Noob 2.0 is our Lil Miss Independent. She dresses herself every morning from head to toe, including all the mismatched bling. It’s absolutely critical for her to be wearing at least one piece of jewelry everyday. She runs around in Minnie Mouse heels like she was born on a French runway. Even though she’s the definition of “girly girl,” she’s also tough as nails. Noob 2.0 does not put up with anyone’s shit, especially not her big sister’s. I’ve seen her fall face first off our barstools onto the coldest hardest tile, but she bounces back like one of those inflatable punching bags.
When it came time for preschool, I assumed that she’d just wave Bye, Bye Bitches! and then run off to tell all the boys in the yard who’s in charge. For a while, things started out like that. But excitement turned to meh. Meh turned into anxiety. And now it’s all out tears and resistance. Her feelings of fear and anxiety (school’s too long, kids are not nice, the playground isn’t that fun), pop up during the day and even in the middle of the night. It’s heartbreaking.
One Order of Self-Doubt To Go
Trying to troubleshoot this dilemma has turned me into a hot mess of self-doubt. I lie awake on the floor in her room wondering how much damage I’ve already done. Even when I’m driving to the store, I crunch numbers trying to figure how much money we should set aside for future counseling (we’re skipping the college savings and going straight for a therapy account).
Can preschool cause PTSD?
Should we wait another year?
Is there something wrong with this school?
Should I have gone with the school that has a shorter day?
Am I a selfish parent for wanting some alone time?
Is this a normal part of being a parent? Are we always in a state of self-doubt and self-blame? I’m pretty sure that as soon as I have a moment of beautiful parenting clarity, an epic fail will be lurking around the corner to wipe the smug smile off my face. Some days are smooth and full of laughter and silliness. Other days are riddled with tears, tantrums and resentment. Hell if you try and predict when that switch is going to flip.
Keep Your Bumper Sticker
If and when all this hard work has paid off (the reading awards are on the wall and scholarships offers in the mailbox), we’re still not allowed to take credit for all that good stuff. You might get a consolation prize – “My Kids An Honor Roll Student” bumper sticker! I propose that instead of a bumper sticker, we have an International Parent’s Day every three months filled with disgusting, over the top bragging, patting ourselves on the back. Like parades and floats with all the best parents spilling off the sides in drunken delirium. Moms of multiples and single parents would get their own VIP area with an exclusive dancing cage. We’d launch the most grizzled, gnarly, chewed up parents into space. Because this shit is hard — and it’s not a bad idea for some lavish credit where it’s due.
Are You There, God? It’s me, Noob Mommy
When I dropped Noob 2.0 off at preschool on Thursday, the tears were welling up and I could see her trying to put on her brave face. I had to sprint out of the school gates like Michael Johnson to avoid the deluge. At 8:30 am, I was emotionally burnt out. I had one noob taking an incredibly important assessment at school, and another noob with some kind of preschool PTSD. I hadn’t slept through the night in weeks. My rational, logical, problem-solving cortex was like… F%$# this. Cortex straight threw her hands up and peaced out.
So I sat in my car and prayed. I asked God to take over the wheel so I could ride shotgun. I was ready to sit back and eat some Cheetos from the passenger side. I don’t think I can fix the preschool dilemma right now. I have to accept that it’s going to be an unpleasant, tearful battle for a while. But it will pass. In the meantime, it’s going to be a lot prayers and faith from here on out.
For any of you in that crazy season of your life right now where you just want to throw in the towel, I’m there with ya. Remember we’re all doing the best we can. Parenting is tricky and imperfect. We make mistakes and maybe cause “some” trauma along the way. But we are all learning and growing together (and waiting for our parade).