Before school starts ... - Baby Steps in High Heels

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Before school starts ...

As a parent, making peace with day care has been an uphill battle. We tried three different places before we landed where we are today. My first hesitations were a mix of new-mom apprehensions and the location of the center, which was across town from our house. We loved, and I mean loved, a few of the teachers at the second day care, but the overall atmosphere was not ideal. And, we didn’t love our child’s current teacher when we decided to move again.

Finally, we ended up at a smaller preschool located about half a mile from our home. It was housed in a church and offered a Christian curriculum. I continued to struggle with my own mom issues when things weren’t done exactly as I would have liked. Actually, I still struggle with a few things here and there – like, is there a reason my son still has lunch remnants on his face when I pick him up at 5:00? But, aside from a few minor things, we have been truly blessed with the teachers and staff at our current school.

The most significant problem is that, unfortunately, we have outlived most of the truly great teachers. The first amazing teacher, the one who loved, nurtured, and potty trained my daughter moved away to be closer to family. The second amazing teacher, the one who was there when the preschool-atmosphere really picked up for my oldest, is actually still working at our day care. However, she is so good at what she does that she has taken on more of an administrative role, and I worry that she will no longer be in the classroom by the time my son gets to that class level.

Miss Mighty’s final teacher this last year has been a Godsend. It’s not often that a day care employs a teacher with an actual teaching degree. Miss Abby has really brought out the very best in my daughter, and I teared up this week as we talked during pick-up. Not only are we starting Kindergarten, but Abby is leaving for a new teaching job with a local school district. We talked about her work with my child, how much love there is between the two of them, and how both will be starting new adventures in the coming days. These are new and exciting changes for all of us, but change is still difficult. 

Although I have checked all the boxes on the Kinder Prep checklist (school supplies, clothes within dress code, join the PTA …. Yes, yes I did), I have been intentionally avoiding the emotional side of our transition to Kindergarten. This requires more than just facing the simple fact that my baby is growing up and will be taking her first steps into the real world. It’s a big transition in our proverbial village as well. There will be a new teacher, principal, friends, and friends’ parents … all brand new relationships to cultivate. Who will we trust? Who will give us pause? How long until we feel comfortable enough to relax our guard?

We will also transition our schedules and activities, our priorities (did somebody say homework?!), and our lives. Okay, okay, maybe a five-year-old going to Kindergarten won’t really turn our lives upside down, but it will be an adjustment. Just today, I realized that this will be the last Wednesday evening before school starts that we can push bedtimes, meet friends for dinner and live music, and not worry if the kids sleep a few minutes late in the morning.

What are you thinking about before school starts? Will your village be changing this year? How are you holding up? 

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