Kids↹Leisure Technology / Imagination

My Baby is in Pre-K

August 5, 2017
My Baby is in Pre-K

The disenchantment one can experience when creating a complicated password, particularly when it must be changed frequently, is equivalent to the injury a parent’s feelings can occupy when dropping off their first-born child in a Pre-K classroom. Emotion is a colossal pain in the butt. It’s one thing to be the most certain that the baby is socially, physically, mentally, intellectually, and developmentally ready to attend Pre-K. It’s quite another to be forced into accessing those qualities alongside delegating the thoughts that come charging at a parent once alone: instincts of concern, confusion, age, gloom, and guilt combine and commute.  

Gosh, so much unforeseen guilt. 

“I just sent my kid to complete strangers for an entire day. For months on end. So many months.” 

“Bad parent.” 

Never mind that Jrue started daycare back in January. He attended 80% of the center’s days in business for about six hours a day. We freely referred to it as “school” and maintained his daily schedule on weekends and on days he spent with mommy and daddy at the office. We disenrolled him for a self-imposed “summer break” in July for about three weeks prior to starting Pre-K since we knew that it would be nonstop until fall break in September. It didn’t hurt to save that three weeks’ worth of childcare tuition, either. 

Daycare is, however, not Pre-K. 

Jrue’s Pre-K carries those eccentricities seen in having to invent passwords that call for “the most” in security complexity requirements.  

How about looking at an example of how annoying password criteria can be? Robert McMillan of Wired answered the pledge: “Make it at least eight characters long, but no more than 12. Don’t repeat any characters more than twice. Make sure it has at least one letter, and one number. In fact, it has to start with a number. You can’t use a user name or any password you’ve tried in the past. And finally, you have to use one of these characters somewhere in your password: ~!@#$%^&*()-_+={}[]\|;:/?.,<>. And try to make it memorable.” (McMillan, 2012) 

I have gone through this password charade more than once. And, even still, the information stored in an online system may not be so successfully protected. 

Broken down to relate to my son’s Pre-K mandates, here’s what the hubs and I are currently mastering. 

Length and repeatWe are on the county’s public school timeline in terms of care length and student breaks. Our son must be carpooled by his parents or persons on our approved pickup list, which is great for protection. We have a 15-minute grace period to pick him up after school, which also works well for times when I get trapped behind a slower driver. Not so great is that school lets out at such an awkward time of the workday…right there between the “This-is-not-a-lunch-break” and “I-need-a-nap” time…before being relegated to pay for after-care. 

It’s not so much that we don’t want to pony up the dough to prolong his day so that mommy won’t always look like she’s sneaking out to get him. We have, in fact, adjusted our workday so that I enter earlier to leave earlier. It’s just that stretching out his day seems so…unkind…at this point in his early school career. He is adjusting to a longer day as we adjust to worrying about his matriculation. 

To put it more plainly, I miss Jrue when he is not around and will miss him even more if I know that we forced him to be with teachers for a full 8-hour or more workday. My mommy stick shortens. That honestly sucks for me. I already struggle with balancing being mommy with being a professional. Working mommies often face such staunch sacrifices. 

Starting with a number. Ours is “6:30 a.m.” This is the time two adults, one preschooler, and one young toddler must all rise, wash, dress, eat, load and get Jrue at his classroom’s door by 7:45 a.m. Some minutes are much faster than others. We initially had a weird little gap between taking Jrue to school and going into work, but have since adjusted the day’s start. After a week of our new routine, however, I haven’t yet adapted. 

I can’t be more thankful that caffeine abounds. Jrue’s strolling into my bedroom before seven on a Saturday morning takes some getting used to. 

We live by the clock. One of my biggest fears is forgetting him at school or being temporarily unable to pick him up. That kind of unease has to be fresh of mommies with kids new to regular school, much like the fear of dropping a baby when they are tiny. I will try not to subconsciously raise my blood pressure as we align to the powers around us. 

Not using a past “life.” When I quiz Jrue on what he had done in a given day, he mentions the names of his last two teachers. It’s comedy relief between me and the hubs that our son may have had a crush on one of his two caretakers. But now that he is in the “bigger kids” classroom with new teachers, we have to perform a slow ejection of the former from his memory. 

I would imagine that this becomes easier over the school years. For me, it’s going to become a case of getting involved and supplying resources, time, and support to my son’s peers and educators without getting close. At least the main constant existing is in the fact that most of his daycare friends followed him to Pre-K. 

This is going to be awful next year when he goes to an elementary school for kindergarten, and most of the kids are split amongst the many that we have in the area. 

Use special characters. During Open House three days before the first day of Pre-K, we were instructed leave all personables, including book bags, at home, though Jrue has had an exciting, brand-new backpack for months. Zero supplies were needed, though school supplies run rampant through my house and through my family’s enthusiastic wishes. All that was needed for Jrue’s first day was a clean blanket the size of a beach towel and a labeled change of clothes. 

I was secretly disappointed. Jrue didn’t care. 

I suppose we are one year ahead. 

As it stands, I eventually meet the needs of an intricate password and move ahead. Just the same, I will fully conform to this idea called “school” for my big boy, just as Jai pulls up to the curb in three years to go. In much the similar way of forgetting the password I pieced together and having to do the process over again, I’m sure her school-related responsibilities will just add to my mommy misgivings. 

Now that I look back, it seems to be about me and my feelings, after all. 

Seeing them grow up is hard. 

Work Cited 

McMillan, Robert. “Do You Really Need a Password You Can Barely Remember?” Wired, Jan. 12, 2012, https://www.wired.com/2012/01/simple-pw/. Accessed Aug. 5, 2017. 

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