Parenting | After the Preschool Years
I stayed up late Sunday night, baking sugar cookies and frosting them with icy blue frosting & snowflake sprinkles. What are you doing? My husband asked. I thought you said you’d figured out that the four year olds are just as happy with some Chips Ahoy.
But it’s my last time, I said, simply.
The last time my name was on the roster for preschool snack – January’s Winter Party.
My youngest didn’t ask for snowflake sprinkles. She shrugged when I showed her the blue frosting. Yet 11 pm found me pulling cookies out of the oven, and midnight found me checking if the royal icing had hardened.
The lasts are coming hard and fast as she finishes preschool – it’s a post for another time. (A time when I have some Xanax on board, I’m thinking.) But more than anything I feel like a temp who’s worked her way out of a job.
The whole thing starts just like any temp job: those first few months of frantic Holy Exhaustion Batman WHAT AM I DOING, many more months of muddling through, laughing nervously when others are around and weeping when alone, and then slowly – imperceptibly – it gets easier. It gets a little smoother.
I’ve learned the ropes – I can make a Preschooler-Approved Grilled Cheese ™ in under 3 minutes. My potty training skills are downright impressive. (Pausing for a moment here to smooth eyebrows modestly.) I have memorized all the lines to Madeline, Where the Wild Things Are, and Corduroy. I can install a LATCH carseat, I can muster up enough silly to end a tantrum, and I finally learned never to leave the house without wet wipes.
I think my pint-sized employers have been pretty happy with my services. But the gig is coming to an end (they’re no longer pint sized – more like 10 gallon), and I find myself with a resume full of skills not required for the road ahead.
I always knew it was a limited contract. Just seems a shame to walk away when I was getting so good at it.
But like any good temp, the key to the next gig – the one full of early hormones, sports gear and chapter tests – is to show up with enthusiasm, a bit of fake-it-til-you-make-it moxie, and a solid sense of humor. The kind that digs gross-out jokes.