Tuesday, August 31

Preparing for Preschool

Sometimes I think that the things that happen in my life are simply for the pure comedic pleasure of others around me-- the one's standing by on the sidelines who don't look all sweaty and windblown-- they look like they have their acts together.

 The one's who know right where their calendars and their keys are (because they actually use their calendars and are thoughtful about where they place their keys).

My life is an allegory, a sit-com, a satire about motherhood...


Because we need someone or something to laugh at some days so that we don't cry. 

I was THAT mom today. 

The morning started off on a good note. Ava is starting pre-school next week and in the packet of information I received came an announcement that read, "Stop in between 10 & 11 for our "Meet & Greet" on Tuesday, August 31st."

Well, to me that means to stop in anytime between 10-11 and you can just say hi to the teacher see the classroom quickly and we'll all be on our merry way. 

Well apparently it was also interpreted as come at 10 and stay for a while and let your kids play in the classroom with the other kids. It was interpreted that way by MOST other parents.  

We arrived at the church at 10:40, Ava promptly ran over to the sidewalk, tripped on the curb and scraped her knee-- so now not only were we running behind but I had a crying toddler in my arms while trying to hold Ella's hand so that I wouldn't lose her. 

EVERYONE else was there. EVERYONE. Did I say EVERYONE? We were so evidently the last one's to arrive in a total flurry and with a crying child that several people who knew me asked me if everything was o.k.

I assure them all that everything is fine. "Just off to a late start," I say smiling.  

So...we walk in, in a flurry, scope out the room, wave to a couple of people and Ava's teacher walks over to introduce herself. We'll call her Sally Wilson for the purpose of this story...

"Oh, Hi Sally! Nice to meet you," I say. 

"Hi," she says as she squats down to greet Ava and myself. 

"Ava, say hello to Miss Sally." I look at Ava and then at 'Miss Sally'.

"Actually, it is Mrs. Wilson," she corrects me. 

"Oh...um...Ava, say hello to Mrs. Wilson." 

Mrs. Wilson goes on.

"So if you have Ava's art smock you can put it over there and I can take her medical forms." 

"If I don't have them today I can bring them next week to orientation right?"

"Oh right. That's fine."

[The packet DID say bring them to orientation not open house. I swear!)

So...already...it's not even Ava's first day of preschool and I've broken rules #1, #2, and #3-- evidently the parents of preschoolers are supposed to A) show up early and B) know to call teachers by their last names and not their first, and C) have all supplies ready at open house not orientation. 

We slowly worked our way into the classroom. I sat Ava down on a chair and got her a cold paper towel for her knee and occupied her with a puzzle while I tried to catch my breath. 

Alright Lisa, fill out the information card the teacher handed you....

I look down...

"Please provide:
     Your Name/Child's Name
     email address
     street address
     phone number"

Shit. What is our address? Is it 26, 29? Is it 28?

[I know you all think I'm making this up...but seriously I was SO flustered I couldn't remember my own address]

Come on Lisa...you're an adult. What is your address?

Want to know what I did? 

I walked over to our diaper bag, pulled out my calendar in which I had stuffed the packet of preschool information that arrived at the house and looked at the addressed envelope to find that I in fact live at #28. 

After I fill in the information, sign up for a parent teacher conference and am about to walk out the door I overhear a conversation another mom is having with the teacher. 

"So, should I put a change of clothes in her backpack? Anything else?"

Backpack?!!! Ava needs a backpack. Lisa! Your daughter needs a backpack! You should KNOW these things!

Thank goodness I overheard this conversation because I was about to break rule #4 next week: NEVER EVER send your pre-schooler to school without a labeled backpack!  

So anyway, after we make it out of the room I meet up with a friend whose daughter is also starting preschool. She and I had decided the day prior to grab lunch after the open house. She is mommy to a 3 year old and and almost 1 year old.

2 moms + 4 girls =  well...I know I've done the math on this before and it's not good...I don't know why we thought it would be any different today. 

 The thing is...her girls are great. They sit in their seats, they're well behaved. My girls on the other hand... let's just say the restaurant probably has our pictures posted in the back with warning signs on it for all employees to reference in the future. 

The place was a mob scene first of all, but we figured anywhere else we went would probably be busy and chaotic anyway so we scoped out a row of 5 chairs by the front window, grabbed high-chairs and headed to get in line...Well, go figure, Ella is CRANKY because she has been sitting in a stroller (Oh, I forgot to mention- we went to Carter's to look at fall clothing for the girls beforehand and Ella spent 30 quiet minutes in a stroller while our 3 year olds pulled socks and mittens off racks and played hide and go seek in them)  and has ZERO interest in sitting in a highchair in a busy restaurant and Ava reports that she needs to go to the bathroom. 

I entrust some lady in her 50's who happened to be sitting next to us to watch Ella (she offered...I had no other choice!) and took Ava to the bathroom. We finally get out, get our food and sit down and just as I think I'm going to be able to eat my salad Ella starts pitching a FIT. 

Seriously, the girl has the biggest temper I have ever seen. 

I break up some quesadilla. She bats it to the ground.
I give her some shredded cheese. She kicks and shrieks and bats it away.
I give her a tortilla chip- she says no 8 times, screams and bats it away. 

She goes to reach for Ava's chocolate milk. Ava turns her head. I ask Ava to let her have some and I'll got get her another one. 

Ava starts sobbing! Sobbing! She does not want to share her chocolate milk. 

Screaming toddler batting food. Sobbing toddler clutching chocolate milk. 

I run to the register, cut in front of a dozen people and say to the cashier, "I'm so sorry. I really need a chocolate milk. My children are having a fit."

She obliges, grabs me one, and cashes me out quickly. 

I take it back to Ella. 

She screams . She says NO. NO. NO. She tries to bat the chocolate milk out of my hand. 

I finally take her outside because she is having such a fit. She calms down for a moment. I take her back inside and the tantrum ensues. 

Three minutes later we decide I should just take my food to go. 

I throw the girls in the car...my purse, leftovers and shopping bag are sitting on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant unattended while I do this, but I can't carry the girls and all that stuff. 

Some random lady comes running out of the restaurant. 

"Miss! Miss! You forgot your stroller!" 

"Yes. Thank you. I know." 

Can she not see that I don't have 8 arms?! 

I put my bags in the car. I run in, get the stroller, throw it in the car and we start driving home. 

Ella continues screaming. SCREAMING. I try turning the music up, she screams louder. I offer her water and binkies, she screams louder.  I finally stop the car on the side of the road, get out, open her door, hold her hands down in her lap, push her binky in her mouth and hold her until she calms down. 

She finally does. 

She doesn't say a word the rest of the way home. 

We make it home and she's smiling again. 

Oi! Girls. 

So anyway, I've decided that preschool is more for me that it is for Ava. It is a chance for me to get into the groove of being a responsible parent. Of getting my children up and dressed. Getting them fed and out the door ON TIME! It is a chance for me to learn the protocol that I OBVIOUSLY did not get the memo on...you know, the one all the other parents got! 

So...if I'm missing anything else here let me know...I'm hoping to be on top of things a little more going forward if not for my own sake than in an attempt to not embarrass my child...because as a former high-school teacher, I've seen those parents who are good at embarrassing their children!

Here's to Happier Preschool Days and my becoming a more organized momma! 


  1. Wow Lisa, you had just as rough as a day as I. Even after all that, you text me to see how I and doing?? I was so lost in my own emotions, I didn't even know what was all going on in your world! Poor Ella! Well at least we learned a good lesson! Next time we get an incling to go out, we will go to Bounce Magic, the girls can jump there heads off, and we can sit and eat pizza.


  2. Gosh that sounds just like me and the only thing different in your bio is the last line! I think all us writers must have the same qualities. If you think about it, non-writers must have oodles more thinking time on their hands. And it is the thinking that makes them organised. Glad we are all in this together :)

  3. Oh my gosh! You sure can make me laugh! What a post and what a day!


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