Posts Tagged ‘preschool’

You can’t make this shit up!

March 3, 2014

This post is the first entry of what I’m currently calling “You can’t make this shit up”.  

Every day August is in preschool from 1pm – 4pm.  That is three blissful hours all to myself.  Because we did not own a car last year, it was easier to stay in the neighborhood then to go home and come back again.  Hence the beginning of my journey with a nearby gym.  (To protect the innocent, and my membership, I will not name my gym for fear they may kick me out. )  Although we recently purchased a car,  (that’s right people, after seven or so years without a car in San Francisco we finally caved and bought one in October) I have become so addicted to the gym that I continue to go at least four days a week.  Monday through Friday (excluding Wednesdays) I am at my gym between the hours of 1:20pm and about 3:30pm. These are what one might call the “off hours”.  Typically this means that the gym is less crowded during these hours, however, in my case it ALSO means that the crowd is, well, let’s just say, atypical.  The average age in the locker room during the above mentioned hours is what I would guess to be sixty years old.  The average age continues to entertain me everyday, some more than others.  

And so concludes my introduction to “You can’t make this shit up”.  Some entries will be dialogue, and some will be mere observations.  I hope to have MANY “You can’t make this shit up” entries for you in the future, but for now I have just two. And I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

February 20, 2014, 2:43pm

“Achoo,” I sneezed while putting on my boots one day in the gym locker room.

“Bless you, ” said the woman dressing the the right of me.

The woman two aisles over to the left said, “Bless you, you must own a cat.”

I giggled of course, but then I could tell she was serious and waiting for a response, “Umm, nope, no cat.”

“Oh, must be a dog then,” she replied.  At this point I’m thinking she thinks I have an allergy.

“Nope, no dog either.”

“Oh my. I hope you have a boyfriend or a husband at least,” she said expressing concern for my sad life. 

“This is getting awfully personal for a sneeze,” the woman to my right said expressing her concern for this discussion.

I took a little longer than everyone was comfortable with to reply to her question.  I mostly hesitated because I wasn’t sure I wanted to share my life with these ladies, and I was curious whether I could get away with no answer.  I couldn’t.

“I have a husband and a four-year-old son,” I proudly responded.  Although I thought about saying I had no one just to see her reaction.  

“Oh well, that’s good.  I hope you have a lover too.  I didn’t get to be seventy-nine years old, and this happy with just a husband,” she stated much to my surprise.  

You can’t make this shit up!

March 3, 2014, 3:03pm

Usually I try to keep my head down as much as possible for fear I might turn to glass if I look up too often.  However, for a brief, although not brief enough, moment I looked up while putting lotion on my face.  Two aisles over to my left, a woman about seventy years old was brushing her entire body with a hairbrush.  I do mean entire.  She left no stone unturned. I should have stopped watching after the first glance, but I had to see where she was going with this.  I wish I hadn’t.  Although it did leave me wondering, “Is this some way of achieving a younger looking body?  Maybe this is similar to how Marcia Brady brushed her hair 100 times every day?”

You can’t make this shit up!

Painting the Orange Bowl

October 24, 2013

Those of you who know me….brace yourselves.  Grab a seat, and maybe a strong drink.  But don’t drink while you’re reading this, because you might just snarf from sheer disbelief.  And no one likes to snarf.  Those of you who don’t know me, just grab a strong seat.

Let me begin by telling you I am NOT, I repeat, I am NOT a joiner.  I like to watch other people join, and I like to be invited to join, but I DON’T like to join.  A few months ago I was asked to be the Program Enrichment Co-chair for my four-year-old son’s preschool.  That’s the invited to join part, but I found myself considering their proposal.  To quote Sandra Boyton, “Should I stay, should I go…?” In the end I decided to take the position.  When else in my life will I have the opportunity to be such a big part of my child’s life.  After all, I only have about ten more years (if I’m lucky) before he hates me, right?  

What does this position mean?  It means my co-chair and I throw THE BIGGEST party of the year for the preschool – The Annual Halloween Party.  This party is in two days and counting.  We have planned, delegated, shopped, begged for donations, bought our costumes, and said a few prayers in the hopes that we haven’t forgotten anything important. 

Last night I found myself covered in orange from the 100 newly painted paper bowls, tearing apart old crocheted sweaters so we would have black yarn for our “spider webs”, researching recipes for the cinnamon rolls I’m making for the Saturday morning set-up crew, and handwriting labels in paint no-less for our activity tables.  I stopped, looked around and smiled because I realized that I was having fun doing something I NEVER thought possible. If ten years ago someone came up to me in a New York City bar and whispered in my ear just before my last shot on the pool table, “You’re going to be painting bowls for your son’s Halloween party, and you’re going to love it”, I would have glared at them till they walked away, and laughed it off with my friends over one more Vodka/Cranberry.

 Being a full-time Mom really gives me the luxury to every day become what I want.  Somedays that’s a Pulitzer prize writer, somedays it’s a Rockette, and somedays it’s a gym trainer.  But somedays it’s a Mom.

A Note to Myself

August 1, 2013

The director of our co-op preschool sent out an email to all new and returning families entitled “Count down to preschool 19 days to go!” today and it really brought a smile to my face.  It wasn’t because I’m so excited to start the school year, or because August is entering his second year of preschool, or because I’m looking forward to my new Wednesday workdays (it’s a co-op so each parent must work a shift once a week at the school).  A smile swept across my face because all the things the director was reminding us to do before school we had already checked off our list.

  1. Toilet training – CHECK
  2. Find well-loved clothes that are DYING to be played in – CHECK
  3. Spare set of well-loved clothes to leave at school – CHECK
  4. Lunch bag  – CHECK
  5. Easy to open snack and water container – CHECK
  6. Get child prepared to be without me – CHECK
  7. Get myself prepared to be without child – CHECK

But as I was smiling over the completeness of my check list I realized that new moms and dads were out there worrying over all the things I worried about last year, and don’t know how their child will possibly manage.  So, I’m writing this note to them, and to myself last year.  God knows I could have used a nice note telling ME that it was all going to be okay.

Dear Self and others,


I know it’s a little overwhelming to think about how you’re going to accomplish all these things in the next 19 days, but just know that you don’t ACTUALLY have to finish everything.  If you show up with just yourself and your child in tow on the first day, it will still be okay.  Even if you forget the snack, the water, lunch bag, extra set of clothes, and your kid pees all over their clothes it is still OKAY.  Everyone will still love you, and even better they will understand.

Toilet training:

The toilet training thing is a scary one, but hey you know what, that’s partially what the spare change of clothes is for.  And better yet, if you don’t bring a spare set the school has literally buckets full of spare clothes, shoes, and socks for those just in case moments.  The kids just figure it out, and the teachers/parents are there to help.  Awesome, huh?


Naps, yep, I know you’re concerned about that.  How will my child manage without a nap since we’re in the PM class or how will I get them home in time for their nap if school doesn’t even end until 12pm?  One idea is to change their nap time to either before school (if you go in the PM) or later in the day (if you’re in the AM).  The other secret is that the naps do end, and absolute worse case scenario – put them to bed early and enjoy some extra adult time!

Snack Time:

You might be thinking – my child isn’t going to eat their next meal if they get a snack.  They do though, and if they don’t then just make sure that snack the next day is a good one! And it’s great because they must eat what you pack them or eat nothing because there is NO snack sharing!  Woot!

And the snack/water containers…this was a little tough to figure out, but after seeing what the other kids have and what the teachers recommend you’ll figure it out.  Watch the kids and see what they can open themselves and get that.  Besides you needed a few more hundred bottles, right?  I know we did!  (Umm, sarcasm…)


This is an easy one – if you care about any item of clothing (including jackets, shoes, socks or hats) don’t send your kid in it.  Although I have to say we’ve lost sunglasses, hats, and fleeces several times and they’ve ALL come back to us.  (Name labeling helps, of course) Amazing considering all the clothing flying around this place, but it’s true.

Separation stuff:

They might cry on the first day, for the first week, after three weeks, or never.  But the teachers are great.  They really do care, and they are all so good with them.  Just trust that your child can do this and so can you.  After all, they DO continue to go to school without you, right?

Now go enjoy the next three hours off, seriously, please, you deserve it.  You’ve spent three years bathing them, feeding them, being up at all hours of the night, and changing your clothes (and theirs for that matter) five times a day all the while cleaning your house, doing dishes, making dinner, and trying to maintain a loving relationship with your partner.  YOU DESERVE THIS!

And if you’re still worried,  Molly (the director’s partner-in-crime) is great about checking on the kids for you. She’s just a phone call away.

Okay, that’s it!  Have a great year, and remember you too will have this perspective next year.

Love, Jennifer

Naked News

April 14, 2013

August’s preschool is a little like “Lord of the Flies”.  Scratch that, it’s a lot like “Lord of the Flies”.  When we pick up our kids at the preschool gate, we never know we’ll find.  To be honest, I’m always excited to see how the kids have changed themselves in the short three hours that they’re there.  

They often use their clothes as a paint palette, and glitter to accessorize.  Sometimes kids will come out with water dripping from their hair and a bag of soggy clothes dragging behind them.  And every now and again, but very rarely they will come out looking exactly as you left them.  If they do come out looking exactly the same, be concerned because they may have had a “thumbs down” sort of day.

Luckily it’s a co-op, which means I work at his school once a week, and I know that all these things are to be expected for our preschool.  In fact when I was contemplating which preschool to send August to, a mother (from an online mom’s group) suggested we might not want to attend this preschool because they let the children run around naked! (Say it isn’t so.) 

Naked?!  At a preschool?  That’s awesome!  Sign us up!  And we did. As it turns out, being naked at this school is so popular that they created a special time when everyone has to have their clothes back on. “Shoes, Socks and Clothing time” happens at exactly 3:00pm every day.  This is the time at which boys and girls get to choose what clothing they put back on.  It can be their extra clothes that remains in their cubbies, the clean stock of girls clothing in the bathroom, the clean stock of boys clothing in the bathroom, or the clothes they wore to school (NEVER happens!).  My personal favorite was one day I saw a boy go in to school wearing jeans, a baseball t-shirt, socks and sneakers (very boy like) .  After three hours of preschool, he came out wearing a yellow sundress, girls panties, pink nail polish, black sneakers, slightly damp hair, and a bag of wet clothes in hand. That, my friends, is a two thumbs up day at preschool.

Not August, though.  Seven months in to our first year, and we were still waiting for him to shed his clothes.  Every week I watched the cute little bottoms of other preschool girls and boys enjoying their freedom and wondered when August might partake.  At some point I thought to myself, “Maybe he just doesn’t notice the other kids taking off their clothes and running around naked?”

Until this week when we had an unusually warm day in San Francisco (Don’t get any crazy ideas, it was only seventy degrees, but it felt like a heat wave to us!).  Since August has very fair skin I told him he was going to need some sunscreen before going to school.  I had to prepare him for this in advance because he hates sunscreen.  I decided I would only torture him with his arms, neck, ears and face.  

But when I started putting the sunscreen on his arms, he looked up at me and said, “Hey Mom, let’s do this all over!”


“Yes. It feels nice.”

Umm, okay, you don’t have to ask me twice.  So he preceded to dictate where to apply sunscreen.  

“Thighs. Knees.  Ankles. Chest. Tummy.  Back.  Elbows. Feet.  Butt, please Mom.”

Once we were done he said, “I’ve been DYING for you to do this.  Now I can take my clothes off at school!”

Huh?  That’s what he’s been waiting for?  Sunscreen that usually I need to tie him down for?  Anyhow, I smiled, and wondered if this really meant what I thought it meant.  I admit I was a bit nervous about him getting naked.  I don’t know why, but I was.

Gate time arrived, and I stood in line waiting to pick him up wondering what state I would find him in.  He walked out, with a big grin on his face wearing his spare clothes from his cubby and said, “Mom, I was naked today!”

He did it!  He had his coming out party.  The hazing was over, and he was finally a part of the group.  I was so proud.  And he told me he had a two thumbs up kind of day.  Of course, all of this left me jealous and wondering “How was it?  Was it scary to take your clothes off?  Were you cold? Did any of the other regulars notice that this was your first time?”  

I found myself bragging to all the moms, dads, and even the Director of the school about August’s first naked day.  There were high-fives all around.  

The only question I wasn’t still contemplating by the end of the day was  “Will you do it again?”  Pretty sure that’s a resounding “YES!”

Do’s and Don’ts

August 30, 2012

My son is now attending a co-op preschool.  What this means, among other things, is that I get to work there once a week.  Every week I get a sneak peek into my son’s new life.  I get to meet the parents, teachers, and the other students.  It’s exhausting, but fun.  As a parent, though, there are rules.  There very specific ways you handle certain situations, things you absolutely don’t say, and things you can and can’t do.  As an example, no talking on your cell phone or texting the whole three hours you’re there, unless you are on a break.  Great!  I hate cell phones anyhow.  (With each passing day, I hate them more and more.  In fact, maybe I should just throw mine away.  But I digress.)  When children are fighting over a toy, instead of reprimanding the children, you try to work it out with them calmly.   (more…)

Little Ears are Listening

August 29, 2012

I’m often dumbfounded by the amount of parents who will badmouth their own children in front of their children.  I assume that the reason they do it is because they forget that their children now understand our language.  Or maybe they think they are not listening or paying attention?  Not sure what the reason is, but it sure seems pretty stupid to me.  Let me give you an example.   (more…)

“What did you do today?”

August 27, 2012

Last week was our first week of preschool.  Currently we’re only going three days a week in the hopes of squeezing in a few naps here and there (it’s an afternoon program).  Two of the three days, August goes to preschool without me.  The other day, I’m there with him because it’s a co-op program, so I have to work one day a week.  Last week went surprisingly well.  I found the work day fun, and pretty easy.  The two days August had without me he did just fine – no tears or anything.  Plus when I came to pick him up he had a smile on his face and a mom can’t ask for much more than that.  In fact the first day he had by himself I asked him what he did and he told me he played with trains.  Then he asked what I did and I said, “I ran a few errands, and thought of you.”  He replied with, “I thought about you the whole time you were gone.”  Cute. (more…)

I Love You

August 20, 2012

This afternoon we’re (August and I, of course) are sitting at the table eating lunch.  We’re talking about the cars outside, he’s waxing poetic about “Frog and Toad” by Arnold Lobel, and we’re discussing the fact that “Since it’s foggy outside, today is a good day for Chicken Pot Pie.”  Although for August, every day is a good day for Chicken Pot Pie.  I rue the day I made up a story for him about a rabbit eating Chicken Pot Pie on a foggy day.  (Okay, so maybe not “rue”, but I do have my moments when I wish I had never told him that story.  Not a day goes by without him asking for it.).  But I digress… (more…)

The Preschool Party May Be Over

June 2, 2012

We were all set to sign August up for preschool this coming fall.  I did my research, and August and I put in our time going door to door visiting the preschools. I had to literally drag poor August out kicking and screaming most of the time, but we survived and narrowed it down to our somewhat top choice (our top choice was too far for us to get to by 8:30am three days a week).   (more…)

More Preschools

May 30, 2012

Poor August is really going through the ringer.  We have now officially seen four preschools in one week.  One of them was not a good fit, one of them I loved but it would take us an hour to get there by bus (since we don’t own a car), and one of them had basically no outdoor space.  How is that possible?  How do these teachers (or parents for that matter) think it’s a good idea not to let three-year-olds run around outside every day?  Granted that place was a French immersion school, but don’t French-speaking kids like to play outside?  Just an idea. (more…)