Motherhood, it’s hard. For those of us stuck on metrics of success, milestones are just not enough. Yeah! My kid can use a cup! Yeah! My kid can pee in a potty! Yes, I think she has 50+ words, but let’s not talk about how she says the word “fork.”
My eldest, easy-going daughter started in a new class two weeks ago. There are 15 children with two teachers – which is not a bad ratio. But, the two teachers need an assistant. They have forgotten my daughter’s snack, forgotten her special butt cream, not put on sunscreen, forgotten to give her half her lunch, not provided enough water… It’s just not the right environment for my daughter who does not make waves. Sometimes, with the adaptable child, you cannot use their positive outlook as a barometer of success. I have to listen and watch for cues. I have to trust my gut.
I gave it two weeks. Granted, she’s only been in school for seven of those ten days, but I gave it two weeks. Friday, they forgot to give her half her lunch – the half with protein. Of course, on the daily report card they said she ate all her lunch. The teachers are very nice, but they hail from Pre-K. Four year olds are different from two year olds. My kid is still a toddler. She still poops her pants. She still needs someone taking care of her in a hands-on way.
So, for the last two weeks, I called around to other schools. I toured. I thought about alternatives – all while giving her current school and class every benefit of the doubt. I did not want to be that mom. The mom who can’t handle her baby growing up. The mom that can’t let go. But, you know what? I am not that mom. I am not a helicopter parent; I am the parent of a two year old. Again, I refer you to the above paragraph – a two year old who still poops her pants. If I’m this hands-on when she’s seven, we’ll have a problem. My daugher is fiercely independent, charismatic, and vibrant. I am raising her to be exactly who she is.
But I am her mom, not her aunt or her cousin or her friend. I am her mother and I know her like none other. I know that she needs lotion every night and every morning to keep eczema away. I know when she’s chilly and I know when she’s too hot. I know how to get sunscreen on every inch of her exposed skin. I know that she needs a lot of water. I know that she likes her hair up when she’s sweaty. I know these things and while I cannot be her primary caretaker during the day, I pay a premium for experienced people to play that role. I explain things to the daycare teachers. I follow up their lessons at home. I listen to them and provide feedback. Ugh. There’s a certain degree of “daycare sucks” no matter what you do.
Anyway, she’s going to start at Montessori – for which I am really grateful. The girl who can count to 20 and sings her ABCs so well – she will thrive in that environment. And if she doesn’t, it’s my job to find the environment she will thrive in. I can do it. These decisions are hard, the not knowing if you’re doing the right thing by your kid. First of many decisions like this, methinks.