The Graduate

preschool graduationMy last baby has graduated from pre school. It was a lovely affair held in our back yard.  He had been at the school for nearly 3 years.  The hat wasn’t part of the ceremony, but dang it, I wanted to see one on his head so I ordered it up.graduation party for kids

I was part of the planning, which was a piece of cake compared to what I was doing the next day, spearheading our neighborhood block party.  We had a great taco vendor I knew provide the food.  I didn’t want anyone to worry about bringing a dish.  We set up a little amphitheater in the deeper part of my yard.

home party for pre schoolersWe asked parents to bring blankets to sit on and collected pictures of the kids through the years they had been together and hung them on string with cloths pins.  I cannot take credit for this idea, but it is one to steal.

preschool graduation

school guinea pig is in the cage

The kids marched in from behind the little chairs singing with their teachers Dewi and Douglas the chorus to Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate”.  We sang with them. Dewi has been with Rex since he was 2 and half. That’s a heartfelt hug. When it was Rex’s turn to get his diploma I delighted in not only his accomplishment, but at how happy his friends were to see him go up and get hugs from the teachers and get his honor. He also got the book they had been keeping on him while he was there.  When his teacher spoke about working with the kids she teared up and I cried enough to make a bit of sound.pre school record

The kids played, adults drank wine, we had an ice cream truck.  Couldn’t have been better.

Though it’s a sweet little school it’s an unattractive semi industrial area of Hollywood.  It always a challenge to park as big swaths of the street are designated commerical loading for the production companies.  It has been an ongoing battle and I thought we had made head way with hour Councilman that we need Green zone, that gives you 10 to 15 minutes to drop off.  We also had a parking officer who let up on us this last year.  One can’t drop off little kids casually.  There is also an abandoned yard next to it ( Thanks to the DWP who own it and have left it to rot)  Though in the the course of their schooling the kids and teachers took little walking field trips and found the cool bits in the neighborhood.  Then the kids photographed their favorite thing.  Quite rightly my son took a picture of a fireman. That’s my boy. So, it wasn’t in rolling hills, it was ok.

after one year of preschool

after one year of preschool

On Monday they had a last half day.  When I picked him up I gave out hugs and presents to his teachers.  This was it.  I wouldn’t ever be a pre school mom again.  Door shut.  It’s a sweet time of life and I’m glad I got to experience it again through my kids.  I appreciated more with them then I did in my own time.  Which is why I think Rex is so wise to see it’s value now.  As we drove to a play space that a smart mom had set up for us to meet and have a pizza party Rex shared this:

“Momma,  I’m sad.  I want to stay in preschool for the rest of my life and play with my friends.”

I understand, I said.  I didn’t say.  It doesn’t get better.  This is the most carefree you’ll ever be in your life.  You are right to be sad about this passing moment. In a few years, more of life’s detris will come crashing on you, play while you can my son!

Then I dabbed away my tears with the parking ticket I had just gotten for parking in a commercial loading zone near his school.  Maybe, after all, I was ready to move on.

Rex Returns

Well, to video.  The schools have stolen my best talent.  But, good news, Summer is upon us.  Vivien is almost out, but my former sidekick  my son is done with his first full year of fulltime preschool and he is ready to make time for his moms silly practice of making online videos.

Really, he couldn’t wait!  Really?


How long should Pre school be?

Preschool anxiety time… not for Rex.  For me.  Mommy separation issues. Not for Rex.  For me.

Rex has graduated to going to pre school two times a week from 8:45 to noon.  He could have done 3 days a week, but I decided against it.  He is my last baby and I wanted him a little longer. I mean look at him! I know I’m biased, but it can be hard to be away from that little guy.

Now, the school, which I like, is asking if we would like to have Rex stay for lunch.  So his day would be two days a week till 1pm.  My first thought: HELL NO.

Too long of a day for my not quite 3 year old.

Now, are kids who are in day care all fine? Sure.  In the abstract.  But, for my little little cherub?

Me: Vivien only went to school till noon when she was his age

Mark: but she went 5 days a week

Me: oh, yeah.

Me: It’s going to cost more.

Mark: it will cost 10 dollars.

But, won’t he be so tired? I think when I pick him up he will be face down on the lunch table snoring.

Now as a mature parent in control of her small children’s life I did the sound thing.  I asked the 35 month old what he wanted to do.
I got a nod to “would you like to stay longer and have lunch with your friends?”

Sigh, guess we will try that… but not till next week.

How long is the right time in pre school?

Big Girl Seat

I’m glad this vid didn’t reveal how trashed my car is looking.  I even got it detailed recently and it still looks like homeless people are living in it.  I took out four fistfuls of trash and clothes that needed to go inside and it’s still as cluttered as Mumbai at rush hour.

But, it’s a little less crowded with Vivien’s booster seat!

Beautiful Mom

There is much in the media about mom’s being competitive.  I think it is overstated. I can see when someone is richer, smart, thinner than me and maybe if I was younger I would try to trump them.  Now, it’s like, oh, wish I was thin, rich, whatever.  But, here I am.  And sometimes a mom rises above the crowd, not in a bad way, but in a way you have to admire.

Art I Will Keep

I’ve griped about the mountains of artwork the kidlets bring home. Am I heartless for not wanting it all? I am saving a few things, or I’ll save things for a few weeks and then rotate them out.

Obama plate - preschool art project -

But this Obama plate she made at school recently is going in the archives. Think how excited I would be if my mom pulled out a McGovern plate I had made back in the day. And he didn’t even win!

This also cracks me up because it shows what a liberal bastion her preschool is. No parent complained.

Kiwi Problem

No, this isn’t about some New Zealander I had a fling with. That was years ago and it was no “problem” – wink, wink, nudge, nudge – if you know what I mean. This is a classic mom-tale.

Daphne with kiwis

It’s the end of a busy day, one in which I think I am getting a cold. The end of the week is busier for me because I work on my TV show on Thursdays and Fridays. I’ve got enough squared away so Viv and I can go to my sister’s and watch the last presidential debate. Well, so I can watch and she can play with her cousins.

Under the pile on the kitchen counter, I see a note from the school. My mother-in-law picked up Viv as she often does, God bless her, so I hadn’t seen the note. In honor of “F” week (each week, a new letter is featured), the class is making fruit salad. Vivien needs to bring – I hold my breath, hoping it’s something we have already – bananas? Grapes? Plums? Strawberries? Apples? Oranges?  I just went to Whole Foods; I have everything! Oh wait, no, I don’t – she is supposed to bring two to three kiwis. Certainly I have a day to accomplish this? No, by tomorrow morning. Grrrr.

I was lucky. Vivien’s babysitter was just about to leave, so I asked her to please go to the store and get me kiwis (I didn’t want to miss the debate). She did. So this morning, I got Viv and myself out the door on time (miracle), with no tears (second miracle). We walk into her classroom and DUH. I FORGOT THE DAMN KIWIS.

My husband is not working this morning, so I just farmed it out to him to go back to school. I’m afraid what else I will screw up!

Preschool Days 2 & 3: Mama Drama

Day 2: After an hour of her not wanting me to leave, I bit the bullet and walked out. I walked out to her screaming and crying and begging and grabbing at my legs. I walked to the gate and didn’t turn around. One of the hardest thing I have ever done. Like I’ve been punched in the gut.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jonny Thirkill

I had signaled the teaching assistant I was doing it. She was standing next to us, ready to attend to Vivien. I went to the grocery store and took the groceries home. A zombie. All those things I had been looking forward to doing with my new free time in the morning flew out of my mind. I just felt horrible. I thought she must hate me. When I got home, there was a squirrel in my house. We both screamed. It ran out of the window we shouldn’t have left open.

I drove back near the school and walked closely by to try to hear her screams. I didn’t. I walked around the neighborhood for one hour. At least I got some exercise, that had been on my list. I was going to rush in at one point, but called my mom and she talked me out of it. “You are just going to prolong this,” she saod.  But it also showed it’s not crazy of Vivien or the other kids who cried when their parents left. I am arguably a middle-aged woman and in times of stress, I want my mommy too.

I called my friend Bonnie, I called my husband. Finally I sat in front of the school, again, just waiting to hear her voice or cry. When two parents from her class came up, they said I was not sitting by our kids, but a different class, so I wouldn’t have heard here anyway. We went in. I could see her happily having lunch. The teacher came over to us (they didn’t want the kids to see us yet). She said Vivien had cried for a few minutes and then played with two other kids. (Who had also cried earlier, maybe they are the sensitive crew.)  I went to where she was playing, about 15 minutes later.

I said, “are you ready to go home?”

Vivien said, “No, I want to stay.” I was so relieved and happy.

Mark is out of town, so I have to take her tomorrow, even though I have to bail even faster. God, I hope it goes okay.

And to think if Brad and Angie hadn’t had their kid on Monday, I wouldn’t have been able to have that experience with her.

Day 3: I went earlier so there were fewer kids and it was more tranquil. It’s a small room they start out in and it gets pretty hectic by 9ish. I stayed 30 minutes. Again, had to leave for work. I gave her a warning of leaving.  She took that fine.  But, when I said, “I’m going,” she flipped out again. Cried, grabbed, again the TA was standing by to pick her up. Vivien whacked her away, but the TA stayed with her. I walked out. As I walked to my car, I seriously thought I was going to throw up.

I drove 45 minutes to my shoot and blabbed to everyone who would listen about the preschool drama. I did a shoot on celebrity gift baskets. All that swag they get at gifting sweets. I said to my crew, “Let’s knock this out in one hour,” and we did. I was able to get back to Viv for the end of school. And again they said she had 2 minutes of crying and then was fine. She seemed fine. But tonight she said, “Mommy, no more school.”

I wasn’t going to send her 5 days this week, but now I think I should. Get her used to it…oh, gosh, I dunno. Also trying to set up some play dates with classmates, as she feels a familiarity with some of the kids.

You know, the other part that nags at me is I have a 14-year-old stepson who wants to spend very little time with us, and so I think, “Why am I pushing away this kid who wants to be with me?”

Preschool Day One Report: Stress

It all started so well. Vivien picked out her outfit. Yes, not surprisingly she ditched the rubber boots fast, I had back up.

Vivien on her first day of preschool

And she was very pleased with her new lunch box. I had really been selling that as a cool thing and it seemed to be working. “Your lunchbox, for your school!”

Well, we get there and a lot of parents are trying to leave right away. Many are successful. A few need to hang back. I tried, but Vivien would start crying. So out of her three-hour day, I stayed 2 hours. I would have stayed more, but I did have to go to work.

There was one boy who was so undone, he cried almost nonstop for the entire two hours. I had a knot in my stomach from watching his big tears and sobs. It reminded me of how I was when I’d break up with someone in my 20s.

I insist on some space: “You go in the play yard, I’ll be over here.” Finally during the art project, which she really liked, I told her, “In 20 minutes, I’m leaving,” and then again at 2 minutes. She didn’t freak out. I kissed her, she didn’t freak, and I left.

My friend who works there said she sniffled a bit at lunch and wouldn’t eat. So much for the magic of the new Hello Kitty lunch pail. But when my sister and niece picked her up she was happy to see them and went and swam at my other sister’s house. I threw nap schedule out the window.

I got to work and found out that our show was being moved around this week due to accommodating a special on Brad and Angelina’s new babies.  Which was fine with me because it meant I didn’t have to work Tuesday morning and could take and pick up Vivien from school.  But, what I got my panties in a bundle about were what Brangelina named their daughter. Vivienne. Harrumph. Now every tabloid-reading pregnant lady is going to use some version of my daughter’s name. Which when she was born was not even in the top 1000 on the social security name list (my religion when I was pregnant was looking up names on that site) and Vivian (with an A) was about 250.

Now I like gazing at Brad and Angie as much as the next Star magazine (plug) reader, but I wanted Viv to have a tad offbeat name like my own… not really off, just a little.

I digress. so I am at work for about an hour, in an editing room with an editor and two producers.  The editor says, “How you doing?” A normal question. I burst into tears, “It’s–sob–my daughter’s first day–sob–at preschool.” You get the picture. They were nice. The editor says, “Of course it’s tough, and in 5 minutes she’s getting married.”

Last night I told Vivien we were going back to her school today. She said, “More school?  I don’t want to go.” Reaching for the phantom Valium again…