Early in the morning I’d pull into daycare before jetting off to work and the other moms would glare at me. They’d give me a once-over and their eyes would narrow in distain. At first I thought it was in my head, but then it happened again and again and again.
What is it with these women? They’d all be so nice when I’d pick up Logan at the end of the day, were they all grumpy morning people? Admittedly a lot of them looked like they hadn’t yet had their morning coffee, sporting sweatpants, Uggs and off-kilter ponytails. I was perplexed.
When I went on maternity leave, we decided to keep Logan in daycare to maintain his routine and my sanity. Since I wasn’t working, I started taking him to school every day and I’d rush in with a hat on my head, yoga pants and coat zipped up all the way so no one could see my husband’s holey shirt underneath.
One morning a pencil-thin mommy with perfectly coifed hair and a snazzy suit walked out of the school while I was walking in. She smiled at me with her freshly brushed teeth. I glowered back.
And then I paused. Damn, I’m a hypocrite. Suddenly I understood the stink eye I’d been getting. It was because I appeared to be so together when dropping off my kid. Look, getting your family ready on time in the mornings can be hell.
Then you arrive at daycare and some moms look like they’re straight out of Working Women’s magazine while others look like suburban panhandlers. The panhandlers think: “She got a shower this morning, she is wearing clean clothes, she has on makeup. It must be nice.”
But really we’re all in the same boat. We all made Herculean efforts to get to school on time. It’s just that once that morning battle is finished, some moms have to go into the office where they frown on scrunchies and flannel shirts and other moms have to go back home pick up the house or go to the grocery store where they’re a bit more forgiving when it comes to yoga pants, Uggs and off-kilter ponytails.
Why is it late on Sunday night and I’m watching the Grammys while getting together what my kid is going to bring to school for Valentine’s Day tomorrow? What a sham.
Every year at the last minute I jet to the drugstore (because by the time I remember to do this, the grocery stores in the suburbs are closed!) I end up buying what others have passed over for Valentine’s Day gifts. Then I’m scrawling out names of Logan’s classmates on these cheap-o gifts. After that, I’d usually swing by the grocery store in the morning and pick up an astounding amount of cupcakes to somehow make up for my shortcomings. (Why do I think that they’re judging me as a mom based on my Valentine’s Day contributions? It’s all in my head, but still I do it. I suppose it’s like penance.)
This year, I was so proud of myself because I bought little candied gifts (Dum-dum lollipops with cards and “shiny” stickers) three weeks before the blessed event. There was no need to overspend on cupcakes or other sugary treats, for once I was ahead of the game.
But this year was different. This V-Day I’m a mom of two. The obstacles are higher.
Each day, I’ve been taking Logan to daycare and I’ve also got 5-week-old Ethan in the car, which means I would take the little guy out amid sub-zero temps to walk his big brother inside the school. The daycare director then told me that she could come out to the parking lot and get Logan, which is great. It mends the gap between the non-choice of leaving Ethan in the car alone or toting him into the school.
With this new solution of the director picking up Logan in the parking lot, I miss all of the posters/notifications about what’s going on in my guy’s class. So I’m in the dark this V-Day. I forgot to ask the director if anything was needed for the party, or even if they plan a party. (Again, I always try to contribute to parties or classroom supplies because I feel it somehow makes up for me picking Logan up late or not being able to attend school events because of work constraints.) Nevertheless I’m now on maternity leave and here I am with Dum-Dum lollipops for Logan’s classmates, still in a last-minute effort to scrawl out their names on these 3-week-old candied treats. Ah well, I suppose I’ll just say it’s a pre-Valentine’s Day family tradition and look forward to next year’s last minute scramble.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
We went last night for our parent-teacher conferences for our toddler. Yes, our toddler. We met with the teacher that we’ve been underwhelmed with and we were again, underwhelmed. (First of all, why can’t adults sit at big people tables, do we really need to sit where our kids do?)
We got a little report card-like sheet that had a million checkoff items and came in quadruplicate. (Triplicate wasn’t enough.) We talked about Logan’s strengths: he talks a lot, plays well with others, knows his colors and letters on sight and his daily journal is spectacular. (It amuses me a 2 year old has a daily journal.) The teacher said that like other kids his age he needs to work on writing his letters and numbers and how to measures items (Even I still struggle with the ruler.)
Now I know we chose this day care because of its fancy-pants curriculum and fork over several shiny pennies each Monday morning. But sometimes in talking with the teachers it amazes me all that they do and how daycare has evolved.
Not too long ago wasn’t daycare just filled with singing, dancing, play pens, coloring, snacks and naptime? Essentially organized play? The kids all seem to really enjoy their classes and activities, I’m just floored by the thought and rigidity behind everything. Each class is supposed to have a syllabus, we even got one in the infant class. There’s daily activity sheets and quarterly reports. Though we got our first quarterly report from this class just yesterday, which it turns out was the fourth quarter…
Obviously, our teacher seems less inclined to document and follow through on the administrative side of her job, but I honestly would rather have her really involved with our kids than the paperwork. Besides, he’s moving up to another class in August and that teacher is rock solid. (FYI, we talked to her about the stuttering and she’s noticed it a bit when he’s excited, but thinks it’s totally normal.)
I wonder what daycare will be like in coming years. Will each kid be required to bring an iTouch along with their extra change of clothes and naptime blanket? Will there be homework? And how much is too much? Again, we chose this place and despite my grumblings about his current teacher, we are happy with them. It all just makes me wonder, are we getting over the top?