Monday, September 11, 2006

Ring The Bell; School's Back In

This morning I attended my first "Parent Breakfast" for Jarrah's preschool. In an earlier post, I explained that she wouldn't be starting until she turns two (December 28) but I am "on the list" for her classroom now since the school year began last week. On Friday, I got a call from Jarrah's "room parent," and the reason I am putting this stuff in quotes is that it still seems so foreign to me. I was looking around the room thinking "So this is what a group of preschool parents look like," and it suddenly hit me that they also look like me, apparently. Humph.

At first I wasn't even sure how I was going to attend, since my question "Are kids welcome?" was met with a long "Ummmmmm...." on the phone. Luckily, my friend Melissa came to the rescue. She and I were planning to go shopping this morning at the Carlsbad Outlets, and she agreed to hang out with Jarrah for an hour first. She is a generous soul, particularly since she is leaving this Thursday for China to become a mom to a 9-month-old daughter herself. She even survived a hazing ritual: Jarrah decided to get all poopy as soon as David and I left, even though we had just changed her half an hour before! What's up with that? Melissa was a champ, though, and I'll just keep trying to convince myself that she really, really needed the practice, and Jarrah--sensitive child that she is--instinctively knew that. ;)

At the breakfast, I was somehow plunged back into my highschool mindset of feeling like a total outsider and not part of the cool crowd. I kept having the urge to retreat to a tire swing wearing a giant SONY Walkman circa 1984 playing Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits where I could gaze moodily into the middle distance. Most of the women were air-kissing hello, and waving other gals over to sit with them. As much as I kept repeating in my head, "That'll be you soon; just give it time," I felt more and more self-conscious as my end of the big table remained an uninhabited isthmus. Also, several of the women were pregnant, or talked about their two or three older children in elementary school. I tried to picture myself part of this homey little group and couldn't do it. I know that jumping to judgment is one of my less attractive qualities, so I kept squelching back my anxiety. I do rationally understand that I just need time to get familiar with all this change. After all, I'm guessing I was the only mom there today who became a parent eight months ago and is already meeting their child's preschool room parent.

One thing that I haven't felt any anxiety about is Jarrah herself. It feels totally right to me that she should be starting school. My knowledge of her thus far is that she is tirelessly curious, and quite bold in new situations. I just know the stimulation of other children, new toys and giant fingerpaintings will only make her happier.

1 comment:

Cheri said...

LOL over "hazing ritual." Sorry you felt uncomfortable at preschool -- at least you didn't have to eat your lunch in a bathroom stall like I did in junior high! You'll find some moms you like in no time at all.