Monday, January 12, 2009

Sarah--One; MonkeyMind--Zero....

So is it bad that while I was on the phone this morning with eleventy billion (or six) pre-schools, my child sat way too close to the TV (like front-row-of-the-movie-theater-get-a-crick
-in-your-neck- close), eating chips (Sun Chips--those are healthy, right? They've got "whole grains" in them) and singing along with Pinky Dinky Doo (who makes me absolutely mental)? I'm still a good mom, right? Sigh.

After I hit "publish" last night on yesterday's post, it occurred to me that I had made myself way too accountable for the whole "being responsible and calling preschools because my child is--gasp!--almost three and not filling out applications for early decision at Harvard yet." Telling you all out there in the blogosphere that I was going to overcome my phone-fear and my failure-fear and my disapproving professionals fear (the one where the voice on the other side of the phone says, "this should have been done months ago!", and is incidentally the reason why I've not seen a dentist in....well, too long. Oh the fear of being scolded by the professionals!!!)...well, it was all too much. I spent most of the night tossing and turning, alternately fretting and giving myself mental pep talks. It was a long night (and a full moon, which is never good for the sleeping).

And in the morning, when the phone rang and I saw my babysitter's number on the caller ID, I knew I was being tested. Babysitters only call 20 minutes before they're supposed to arrive when it's bad news. Like "I'm sick as a dog and can't come today" type bad news. Ah, yes, Universe, how you love to test me (is it a sign of a narcisstic personality that I think my babysitter's sore throat has anything at all to do with the universe testing my resolve to accomplish something? Maybe.)

So Ethan and I stared at each other for several minutes and then proceeded to vegetate the morning away. There were cars to be played with and puzzles to fit together (and I had two traumatized cats in the guest room to deal with, but that's a WHOLE other story), not to mention the groceries that needed to be shopped for and the pictures that needed hanging in the bathroom. Oh, and a living room to clean and dishes to put away and a load of laundry to be done.

You get the picture. Someone (ME! ME! ME!) procrastinated on the responsible parenting thing (although I would argue in my defense that grocery shopping and cleaning are very responsible parenting things, as they pertain to the health and wellbeing, while not the education of, my child. Right?) I was a whirling dervish of activity. Except for the particular activity I promised I would tend to.

All of this before noon. And when noon rolled around and the groceries were put away, and the living room furniture was dusted and the clean clothes were folded and put away, I realized if the day passed without me making these calls, I was going to hate myself and feel like a giant failure. And worse, I was going to have to come here and be held accountable by the anonymous (and some not so anonymous) eyes of the interwebs.

So that's when Ethan found himself, sandwich and mini-bag of Sun Chips in hand, plopped in front of the TV (it was Noggin and you know what they say, "It's like preschool on TV!"--and he watches it often enough that maybe sending him to an actual preschool is, you know, superfluous). I sat at the dining room table with an actual note pad, calendar and pen; my computer screen open to the spread sheet of information that my Miss Excel friend had devised (and sent to me on more than one occasion). Oh, and the phone.

Do you have a phone voice? You know, the one that is higher pitched and softer than your normal voice? I've been told my phone voice is reminiscent of a DJ on an easy-listening radio station. I'm relatively abrasive in real life, so I love that my phone voice is such a weird little facade. I can't wait to work that voice in person. The "cool, calm, got her shit together mama" act is so ON. Bring it. It was in this voice that I said over and over again, "Yes, hi, I'm calling to see if it would be possible to schedule a time to come in and tour your facility."

I actually heard one woman's eyes roll. A few of the women were very nice (one, upon informing me that all of their students had to be potty-trained, gave me the old "nudge nudge wink wink" and said, "of course, all kids have accidents, so you just need to send him in with lots of changes of clothes in case!" I can only assume she either loved me immediately or they have a hard time filling their classes).

As it stands right now, I have five tours lined up between now and February 17th. It feels like a very mixed bag--the audible eye-roll lady let me know that they have an extensive waiting list (ie--"if you didn't put your kids name on the list by the time he was a zygote, changes are you're not getting in), and the woman at the Jewish nursery school made mention of spaces available this February (sorry, you can't have him until September! He's mine! All mine!!). But, perhaps naively, I feel like somewhere in those five preschools, there's a place for my little man.


Becca said...

I'm sure you will find something great! I used to be terrified of the phone but then I had a job where I HAD to call people over and over and ask for things (for a field project in college) and I finally got over it. It was immersion therapy. And as I write this my two are plopped in front of Curious George and in the distract-o-matic play gym, respectively. It's MY 30 minutes, MINE!

Rae Ann said...

Interviews? Tours? You are way more alpha mom than you give yourself credit for! I lucked into an awesome preschool for my daughter. I don't know what I would have done if I lived in a big town!

gringa said...

That's a high five! I think Ethan will survive nicely the time spent in front of the TV. Good luck on the visits.

Tress said...

Oh, you. Take a deep breath. I have read about this "pre-school anxiety" and I have never understood it (definitely in the "rolling my eyes" category of mothers). Maybe I just got lucky, but both girls went to a fantastic preschool and I put about, oh, two hours of effort into it.

Amy said...

Everything will work out, it always does. We didn't get into our big two choices, but Jack is enrolled in preschool and his teacher is great and he's happy and we love it. So don't worry, you will find a great place for him!

Emi said...

Breathe in the flower, blow out the candle... From the little I know about the power of living in the "now" is that you try to remember that right now, right here you are ok. So right now right here you are a fantastic mother. You will do an ab fab job.

Anonymous said...

when you said february at the gym i thought you meant next february! at least it's good to know you have one guaranteed possibility. here's the thing: i think i've told you how eve and lu went to a preschool that was a total evangelical christian traditional preschool because it was the only one i knew of when i moved to frederick (and i only knew about it because one neighbor recommended it). it was so not us. but we loved it - because the teachers were so sweet and it was a wonderful, warm environment for them. (and they held off on the evangelical stuff... pretty much). now lucy is in a preschool that IS so us, and we also love it. but the bottom line is, kids aren't picky and as long as you find a place that has a warm and friendly vibe, he will thrive there.
by the way, one of these days i'll sign in before writing a comment and not have to be "anon".

Molly said...

My husband and I, after examining and cross-examining every preschool in the greater Washington D.C. area, determined that pretty much every preschool does exactly the same thing: they practice their letters, they sing songs, they learn colors and numbers and animals and have cookies and juice and are encouraged to use the potty at regular intervals. After determining this, we picked the cheapest one where we liked the teacher and were in close proximity to my husband's work. Don't fret too hard about where Ethan goes; as long as you're comfortable, they're all pretty much alike. I think we made a final decision about pre-school two nights before Max had to start.