I had it ALL figured out by the time she was 1. Big plans had been made. BIG plans.
I was gonna homeschool. I was going to start a slow, simple Waldorf style homeschool routine when my daughter turned 3, one hour a day and building up as she got older. We were going to be that family that had school in our pajamas and learned from nature and did all that amazing stuff. My husband was homeschooled. I have an undergraduate degree in elementary education. No reason this kid couldn’t be homeschooled.
Well, a couple reasons showed up. First reason, one way or the other, if I wanted to run a business, I was going to need time to actually do it. I needed time during the week for prenatal meetings, to teach classes, and to do all those things that a doula has to do short of going to births.
Second reason was simply that at some point I realized I had given birth not to a solitary wood sprite, but a social butterfly. Nono yearns for other kids like they’re food or water – she needs them. All of them. We are a one child family by choice, so no ready made playmates will be making their arrivals. I can’t go on playdates 5 days a week, especially if I’m working as much as I should be.
So, I did the math. I needed time. She needed other kids. Not a difficult problem to solve.
Preschool was happening. I was not only not going to be a homeschooler, I was going to be someone who sent her baby away to preschool at the tender age of *gasp* THREE. Not even three! I had to find somewhere that would take her a month short of turning three, being born in October like she was. Naturally, being a proper mother and woman in a society that has conditioned us to sacrifice till we drop, I felt horribly guilty. Waaaaves of guilt.
Until I took her to tour a Montessori preschool in Yakima. The director commented, “Most children are holding their mother’s legs during the tour – but yours dove right in!” Boy, did she. In that half an hour visit, she played, she drew, she fit in, and she cried when it was time to leave. Okay… guilt lessening slightly. Maybe it wouldn’t be horrible. But would she really let me leave her without tears? Is that possible?
We tested the waters last week with an outdoor camp preschool through KEEN and the Washington Outdoor School. It was just half days for a week, but I was fully prepared for a meltdown when I left the first day. This is literally the FIRST time this kid has been away from me and not with a relative. I girded my loins. And… nothing. Kissed her goodbye, said, “Mama will be back later to pick you up,” she replied, “Okay!” and that was it. Five days straight.
(Every day at pickup she ran into my arms yelling, “Mama, I missed you!” so at least I still felt slightly relevant. Slightly. Lol.)
By Wednesday of that week we were at the Montessori signing her up for the long haul.
And like that, come September, my baby will be at school doing just fine without me. Maybe I’ll borrow someone else’s kid to homeschool.