When Braden was two years old and one day, he started preschool at a neighborhood Montessori. It was a rough beginning, with a lot of leg clinging, and a lot of tears (on both our parts, I have to admit). But my God, he looked so adorable on that first day of school.
I did have some guilt and a bit of trepidation about starting him in school so young. But with work and a second baby on the way, I fledged ahead. And after a few months, it proved to be a good decision. Braden loved the school, I loved the school, and I had my mornings with Casey. We were in a groove and Braden was thriving. He was in a cute little classroom with 11 other cute little kids and two awesomely loving teachers.
This year Braden moved from the 2's room to the "real" Montessori room. Real Montessori meaning mixed ages (3-6), larger class size (around 18 kids), and real Montessori work. I was a Montessori kid myself, and I believe in the philosophy, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. Braden has a September birthday and would be one of the youngest kids in the class. He is a little wild. He is a little sensitive. He is a little shy. He's a little boy.
On week 2 of this school year, the teacher told me that Braden was having some trouble "following the rules." No shit? He doesn't follow the rules at home, why would school be any different? I have to say my husband and I had a bit of a laugh about it. He's only 3 for God's sake. But nonetheless, we had talks with him about sitting in circle time, standing in a line, cleaning up, etc. Word from his teacher was that he improved. Okay.
But as the months went on I started to have a few more small concerns. Braden seemed to be on his own a lot. He seemed to be growing shy at school - a stark contrast from the incessant talking, dancing, jumping, singing, etc. that he does at home and on playdates. With a lack of structure in the classroom, he started acting up during transitions. And then, in an incident I am sure I will laugh about someday but which still traumatizes me, he ran off the stage screaming during the school holiday performance.
Overall, he is fine. The school is fine. But the above issues had gotten me thinking. Would Braden be better in a smaller class? With kids closer to his age? With a more structured environment? With a play base?
I have no idea. But on a whim, I applied to two other preschools. These preschools are those hoity toity preschools that require playdate "interviews" and have lengthy waiting lists. But, by all accounts, they are awesome play based schools with great teachers and small classes and expansive playgrounds.
I assumed he wouldn't get in. I almost hoped he wouldn't get in, because then I could say that I tried and did all I could, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. And then he could stay at his current school and all would be fine. Because who is to say that either one of these preschools, despite their stellar reputations, would be better?
Of course, this morning we got the call. He got into one of them.
And now I have the next few weeks to agonize over this decision. Because surely this decision will affect the rest of his life and his career and his ability to make friends and meet a wife and raise kids. Surely this decision means EVERYTHING and if I fuck it up then I am the worst mother ever and have doomed my child to a life of isolation and despair.
MY GOD THIS IS ONLY PRESCHOOL WHY CAN'T I CALM THE FUCK DOWN ABOUT IT CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TALK SOME SENSE INTO ME.
I totally am going to lose sleep over this.