Posted by: workforcookies | February 28, 2009

Pre-school panic

My oldest is ready for pre-school, so last December he and I started making the rounds, to find the right school for him.

Sometimes when I look at him, I still see the expression he wore out of the womb—the one that teeters between laughter and worry. Yet other times I see the face of a curious toddler, eager to explore and learn. Those are the times I know I’m ready. Ready for him to learn all the world has to teach him, or at least the three Rs (Reading, Riting and Rithmatic). It’s the fourth R took me by surprise.


We targeted all the co-op schools (in which parents are required to help in the classroom one day a month). My husband and I felt our involvement would impress upon our child that we take his education seriously. And after visiting the three co-op schools in our area, I set my heart on one.  Not the one we couldn’t afford, not the one where my son was mowed over by a tricycle when the teacher wasn’t looking, but THE one. The one where the director took time to draw my son out from his protective shell of shyness, where she noticed and commented on his cautious personality, and where the classroom activity of the day was making Christmas cookies. (Did someone say “cookies”???) He was hooked and so was I.

I marked registration week on my calendar with exclamation points—even set up a notification on my smart phone’s calendar. I did NOT want to miss the scheduled time slot for turning in our application with the $50 fee.

The day arrived and I took the morning off work so I could slip my money into the box made available to hopeful parents during school hours only. Then I waited. I’d heard through the grapevine that the 3-year-old class, the class I so desperately wanted to enroll my son in, had several openings, so I decided not to apply for the other two co-ops—the one I couldn’t afford or the one with the tricky tricycle. I saved roughly $130 in application fees, and I applauded myself for being so smart.

STUPID!!! I wanted to yell when I received the letter in the mail two weeks later. It explained that the selection for three-year-olds was done lottery style, and our son’s name was “unfortunately not drawn.”

I didn’t yell. My son was standing in front of me when I opened the letter, so instead I smiled and asked him to show me what he was doing with his train tracks. Then I lavished praise on him, telling him how smart his design was—an attempt to mend the ego that he didn’t even know was bruised. For now, at least, the fourth R will just have to wait.


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