Brody had his Meet-the-Teacher for Pre-K yesterday. I decided to take the kids alone since my husband works on the other side of the city and would need to take off almost a half day. By some miracle myself and both kids were ready to go early! *Gasp!* I am notoriously late when I have both kids alone. Brody was dressed casual, but especially cute. I made sure I also looked presentable. I didn’t want to look too young, nor too old. Can’t I just be a cool parent?
I planned on wrapping Lola on my back in a woven wrap so I could focus on Brody without her being literately in front of me. Of course there was a rain storm. After an uncomfortable experience with people running towards me while wrapping, thinking I was harming my baby, I prefer to wrap incognito out by my car. Well that plan was foiled by the puddles in the parking lot. I put on our Ergo, Lola doesn’t like being on my back in it, so I had her on my front. Would the other parents judge me for bringing a baby? Would they judge me for babywearing?
We walk to the wrong door and needed to walk around the building. Brody passed the play equipment at his new school and got so excited. It made my heart happy to see the joy in his face, knowing just next week he would be climbing up that rock wall. We got into the building and made our way to the class. The past week we had been practicing his introduction to his teacher.
“Hi Miss Thomason. My name is Brody Stauffer and I’m three.”
Three syllabble words are hard for him. Most of the time when we practiced he would call her Miss Thomas-the-Train-Choo-Choo. Please let him remember.
She was busy when we walked in so I took him over to the play area. He immediately started playing with the fire engine and little people farm. I started scanning the room, checking out the other parents and kids. My first though was am I really that old? Surely all the other parents must be at least 5-10 years older than me? Or do I really look that old too and don’t notice? I have it in my head that I still look and feel in my young 20’s. Even though I have a professional career and must come across as professional since clients hire me, I don’t see myself as a grown up. Most kids had both parents with them. I noticed many were dressed in shirts and ties. My husband works in powersports parts and is usually covered in grease, wearing jeans with battery acid holes and faded t-shirts.
Every other kid in that class towered over Brody. I was in shock. I know he’s a peanut but dang! What type of steroids are these kids being fed? They all looked at least 6 to me. The project while waiting for the teacher to come up to us was drawing a self portrait. Huh? My newly three year old scribbles. I peer over the shoulder of the other kids and see clear circle faces, hair, eyes and noses.
Brody is happily playing on the floor and I am holding back tears. I feel so inadequate at that moment. Have I failed that much as a parent? My kid cannot draw can he? When he brings home art from daycare it’s mostly scribbles. I need to start working with him at home on art. Am I not giving him enough nutrition where he’s by far the smallest kid in his class? We need to start a diet of high calorie, healthy fats STAT. I cannot believe how different I feel than the other parents in the room. I feel like I have failed my child. He is happy, he is smart and kick ass. I think he’s the best three year old in the world. Why does he seem so far behind compared to these other kids?
Brody’s teacher finally has a moment to come introduce herself. She is very pretty and sweet. I am certain Brody will love her. I tell Brody to say what we practice and he cutely says “Hi Miss Thomassss uhhhh.” Thank you baby Jesus! I will take that over Miss Thomas-the-Train-Choo-Choo any day. She engages him in conversation and he is sweet as pie. I am so proud of him in this moment. He goes back to playing and I have a minute to chat with her. I mention that I was surprised at Brody’s size compared to the rest of the kids and his art ability. She explained to me she teaches 3-5 year old and many of the kids in the class right now for the meet-up happen to be mostly 4 and 5.
PHEWWWWWW! I’m not crazy. Maybe I am not failing my child. Here I am, almost having a breakdown while my child is happily playing, and it was for nothing.
During the drawing time Brody doesn’t want to use the crayons on the table. He wants to use markers. Lola is on my front, being perfectly quite, but it’s still harder for me to maneuver than if she were on my back. I let him use the markers to draw, hopefully avoiding a meltdown. The kid next to him wanted to use the markets too but his parents said no because the teacher had set out crayons. Basically my kids wasn’t following the rules but their’s would. Fail. I tried to smile and perhaps introduce myself to them since it looked as if their son was three too. I got the clear impression that they disapproved of me letting my child not follow the rules. No introductions were made.
There was another sweet little boy, nicely dressed with professional looking parents. They complimented Brody on his Toms shoes and introduced their son. I could have hugged them. It is hard for me to reach out to make the first move so when someone else does first I am appreciative. But now wait, they just complimented my son’s cute Toms and sweet face. I quickly need to thing of something nice to say about their’s. I freeze. It’s not that I don’t think their son is super cute. Would it be fake at this point and obvious I was complimenting their son just because they complimented mine? I pulled myself together last minute and said I was so glad to have their son in the same class as Brody and I was sure they would be friends.
It was time to leave. His teacher needed to take a photo before they left. Shit. Brody got market on the front of his shirt. It was clearly going to be in the picture. If I had just forced him to use the crayons like everyone else… He smiled sweetly for the camera and thanked his teacher, saying he wanted to come back tomorrow, not wait until next week. It was super cute and charming. Just as we were going out the door, he out of the blue accusingly told her “YOU FARTED!”. Facepalm. Really Brody, really. He’s pulled this before so I had been on top of explaining to him it’s not funny when he says that to people. Thankfully she laughed it off and said she understood he was just being silly. I guess at least we left with a bang, right?
We walked back out to the car. I loaded both in their carseats and sat behind the wheel. Finally. I could breathe.
I realized that this is just the beginning of a whole new level of parenting insecurities and awkward social situations on my part. I get through the insecurities I feel as a mother to an infant and young toddler. Preschool is a totally different ball game. The thing is, it has nothing to do with how I feel about my son. I seriously think he is the best kid ever. I have zero doubt my kid will shine in his class. If for some reason he doesn’t- it makes no difference to me. I wouldn’t feel any less pride and love for him.
This has everything to do with how I feel constantly judged and inadequate as a parent. Will my feelings end up holding him back? All I know is something needs to change on my end and soon-because this.sucks.