Tag Archives: preschool

What I Did This Summer


Now that schools are starting, I’d like to give you the report every fifth grader must present: What I Did This Summer.

Sally had her first ballet performance: I was terrified she’d never get on stage. Or that she’d get on stage and then lose her breakfast all over it. Or that they’d lose her backstage in a pile of tutus. Or that somehow I’d end up needing to run up there in front of 500 parents. Instead, the only thing I didn’t prepare for happened. She was perfect and I cried a gallon of happy tears, starting the moment she came on stage. It was the most moving performance I’ve ever seen. I’m that mom.

I bought three cute pieces of wall art for my kitchen: They look like country fruit-stand signs. And I got them on quadruple clearance, which made me feel like the bargain hunter of the century even though I came across them by accident. Then they arrived and I held them up to the wall. They blended in like oatmeal does when it gets splattered on the kitchen wall. (I know. That has happened.) So I boldly announced that I would be painting the kitchen. The Mr. was not fond of the idea that my $8 wall plaques were going to now cost $50 in paint and several days of my time. He declared he would not be participating in this fiasco. That was fine. I painted the kitchen yellow! Now the wall art looked great! Oooh, but the light switch and outlet covers looked terrible. So we replaced those. [Insert cha-ching of cash register.] Yay—ooh, look how bad the cabinets look. Wow. This fall I’ll be painting those.

I got a sewing machine: This means you can expect many more craptastic crafts from me. My first project was a tea towel that went tragically wrong and became a weekend bag for Barbie. That’s the kind of thing that happens around here.

Sally finished preschool: This involved 38 end-of-year parties. I am sick of end-of-year parties. However, I am incredibly grateful that our school does not have a preschool graduation. I’m sure if they did, I’d be bawling proudly at that, too, but since they don’t, I can be a jerk and say “What is with the toddler-sized caps and gowns? Are you savoring the moment because you’re worried he might not graduate from junior high?” I don’t get it.

Our microwave pooped out: So for two weeks while we awaited our new one, we had no microwave. That went surprisingly okay. Then the new one arrived. It goes over the stove (ooh, la la). And Mr. Embee would be installing that. . . . which is TOTALLY FINE with me. Yep. So that took about a week because naturally no home the Embee family lives in has anything STANDARD about it. After sawing and drilling and essentially remodeling the kitchen, the microwave was installed! We are all very proud of Mr. Embee. And the microwave works perfectly. Unless you run it longer than a minute. Then it blows a circuit and everything in the kitchen goes out.

I kinda took a break from blogging: Yeeeah, sorry about that. Even blabbermouths like me get writers’ block sometimes.

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Things That Didn’t Get Done


For the first two weeks of preschool, Sally napped. She needed it to get her through the eight-hour days in new surroundings and the Mr. and I gave ourselves pep talks before about how this would probably happen. But still, it was HORRIBLE. You see, when Sally naps, she gets insomnia and cannot fall asleep before 11 p.m. Anyone who has lived with a child for more than, oh, 25 minutes, knows that the only thing keeping parents alive is the blessed early bedtime. So her being awake so late is parent torture. Since being at Guantánamo Bay means I was either playing with my kid late into the evening or laying in bed with her as she tossed and turned, there are a lot of things that didn’t get done around here.
12 things that fell through the cracks while I lived the preschooler life:
*Moving towels from the washer to the dryer. Fortunately the mildew smell alerted me.
*Dishwashing. I reused a plastic spork one night.
*Picking up miniature Strawberry Shortcake pieces. Now a pink purse is lodged in my heel and fruit fumes are emanating from the carpet.
*Paying the gardner. Don’t get all uppity about me having a gardner. He mows the lawn. It’s not like I’m lounging by a pool watching some man’s muscles ripple. Anyway, I forgot to pay him, so if I die by weed whacking, you’ll know why.
*Having conversations with a man (apologizing to the gardner doesn’t count). Did you know there is a male living in my house?! He’s tall, too. And he says we’re married. Crazy.
*Reading. I was actually 3/4 through a book. A BOOK — with more than 12 pages and without rhyming text. Now I don’t even remember where I put it.
*Making a fantastic dessert for a dinner party. A personal disappointment since I can only show love by feeding people. I managed to pull together brownies and ice cream, which says “I like you, I just don’t LIKE YOU like you.” Ugh.
*Applying to be parent representative for Sally’s class. Now some other mom has that job — i.e., I LOSE. And no, I don’t have time to be class rep. It doesn’t matter. Everything is a competition and I highly prefer to win.
*Watching Project Runway. They didn’t send Mondo home, did they? I love that tiny guy.
*Finding any images for this blog post. {sigh} Apologies.
*Exercising. This experience actually reversed time and made it so that I haven’t been to the gym since 2009!
*Watering backyard flowers. Good news, though — they’re dead now, so they don’t need water anymore.

How to Overreact to Starting School


There was this girl who cried every day for the first few weeks of school. It was hard, she didn’t know anyone, and her mommy wasn’t there to help her.

It was me. At college. So perhaps I should have been a bit more mentally prepared when we tried to transition Sally from daycare to preschool last spring and she burned the place down. Okay not really, but it felt that severe as, time and again, she screamed, cried and clung to me until her nails dug into my flesh. On the last “visit” back then, I cried, too (which, FYI, is SO not the way to calm your kid down). I had no idea how to make it better for her. The good news is that if you look us up in the preschool database, a cute red flag pops up that says “AVOID INTERACTION: Mother unstable. Child possessed. Dad poor sucker.”

It was so bad I couldn’t even find any humor in it to blog about. We were seriously dysfunctional! I had made a monster baby who would never go to school! This was worse than the kid at the park who is clearly being raised by local squirrels!

So we quit preschool. We became quitters. We decided to wait until fall and hope that mysteriously, miraculously, she would change. Also, I started to plan how we would pay the mortgage after I had to quit my job to homeschool Freak Child. And how we would protect ourselves from the outside world once we morphed into albino hermits who sweat blood whenever we meet new people.

Sometimes I blow things out of proportion a little bit.

Then we determined we needed spend the summer teaching Sally that she could do new things by herself, and that being around children besides her best friend is actually NOT considered torture in most countries. So we dipped our toe into the world of babysitting (with a good friend . . . baby steps). And she took swim lessons in a small class where I was viewable through glass but she couldn’t get to me. A lot like prison, which is where children who don’t go to school often end up. I had to keep reminding myself of that whenever she looked like she was going to pass out from stress. This was good for her, and me. She has to go to school at some point. I don’t remember a thing about California history or sex ed.—I can’t possibly home school.

She's the rootinest, tootinest cowgirl in the whole preschool.

Guess what? Project Self Esteem and Socialization worked. Well, in all likelihood her brain developed as it would have naturally, but the swim lessons probably didn’t hurt. Over the summer she stopped wanting to leave the park if other kids showed up. The first time she initiated a conversation with another child I nearly peed my pants. Once, a random girl we met was so excited to play that she hugged Sally, (This happens quite a bit. Sally’s aloofness with kids makes her highly desirable.) and this time, her head did NOT spin around 360 degrees! (The Mr. is going to say this paragraph makes Sally seem way weirder than she really is. . . . He’s entitled to his opinion.)

So I felt pretty good heading into the first day of school this week. She’d visited a few times in August, with great results (pretty sure they still radio security when I enter the building, but whatever), and Sally was excited to go to “big kid school.” I was at ease. Well, except for the part where I packed a pound of ice packs into her lunchbox so it would stay cold enough that she wouldn’t get food poisoning from string cheese. . . . And lectured her about where everything was in her backpack. . . . And reminded her 12 times what time I’d pick her up. . . . And told her “You can do it!” every 90 seconds. TOTALLY at ease. Then on the drive, she suddenly said “my tummy hurts” and all I could think was “don’t puke. Don’t puke! Please dear god, DON’T PUKE!”

Prayers work. She didn’t puke.

She was great. She was a pro. And I was more proud of her than ever because I knew what it took her for her to get through that long first day. When I picked her up, she put on a brave face until the car door was closed. Then she moaned “I’m exhausted!” and burst into tears. So I took her home, made her dinner and dessert, let her watch a movie while she huddled on the couch with her blanket, and told her what a great job she did. I suspect she’ll handle college better than I did.