Tag Archives: preschool

Preschool Graduate

Due to a fall birthday and my being overzealous about getting her out of the house when she stopped napping, Lily just spent as much time in preschool as she will in middle school. Nearly 3 years ago, I sent Lily to preschool and on Thursday she finally “graduated”.
Preschool2
It’s crazy to think that in this amount of time I went from elementary school to high school, yet my child only transitioned from preschool to kindergarten! She spent all three years in the same program, but never seemed to get bored with it and came out knowing MUCH more than when she started.

On Lily’s first day of preschool, I spent the whole three hours feeling lost without her. She’d almost never been away from me. I was also terrified she’d have an accident. She was barely potty trained in time and probably not well potty trained enough to be there, but her teacher was understanding and she somehow made it through that first semester. It wasn’t until that first semester was almost over that her teacher told me that Lily never talked to any of the teachers there! She didn’t really speak at school until the second semester.

Times have changed. Now Lily never shuts up at school, especially when she’s talking to a teacher. She’s a totally different person than the shy, scared not-quite 3 year old I dropped off almost 3 years ago. She can read, write and add. She has a sense of history and understands the community. She has friends. The potty is no longer an issue (though I’m still always on edge about it. Will that ever change?)

This year was particularly special because for the only time in their lives Lily and Rose were in the same classroom. Lily taught Rose how to be a good preschooler and they loved attending class together.

In August, a new chapter begins. Lily will start her formal education at our local public school while Rose continues on at the same preschool without her. Lily’s classes will be less about playing and more about learning.

When did I get an elementary school aged child in my house? Even though Lily was qualified for kindergarten last year and I delayed it, it’s still impossible to believe my little girl is old enough to go to kindergarten. I have vague memories of preschool, but I remember kindergarten well. How did we get here?

And if these three years of preschool flew by this quickly, how soon will elementary school be over? Am I going to wake up tomorrow and have a college graduate?

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That Time Lily went to Harvard Law for Preschool

This morning we were watching another invasive political ad designed to make me angry. I decided to do some teaching on politics.

Me: That guy there, Barack Obama, he’s the president. And that guy there is Mitt Romney. He wants to be the president.

Lily: I know! That guy, Barack, he’s from my school. He’s Barack and Obama.

Me: Oh no, he’s not from your school. He’s the president of the United States of America.

Lily: He’s from my school!

Me: No, you don’t go to preschool with anyone named Barack Obama!

Lily: I did last year! I know his name! Barack Obama!

She didn’t. I know she read a book about Barack Obama on President’s Day last year, but other than that, no. I’m pretty sure if the president had been to her preschool, I would have heard about it!

And that’s as political as I get on this blog even though I have a very definite political view. Hints: Jewish, biracial marriage, journalist, liberal arts major, wife to a university lecturer, daughter of hippies… I’m sure that combination of stereotypes gives absolutely nothing away.

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School’s Out For Summer

Lily is a university student. That’s right, my 4 year old goes to college.

It sounds really impressive when I put it that way, but in reality she attends a preschool put on through the university to train its early childhood development students. There are so many great things about Lily’s preschool, but there is one major drawback: It’s on the same schedule as the university.

Often staying on the same schedule on the university is really nice. Lily gets the exact same breaks from school as her dad does. If we ever want to take a spring or winter break trip, we don’t have to worry about conflicting schedules like we will when she starts public school.

It’s not so great, however, when college breaks for nearly four months for the summer (or 6 weeks for Christmas if you count finals week and orientation for the student teachers) and Lily’s left without stimulation from school for nearly that whole period of time.

There are summer programs available, but almost all of the start at 8:30 in the morning. Lily WAKES UP at 8:30 in the morning, so making it to a program like that is really difficult for us. Yes, someday she will have to get up for school earlier than that, but we aren’t there yet and I’m a night owl and don’t feel like worrying about it quite yet.

This summer we are left with an endless abyss of no real plans. The new baby is due June 9 and almost every single summer activity available seems to fall around that date. I can’t commit to anything for the entire month of June. I have no idea what our schedule will be like once Violet gets here. So we are stuck.

Maybe having a new baby around will be enough stimulation for Lily? Maybe Lily won’t drive me up the wall this summer? Last summer I signed her up for a bunch of preschool programs through Parks & Rec and we ended up being overscheduled and needing a break. I actually ended up canceling one of her summer camps because we were exhausted (and ridiculously tan) after two weeks of daily swim lessons. This summer, not one.

We’ve already been on break since Thursday. Will we survive this summer? How will I do without a nap in the afternoon at almost 9 months pregnant and later with an infant waking me up all night?

Also, I need to potty train Rose this summer. Will I lose my mind completely?

Stay tuned to find out.

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Mom Failure

For two weeks, every time I looked at the calendar, I reminded myself that on Friday the 20th we were going to Lily’s preschool art show. It is one of my favorite events at the preschool and I couldn’t wait to see what Lily made this year. All week long, I would list the things we were doing “On Monday, we have dance. On Tuesday, we’re meeting our friends. On Thursday, Mommy is going to the doctor. On Friday, we have your art show!”

Well, Friday came and I didn’t think of her art show all day. My husband came home from work and we went out to a fancy dinner at Arby’s. On the way home, a friend called us to see if he could come over to play board games. We said sure, but our house was upside down, I hadn’t showered and the kids needed a bath before bed. We rushed home to get our lives in order before our friend walked in the door. Our friend was bringing a date we hadn’t met before, otherwise we might have allowed our true habitat to be seen. Strangers can’t know what slobs we are. Actually, we’d prefer friends not know what slobs we are, but they’ve probably figured it out by now. This friend used to live with Dr. Toy Warden, so he truly knew of our true nature, but it was the date we were trying to impress. Or at least not disgust.

We got the house in order as fast as we could. I showered. Dr. Toy Warden took the kids up for a bath while I vacuumed the FINALLY toy-debris-free floors. While I was vacuuming at 7:15, I looked up at the calendar and saw the words “Lily’s Art Show, 7-8 pm”.

I still don’t know how we could have completely forgotten about it. I’d been reminding us ALL about the show for two weeks, but the day of the actual show I dropped the ball.

I felt like the worst mom on earth! How could I just forget?

Luckily, Lily didn’t mind too much that we were missing her show. In fact, she got out of the tub before her sister so I offered to rush her over to her school. She actually said no! She thought she couldn’t go to the show and see our friend. I told her she could do both, but she just wanted to stay home.

So we did.

I’m sure it’s not the last child event we’ll completely space out, but it’s the first! I hope we can get our act together when we have THREE kids with special activities. I fear blowing off performances and big games. Please let me remember. Apparently the calendar and talking about it constantly was not enough.

Maybe I can get a pregnancy brain pass this time?

Oh well.

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Evolution of an Engineer

Last year at Lily’s preschool art show, we were amused when we discovered that Lily labeled her creative project as a “decorated cereal box”. All of the other kids were calling their equally unimpressive decorated cereal boxes as things like “food and drink machines” and “bat caves”, but Lily insisted her decorated cereal box was a decorated cereal box.

And it was.

But I was never more sure that she was going to be an engineer than at that moment!

This year, I was very surprised when I saw her art projects and saw THIS explanation next to her “invention”.

WHOA. I guess the future engineer DOES have some creativity in there after all. Perhaps she even has quite a bit of creativity. Although when I pointed out the difference between last year and this year to her preschool teacher, she told me that Lily had originally said she “didn’t know” what her “invention” did. After Lily heard some of the other kids describe their inventions, she came up with this elaborate description. Even engineers need some creativity. I mean, they do invent new machines and stuff, and that’s exactly what our little engineer did here.

Lily's "wall" invention

I’m trying to decide which answer a like better– the run-on sentence “wall” machine or “a decorated cereal box”.

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On Pluto

This week Lily was learning about outer space at preschool. They wrapped up the week yesterday by going to our university’s planetarium (I didn’t realize we had one and it’s literally 5 minutes from my house!). On Monday, I started asking her about the planets and what she’d learned. I honestly wasn’t that sure anymore what was going on with them. I know at one point they decided Pluto was not a planet and then they found something else beyond Pluto, but I wasn’t sure if they’d classified THAT as a planet. And then I remembered more debate over whether or not Pluto was a planet. Was Pluto still a planet? Were there nine planets or ten or eight or what? I just wasn’t sure anymore.

I was trying to discuss it with my husband (but did not Google it for some reason) only to have him repeatedly declare “I don’t know and I don’t care!” Some scientist he is! Lily informed me that there were nine planets, but I wasn’t sure if the nine were the original nine I learned or nine minus Pluto plus that thing they found past Pluto, which Google tells me is called Eris. Who knew?

Anyway, I didn’t think Lily was paying any attention to me and my unresearched “Is Pluto still a planet?” debate when she came home from preschool yesterday and came straight up to me and said “Mommy, Pluto IS a planet!”

It is?

“Yes! There are nine planets! Pluto is VERY small, but it is a planet. It’s the last planet.”

I thought it was so cute and smart of her to not only remember that I wasn’t sure about this, but to confirm it for me.

Today Google tells me that some scientists have decided that Pluto is a planet again because it has its own moon. I can’t tell for sure if this is the official conclusion or if it is still up for debate. Google also tells me that Eris thing past Pluto IS a tenth planet, but I guess they aren’t teaching that in preschool just yet.

Our solar system was so much simpler when I was a kid!

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Looks Just Like…

Earlier this week we were at the park when Lily came up to me frantic about some kid climbing up the slide.

Lily: Mommy, LOOK!

Me: What?

Lily: LOOK, Mommy, LOOK!!!! That boy!

Me: Which boy?

Lily: That boy climbing up the slide!!!!

Me: Oh, I know I tell you not to climb up the slide, but there’s no one at the top and if his mommy says it’s ok, it’s ok. I rather you didn’t do it though. It’s dangerous.

Lily: LOOK!

Me: What?!

Lily: That boy on the slide!

Me: I see him. It’s really ok. Don’t worry about him.

Lily: No, Mommy! Look!

Me: I really don’t know what you want me to see.

Lily: That boy looks just like Paul!

Me: Oh. Paul from school?

Lily: YES!

Me: Well is it Paul? I don’t know what Paul looks like.

Lily: That boy looks just like Paul!

Me: Is it Paul, or does it just LOOK like Paul?

Lily: It IS Paul.

Me: Well… go say hi to him then!

She played with Paul the rest of the time we were at the park.

Am I a horrible human being that I can’t identify hardly any of the boys in Lily’s preschool class? There are 12 of them and I swear most of them are identical to me! The ones I can identify either also went to preschool with her last year or have some unique physical characteristic that distinguishes them to me. With 12 boys in Lily’s class this year, all I see is a blur of short haired kids who move too quickly for me to memorize their faces!

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Never Try

Last semester, I asked Lily’s teacher if we could read a story about Purim and eat Hamantaschen. She said it sounded like fun and I promptly forgot about it until I looked at the calendar 3 weeks ago and realized Purim was during our university’s (and therefore Lily’s preschool’s) spring break. Oops! I emailed Lily’s teacher and set up to come in a week late for Purim.

I got everything ready to give a nice presentation to the kids. The only Purim book at the library kind of sucked, so I even went to the trouble of finding a great abridged Purim story online, printing it up, dissecting it, and taping parts of the story to appropriate illustrations. (I procrastinated on this part, but I DID get it done). I made about 50 Hamantaschen and was ready to go. It was going to be great. Or, at the very least, passable.

Unfortunately Rose had other plans about my presentation at Lily’s school.

Rose LOVES going to Lily’s school. Whenever we go inside, she joyfully runs to the play kitchen and starts making food. She loves being there and always puts up a fuss about leaving (thank goodness they offer door-to-door kid delivery service and Rose usually stays in the car!). This time we were staying so I thought she would be good. I thought she could keep playing with food while I read.

I thought wrong.

Circle time happens about 30 minutes after school starts. Rose played happily for the first 20 minutes we were there. She looks like she’s 3 instead of 2 so she fit right in UNTIL…

Another kid wanted to play with a toy that was NEAR her. It wasn’t even a toy she was holding. It was a toy that was NEAR her. This was UNACCEPTABLE apparently and she yelled no and latched on to the toy. I told her she had to share and gave the toy (it was actually an entire basket of small blocks) to the boy. A major tantrum followed.

I tried EVERYTHING to get Rose to stop crying and screaming and throwing herself on the ground. I tried to distract her with other toys. I ignored her. I pointed out the class pets. I gave her hugs. I pointed out the art table. She wanted nothing to do with any of it. I finally offered a Hamantaschen and even that didn’t work.

She cried so long that we had no choice but to move on to me reading the story. I think this made it worse! Rose HATES it if kids her age get near me. It doesn’t bode well for what’s going to happen when the new baby gets here. All the kids were looking at her in my lap and she was still crying. Every time one of them talked to me, she’d wail. It didn’t help that the Purim story is interactive and requires the kids to yell “Yay!” and “Boo!” when certain names are read. Every time the kids would chime in, Rose would cry and tell them to stop.

It was a disaster.

Luckily the preschool kids were so distracted by the promise of triangle jelly cookies for snack time that everyone seemed to still enjoy it. I hope.

But, I’m never trying to be a helpful parent again– at least not until I don’t have a smaller unreliable child I’m supposed to be managing while also reading a story or giving a presentation.

I had good intentions. It’s too bad Rose didn’t agree with them!

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When 4 Year Olds Can Write

Lily’s preschool had a special unit on the post office last week. She mailed me her very first letter ever and was so excited about it that she wanted to write letters to other people. This is the letter I received.

It’s a fairly accurate drawing of her wardrobe and hearts, plus some psychotic looking writing. You know in crime/mystery shows when the detectives are looking for a suspect and they stumble across a notebook with scary looking writing going at all angles on one page going on and on about killing someone? And that’s how you know the suspect is a) crazy and b) did it? That’s what I thought of when I saw this letter! It’s not her fault though. She was trying to write a letter to me around her previously drawn artwork. It would have gone much better if they’d given her a new piece of paper to write to me.

What important message was Lily trying to send me in the mail? She translated it to me.

“Dear Mommy,
You read and write.
Love,
(her full name, first middle and last, redacted)”

Since she wrote that first letter, she’s written many more under my supervision. They are much more legible when you keep the drawings on a separate piece of paper. It also helps to line up a piece of paper under what she’s writing to keep her words in line (we didn’t have proper learning-to-write paper here yet). Here’s the one she wrote her dad a few days later:

Translation, though I think this is fairly legible:
“Dear Daddy,
You’re 40 1/2. Soon you’re 41. I love you.
Love,
(her full name, redacted)”

It was VERY important that he get this message, obviously. His birthday is this coming Monday and he might not realize how old he’s going to be if he had not received this amazing note. She wrote the letter by herself with a little spelling and punctuation help from me. She actually knows how to spell an insane amount of words so my help came more from making sure the words stayed somewhat straight than anything else.

Lily also wrote a letter to my parents that said:

“Dear Nonni and Poppy,

Nonni reads with her glasses on. Read stories with your glasses on.

Love,

(Name)”

She wrote to my sister and her husband:

“Dear Emi and Booie,

Emi fixes necklaces. Booie is tall. Booie gives me airplane rides.

Love,

(Name)”

It’s endlessly amusing to all of us what a 4 year old thinks a someone needs to hear in a letter. She’s continuing her letter writing campaign, but has so far refused to use the special first-grade lined paper I bought her specifically for this purpose. She thinks letters should be written on plain white printer paper. It’s frustrating because she writes REALLY well on the first-grade paper, but things get pretty sloppy on unlined paper.

She’s obviously on her way to becoming the next great American novelist. I can’t wait to read what she writes next!

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Wordless Wednesday: Lily’s Shirt Has Something to Say

School started Monday.

She insisted on wearing this shirt on the first day of school and wanted to wear it the second day too.

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