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Preschool Decisions and White Envelopes

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Tiaras and Trucks

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Preschool Decisions and White Envelopes

everyone needs to play in a box turned into a car once in a while

Last year I hyperventilated over choosing a preschool for Abbey.  I fretted and made comparison charts and found a school I believed to be a just-about-perfect fit for our girl and for our family. 

And we lived happily ever after.

Until our school district (and likely our entire state) decided to move to mandatory all-day kindergarten, and conversation at preschool pick up shifted to kindergarten readiness and questions about whether or not Dylan would be attending the Tots program designed for under three year olds, which he'll obviously be in the fall.

Happily ever after shifted back into worrying mode as opinions flew back and forth about developmental milestones and socialization and sending my cute, little, just-got-his-first-haircut baby to school, albiet for four hours a week.

My mind skipped back and forth daily, my mental checklist of pros and cons balanced and even and utterly useless.  Ryan and I agreed and then didn't and basically couldn't decide, especially in conjunction with making a decision about whether to send Abbey for three or five days.

This morning I turned in our registration paperwork for next year, our decisions about both children sealed in a white envelope and handed over to the director of the preschool program while scooping Dylan away from the play kitchen in the classroom.

Advice echoed in my head all day, and I heard myself defend our decision to two different people.

With the kids in bed and Ryan studying, I left the house in the darkness to retreat to the gym for a treadmill run.  For one of the first times this winter, the air felt crisp and chilled, the full moon cutting silver streaks between the bare branches of the trees.

Thoughts of the white envelope flashed in my head, wind biting into my skin as I eased closed the car door, Dylan's window perilously close to the driveway.

Moonlight shone through the cold windshield, bright and unforgiving, the cold leather against my legs inviting me to feel the pangs of regret over the choice we had finally made Monday night.

But instead of regret, I felt at peace with our decision.

He will be staying home one more year.

It's the right decision for our boy and for our family.

Because the zoo is more fun at 9:00 a.m. when the only ones acting like bears are the bears.

Because he is my baby, and I love our slow, coffee infused mornings and the way his eyes light up when I announce it's time to pick up Abbey.

Because he is only two and has years of school in his future.

Because sending him would have meant that every morning one of them would have been at school but never at the same time.

Because I want as many moments like this as possible:

linking up with Shell, of course!



  • At February 8, 2012 at 8:20 AM , Anonymous Alison@Mama Wants This said...

    Angela, I'm completely with you on this. Monkey just turned 2 and I've already had EVERYONE ask me if he's going to school soon.

    School? He's just 2. He has at least 18 years of education in front of him. What's the rush in pushing our little ones to grow up so quick? They do that on their own pretty well. 

  • At February 8, 2012 at 8:57 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Yes, I felt a pull to send him, and I do know that it can be the right decision for some people.  But I have a sense of relief about my decision to keep him home one more year, so I know in my heart it's the right thing for us.  If only D & Monkey could play :)

  • At February 8, 2012 at 9:25 AM , Anonymous christina said...

    sooo sweet. i don't blame you at all for keeping him at home if you can; i'm sure i'd do the same if i could despite loving the school Lovie's in. time goes by too fast as it is...

  • At February 8, 2012 at 9:50 AM , Anonymous Sherri said...

    You always just have to follow your will never regret keeping him home just a bit longer!

  • At February 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM , Anonymous shellthings said...

    There really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this- you have to do what works best for your family.

    Btw, I fixed your link on the linky- there was an "h" in there that was causing an error instead of coming to your page. 

  • At February 8, 2012 at 12:54 PM , Anonymous Kimberly said...

    Oh this hit so close to home. My Dylan is 2.5 now and I'm already worrying about the preschool decision. You're right, they have years of mandatory school ahead of them. Enjoy those moments at home now!

  • At February 8, 2012 at 2:16 PM , Blogger Greta @gfunkified said...

    I'm with you, too. I was barely ready to send my barely-four-year-old daughter to preschool this year. There is SO much time left for school, and SO many years of school ahead of them both. I cherish the mornings with my youngest two.

    Also, can I just say that I love the way you wrote this? I was on the edge of my seat, but also hanging on every word.

  • At February 8, 2012 at 2:23 PM , Anonymous Kateshrewsday said...

    Bravo :-) Life is short and sweet: we get a century, tops. Lets use each precious moment as our heart and soul dictates. Beautiful post...beautiful child.

  • At February 8, 2012 at 4:09 PM , Anonymous Mommysummers said...

    I agree with Shell! You have to do what works best for you!

  • At February 8, 2012 at 4:27 PM , Anonymous What She Said said...

    While I can't say enough good things about the preschool-esque daycare that Lil' Bit attends and what (I feel) it's done for her social skills, I also acknowledge that she's there because she HAS to be. Because I work. And if I didn't? I honestly don't know what decision I would have made if I were in your shoes. There are certainly benefits to both scenarios, and in the end you just have to go with your gut and make the choice that best suits you and your family.

    And slow, coffee-infused mornings sound heavenly. 

  • At February 8, 2012 at 6:44 PM , Anonymous Nancy C said...

    I adore this. It's so true that those lazy mornings are so fleeting. Speaking as one who never has them anymore. Enjoy it. Dylan will be more than fine.

  • At February 8, 2012 at 8:10 PM , Anonymous Julie Gardner said...

    Both my babies were born in the summer, almost exactly two years apart. When Karly was 3 and Jack turned 5, I was "supposed" to send him to kindergarten.

    He was bright. He had the necessary "preparedness." He was (probably) ready.

    The thing is, I wasn't. 

    They were at a preschool about one mile from the school where I taught. But our home and local kindergarten was close to a half hour away (in traffic). I did not want my little boy so far from me. Or his sister. I wanted them to have another year of preschool together.

    Close to me. (Not to mention the close-to-an-hour drive time I got with them both on their way to and from school with me.)

    So I didn't enroll Jack in kindergarten until the summer he turned six. And then, the following year, when Karly was just five, I went ahead and sent her. They were together again. And she was ready. I was ready.

    I know some of my friends and family think we held him back so he'd get bigger, be more advantaged, have a better shot at sports. To them I say, it's none of your damn business.

    For the record, that was not even on our radar and it still isn't. He is 14 and in 8th grade, his sister is 12 and in 7th. For most years of their lives, they've been in school together and close friends. They have each other's backs when I can't be with them.

    That's what I wanted. Along with a little more time for him to be young.
    It's still what I want.

    No regrets, Angela. None.

  • At February 8, 2012 at 9:35 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Having you here is like sitting down with a friend over coffee.  I hope one day we can really do that.  Thank you so much.  I'm absolutely happy with my decision.  But I know myself, and I know I will eventually question the decision between now and the start of the school year.  It will help me to remember your words :)

  • At February 8, 2012 at 9:44 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Lazy mornings are so underrated.  I don't think we appreciate them until they become elusive and rare!

  • At February 8, 2012 at 9:45 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Sometimes they're heavenly.  Sometimes they involve much begging for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and arguments over whether or not the soft part of the banana is ok to eat :)

    I definitely agree that there are benefits to both decisions; the scales really could have tipped either way with this one.

  • At February 8, 2012 at 9:49 PM , Anonymous Jackie said...

    so cute! both of them!

    Andrew just turned 2 and I just can't seem to decide what I want to do...preschool or not yet. It's hard because he's with a sitter all day and I can't teach him all the things I did with the girls.

  • At February 8, 2012 at 10:04 PM , Anonymous jessica said...

    Glad you are enjoying him for one more year. I just came to terms with the fact that I have to figure out what to do with Sawyer next year, now.

  • At February 8, 2012 at 10:15 PM , Anonymous Missy | Literal Mom said...

    I used to love taking my oldest to the zoo at 9am.  Best time of day.  My youngest is on Spring Break when no one else is in March.  First up on our list is a 9am trip to the zoo.  I can't wait - because we don't have the chance to do it very much anymore.  

  • At February 9, 2012 at 2:15 AM , Anonymous Jessica said...

    Sounds like you made the perfect decision for your family. That is all that matters. 

  • At February 9, 2012 at 8:27 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    There are definitely some advantages to going to school.  And I love the school, so that did make the decision a little harder :) Yes, it definitely goes by so quickly!

  • At February 9, 2012 at 8:27 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Sherri.  I am STILL learning that; every time I think I have that part of mothering down (the gut following, not the decision making!) I start to second guess myself again :)

  • At February 9, 2012 at 8:29 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks (both for the linky fixing AND the comment).  I think it has to be individual, too.  Part of what made the decision tough for us is that we wished we would have sent Abbey at Dylan's age.  But she didn't have an older sibling to make things more interesting the way he does!

  • At February 9, 2012 at 8:30 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Dylans are so very lovely, aren't they? It's so funny, because I thought I was done with the preschool stress after
    Abbey.  I wasn't :)

  • At February 9, 2012 at 8:31 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Kate!  It's so true that we don't get an infinite amount of time.  Sometimes doing what feels right is more important than what might look right on paper.

  • At February 9, 2012 at 8:31 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks so much!  I feel good that we made the right decision for our particular family!

  • At February 9, 2012 at 8:32 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    But think of all the things he's learning just from watching them when they're all home together!  There's so many choices out there that it sometimes makes it harder to make a decision.

  • At February 9, 2012 at 8:33 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I know.  The decision just kind of snuck up on me.  He still seems so little to have to decide about that.  You will figure it out :)

  • At February 9, 2012 at 8:34 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Yes, it's such a great time.  Everyone is in a good mood, there's usually some sunshine, and the animals are wandering around.  Enjoy your March break!

  • At February 9, 2012 at 12:34 PM , Anonymous Kimberly said...

    Coffee infused mornings are the bestest.
    Our son is attending JK in the fall. Our school boards are now changing the "full day every other day" to full days all week.
    I refuse to send my son, who is practically a baby still to school everyday for 8 hours. Nope.
    Thankfully the school that we are sending him to is still goigng with every other day.

  • At February 10, 2012 at 7:55 AM , Anonymous Lady Jennie said...

    Aw.  My children go to school all day from 8:30 to 4:30, starting at age 3, but I am very grateful for the reprieve.  I haven't had a slow quiet coffee-infused morning in a long time, kids or no kids.


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