Monday, January 31, 2011

Preschool-Shop 'til You Drop

All I can think about right now is preschool - where, what kind, how much (holy fuck) - and it's exhausting. Rob, Westley, and I have gone on just two preschool tours so far, and I'm ready to give up the search. Not because we've found the right one so quickly, but because I feel completely overwhelmed and out of my element.

I'm sure all of the Good Mommies out there knew before their children were conceived that preschools have "philosophies." And furthermore, they knew what kind of "philosophy" best fit their life and parenting style. I, on the other hand, thought preschool was all about sitting on colorful rugs, learning to trust a teacher, dress-up corner, blocks...

Not true, it turns out.

Preschool, it turns out, is about things like "academic excellence" and "positive and productive emotional abilities" (huh?), and "increased competency." That seems like an awfully monosyllabic world for my 3-year-old.

Also, preschool costs a hundred million dollars. I was well-aware that any kind of childcare or child-oriented program out there - whether it's school, music lessons, science camp, whatever - would be pricey. But holy mother of God! It's truly a hundred million skillion dollars to send your child to preschool!

"Maybe preschool is designed for the two-income household," Rob speculated.

"But that's way more than I would make if I were working!" I pointed out, blinking at the Tuition page.

I'm also realizing that not only am I not one of the Good Mommies who majored in Preschool Philosophy and who has zillions of dollars sacked away for her child's education, I've also completely dropped the ball on preparing Westley for school. I haven't been drilling him on washing hands or dressing himself, for instance. He has no interest in playing with or even near other children. In fact, he loudly objects to it and will "shoot" peers who try to befriend him.

"That's not how to make friends," I tell him gently when he lashes out at other children.

"I can't pway with uh-ver chirren!" he insists. "I hate uh-ver chirren!"

Oh, yes. I completely dropped the ball on that one. I've gotten so lost in the care-and-feeding part of this job that I have completely neglected the "socializing" part. (Which might also explain why I have zero local friends.) Of course, preschool will presumably help with that.

You know, if we can rustle up a million dollars to pay for it.