You’re never prepared when disaster strikes. No matter how much you’ve planned, when catastrophe hits it’s always when you’re elbow deep in cookie dough. Such was the case last month when I got word that Andy’s preschool was shutting down permanently. After 42 years of childcare, the owner decided to retire, and she couldn’t wait another year, or even another month. My son’s school was closing in two weeks. My jaw dropped so fast it popped out of its sockets. Two weeks? How was I supposed to find new childcare in fourteen days? What would this do to my offspring’s psyche? Most importantly, how was I going nap with Andy bouncing off the walls?
Talk about a monkey wrench in the works. Over a dozen families were affected, and the preschool teachers were devastated. The kids had just settled into their routines, only to have the rug yanked from under them like some old-timey pantomime. Poor Andy loved going, as well; he looked forward to “pwaying twucks” every week! (Forget about learning anything – it’s all about vehicles with my boy!) I wanted Andy to socialize with his peers – something he wouldn’t get hanging around with me all day. And I wasn’t gonna let him watch TV eight hours in a row, no matter how much he begged. So, I called every preschool and daycare in town and was met with the same answer: every single one of them was full, with wait lists stretching years into the future. If they weren’t full, they were outrageously expensive. Were they training these toddlers for NASA or something? I lamented how my son would be an anti-social loner because I’d failed to get him into preschool, when a ray of sunshine broke through the clouds. One of the schools that had wait listed Andy had an opening! In a case of perfect timing, my kiddo would now spend a few afternoons a week mingling and learning, instead of asking for snacks every four minutes. What a cinematic ending to this third act!
Andy’s new school is bright and airy, with interactive toys and fairy paths through the forest. The teachers are warm and pleasant, not like the cigarette-stained harridans from my youth. Twice a week he toddles off to class, and I get to use the bathroom in private. When he’s not cavorting with other kids, he’s at home with me, making me laugh with his goofy antics. We’ve baked cookies, cleaned the playroom, and played in the rain. He really is a great kid – which I repeat to myself through clenched teeth when he’s wiped his peanut butter sandwich down his shirt. Good gravy, Andy, where’s your common sense? I’m running out of patience here; let’s hope they teach that at your new school!