when parker started preschool it was a very emotional time for me. we didn't get into the cool, neighborhood montessori i was so enamored with despite me trying to woo the director with my media connections, my husband's photography skills, and our artsy bohemian lifestyle.
by default, parker ended up at a large co-op nursery school. my pilates instructor had a bad experience there years before and dissed it hard, so i went into it with a sour attitude, assuring myself that we'd be plucked from the waiting list of the groovy montessori imminently.
it didn't happen.
i slowly began to accept parker's fate at our school but not without massive reservations.
the worst horror for me was the revelation that girls start cliqueing (not sure it's a word, but it should be) at three. seriously, three! it made me want to puke.
valentine's day cupcake parties, playdates, and tea party invites swirled around among the popular three-year-old set. parker wasn't invited to anything. she socialized with the adults and ate snack at the private table. it f-n wrecked me, reducing me to an angry junior high mentality.
wtf? here was my adorable, precocious, curly-headed cherub and nobody would talk to her. no one asked her to play. and worse, i occasionally saw her blatantly rebuffed and excluded. it broke my heart. i hated the place.
fast-forward 2.5 years. nino is at the co-op. he has one friend and one kid he thinks is his friend but who is actually psychologically abusive. he clings to me like velcro on my school work days (which parker never did – she always found something creative to amuse herself and produced some cool art during her solitary period).
but now, i'm not in junior high, i'm not freaking out, i'm not unhappy. is it because he's a boy and i don't feel his pain as acutely as my daughter? or is it because i'm seasoned and accepting of how children grow, blossom and make friends organically? who knows. i just know that i'm far more relaxed this time around and accepting of my child's progress.
parker thrived during her second year and blossomed into the confident alpha female that she was born to be. i still have some issues with the school, but have also grown to love it in many ways. i cherish the connections i've made there and i'm proud of my slow, steady progress as a parent.