Sunday, August 11, 2013

What are #preschoolproblems anyway?

I am a domesticated freelance writer with two brilliantly beautiful daughters and a world-domination-smart hubs. This blog is for my children, Sunshine and Sweet Pea, who hold all my hopes and dreams for the future on their knobby little shoulders. Before I met them, I had already outlined our lives and the accomplishments we would reach together. But my preconceived notions of parenthood have...well they have been smashed into play dough and covered with boogers.
While pregnant with my first-born, I envisioned sitting at the kitchen table eating homemade pancakes while my darling angel practiced writing her letters. She would be potty trained by 18 months, know her alphabet by 2 and reading by 3 at the very latest. She would like to color and I would braid her hair every morning while she read quietly at a third grade level.
But my Sunshine has other plans.

I've created this blog for you to meet the Real Sunshine. Real Sunshine likes the idea of pancakes, but would rather have a bowl full of Lucky Charms. Sounds legit, except that she only wants the marshmallow bits and the bowl must be filled to the brim with milk. If the cereal doesn't float you might as well toss the whole damn thing out the window. No she doesn't want to drink all that milk, but presentation is everything with this child.
People don't always understand Real Sunshine. Dream Sunshine would just eat whatever was placed in front of her or politely ask for adjustments to be made to the current offerings. However Real Sunshine will seriously flip her gourd because in her mind it's not a bowl of cereal if it's not floating in milk.
Some would say I need to just tell her tough titty. Others might suggest I get down on her level and calmly explain why she doesn't need one and a quarter cups of milk for four pieces of cereal she has no intention of eating in the first place. But that's not what this blog is about.
I don't need parenting advice. I know with that kid my best defense is a good offense. I have to just stay one step ahead and choose my battles. Does that mean I cater to tantrums? Nosireebob. It means I give her a freaking cup and a quarter of milk because she is 4 and this world can be a real beach sometimes.

I am a full-grown woman, and sometimes when it's been a long day and it's 107 degrees outside and the kids are screaming in the backseat, I drop my keys in between the seats just out of reach of my outstretched middle finger. And you know..I want to throw a freaking bowl of cereal myself. I want to kick my feet on the steering wheel and scream and throw my purse out the window. Now 99 percent of the time I just get a Barbie leg to kick my keys to freedom and move on with my life. But even as an adult, who has had decades of practice at appropriate reactions to disappointment and frustration, I sometimes lose my spit.
As a wise preschool director once told me, children are people. But they are uncivilized. And it is our job to gently and patiently civilize them.
There are so many kids who have "normal" reactions when things don't go according to plan. Those mothers do not know the blessing they have, and to them I must say "I hope you at least have horrible stretch marks."
But for those of us who have ever witnessed a toddler meltdown simply because Sid the Science Kid comes on AFTER Sesame Street instead of BEFORE Dinosaur Train, I give you #preschoolproblems. A place for us to just breathe, laugh together in comeraderie and remember that civilization didn't happen overnight.

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