Thursday, January 24, 2008

Further Thoughts on School

(The pictures in this post are a "honey train" that Harper made by linking her corn popper and a chair with a hula hoop. The train part I understand; the honey part? Not so much.)

It is Thursday evening which means we successfully survived the first week of preschool. And using the word survived is probably a little dramatic because, after the gut-wrenching tearing myself away from Harper the first day, it was pretty much smooth sailing. The whole experience became easier much more quickly than I expected.

I had fairly low expectations for what I would accomplish while Harper attended school this week, figuring I would be distracted and have a difficult time concentrating on much of anything.

Today I got out to do a couple of errands and then sat down in a local coffee shop for a little quiet time. I had my notebook with me (an actual paper notebook, not a notebook computer*) and I sat down to write a little which I obviously enjoy and getting to do it uninterrupted in the light of day is a real treat. I plan to give myself one of the school mornings each week to either read or write with a good cup of (decaf) coffee; at least until the baby comes because then, let's face it, I'll be lucky to get my hair brushed every day.

Writing, for me, has lots of therapeutic benefits and today, as I was working through all my feelings about Harper being in school, I kept getting all choked up. Of the two of us, I am by far having the more difficult time with the transition to preschool.

Sending Harper off to school has made me realize, in a completely new way, how little idea parents have about what goes on in school all day long. When I was a teacher I tried to communicate with the parents regularly. We had a newsletter every week. I sent lots of notes home (mostly about good/celebratory things and not just when there was a problem) and even tried to touch base by phone every so often. The last school I taught at had mandatory conferences three times a year and was a very open place in general so I saw many of the parents on a daily or at least weekly basis. And yet. . . so much happens in the course of a school day that I could never possibly communicate all of it, especially when you consider both the social and educational aspects of what is going on. Harper is only at school for two and a half hours and I feel like trying to figure out her day is akin to putting together a puzzle with only one-third of the pieces present.

I wouldn't have the first idea what to think about it if she were either less willing or less able to verbalize what goes on at school.

I always figured there would come a time when I didn't know every intimate detail of Harper's life. However I wasn't expecting it to hit until age thirteen or even adulthood. The idea that, from this point on, there will always be a part of Harper's life that is seperate from me made me so sad. I know that is what is supposed to happen eventually, from the moment they are born, parenting is about helping your children learn how to be apart from you.

It's just I really wasn't prepared for it to be this difficult.

*I would love to have a notebook computer, so if anyone out there wants to, um, sponsor my non-existent professional writing career by gifting one this way, by all means. . . Because I'm really quite certain the only thing standing between me and the piles of money I could make writing professionally is some sort of portable computer. Lack of talent? Lack of time? These are all issues that I'm pretty sure can be immediately rectified by a keyboard in a pretty package made by Apple. Right?


Giselle said...

How many days a week is Harper going? I remember when Andrew started school, he was going 2 days a week...and I had a month until Lily was due. I made sure I enjoyed and relaxed during his school days. And I'm glad I did ;)

Enjoy your time off!

Heather said...

I just registered Wesley for preschool yesterday. He won't start until Fall (if we really decide to send him)and I think it will be great for him to have something special that is "just his" after 2.0 is born. But I know I'll be a crying mess when he goes.

Mommy Daisy said...

I can understand your feelings. Because right now I can't imagine not having my son with me all the time. But I'm sure once the baby is here, you'll enjoy having a little alone time with just him too. Or time for Mommy to take a nap. ;)

Pam said...

My son is in day care and even after 15 months of dropping him off my heart gets torn out each morning. When I pick him up I'm lucky if I find out how long he slept and I wish I knew EVERY detail.
It certainly makes every second I get with him precious.
I love your blog and wish I had a spare notebook for you!

Swistle said...

OH I KNOW! My two school-aged kids won't tell me ANYTHING about school. I have NO idea what goes on there. I'm always DESPERATE for information from the teachers; I snap up EVERY TINY SCRAP. Sometimes they send home newsletter-type things, and I put them on the fridge so I can read them again and again and again! It feels REALLY STRANGE that the teacher sees my kids for more hours per day than I do.

Erin said...

That's TRUE about not knowing what goes on. It's a little weird, but even THAT gets to be more familiar. The not-knowing-everything. It's probably especially hard in your case since you've cared for Harper full-time since she was born!

I had to wipe a little drool off my own keyboard, thinking about time on my own. I am really happy for you and that it is working out with pre-school, so don't take that the wrong way. I think it's awesome. I will just have to live vicariously through you for a while. Spread that serenity!

Marie Green said...

Oh, hey, you are Kelsey and Harper, Erin's friends. Erin is one of my favorite bloggy people!

I felt EXACTLY the same way as you did when my girls went of to preschool. I think when you are home with your child(ren) full time, it is a shock to not have your finger on the pulse of EVERY DETAIL. It was very strange and sad for me too.

Also, thanks for you comments about Charlie and Lola. Yes, Lauren Child is the creator/author/illustrator. Not sure if she's all three of those things, but she's at least one of them. We've checked out some of her other books from the library- I want to say her books are about Clarice Bean, or something close to that. They are also sweet, but I still like the tv show the best. Combining the unique animations, cute kids' voices, and that sweet charming accent is what does it for me.

Marie Green said...

BTW, is Harper your daugher's "real" name? I LOVE IT. LOVE.