fly, the way toddlers love to do, but we still have those quiet moments together and just before my baby closes his eyes before naptime we both revel in those magical moments that fade away much too quickly. When brother is at school I have a few hours to mother my babe, with 100% of myself.
3. Pressure gauge released! With my big guy in good hands I can rest assured that, YES, he is learning his letters, numbers, nursery rhymes and songs without my direction. Don’t get me wrong, I love to teach my son about life and nature…we love to experience the world together…but I’m not a motivated teacher and I’m challenged with finding it in me to practice things within the academic realm. If I lived on a farm, a ranch…or even if I had a yard, I might consider un-schooling my kids until age 4 or 5, but condo life is not conducive to effortless and boundless organic adventures. Of course there are always learning experiences in every environment, however, I feel that the school yard, the garden, the science center, the lizards, frogs and fish at my son’s pre-school are excellent substitutes for my lack of spacial exploration.
2. Playdates…no thanks! Don’t get me wrong, I love the occasional playdate. Who doesn’t crave the conversation of another mom once in a while? I just find play-dates and play-groups to be very stressful on the kids and on myself. I lose any sort of “ZEN-like” state of mind when my child is being hit in the head by a stick…or is hitting another child in the head with a stick. I have two boys, these things happen all the time, its normal behavior, it just stresses me out! At preschool my son gets to play with his friends all morning, the teachers are supervising and yes there is hitting and rough play, but these women have a wonderful ability to re-direct the children (without mommy guilt or ego because your child has mamed another). No need for an afternoon play date. PHEW!
1. HOME SWEET HOME! What I mean by that sentiment is a sense of community. We have no family in the area, everyone we love is 3,000 miles away. We are not church-going people and we’ve had our fair share of neighbor issues…so…we really have embraced the staff and other students from the preschool as our extended family. I am great friends with many of the teachers and I adore the other kids in the program. We celebrate birthdays together, holidays, milestones and also those hard moments, like boo-boos and missing mommy’s, etc. In fact, today is the Summer Carnival for the school! Nathan has been so excited all week and whispered to himself the whole way to school, “today is Carnival day, its Friday, Carnival is today.” I’ll be volunteering my massage services in my very own booth tonight and my place of work graciously donated a massage to the school’s raffle.
The school is part of our life, a very important part, that I am happy to say has ENHANCED our attachment, not hindered. We may be physically apart for four hours Monday through Thursday, but when I open the door at pickup time I am greeted with stories and hugs and smiles…just what my little boy and my family needs!
Jessica Lang is a Holistic Health Practitioner, wife, and mom of 2 boys. As a green, eco-living enthusiast, she urges others to join her quest to spread Natural and Green Parenting methods. Jessica blogs at http://www.clothdiaperingmama.com. You can also find her on Facebook. Be sure to tune in on Wednesdays for a special feature for lactating mamas!