How I Came to Appreciate the Flipside of My Toddler's Most Exhausting Personality Traits
The Preschool Application Process
Posted by Morgan Benzian
Next month, I am going to sign up my toddler for pre-school in the fall. Well, technically it's a "Two Year Old Pre-School Readiness Class." Whatever. Twice a week, I will get to leave her for 2 hours so I can... well, that should leave me enough time to... go to the post office?
I have been waiting for this since my baby was 6 weeks old. That's when I put her on the freaking waiting list. I know, right? It seemed like as soon as she was born everyone was asking me if I had put her on The List. I would stare at my little swaddled bundle and think, "pre-school?" I mean, I was barely about to make it to tomorrow and I had this to think about?
Apparently, I was supposed to do it while she was still in-utero like one of my amazing and beautiful girlfriends Kristen (I'm calling you out girl!). She literally signed up her darling boy when she was about 8 months pregnant. I know this because I saw his name on The List. There it was, about 10 rows up from my daughter's name: Lucas- DOB: TBD. So, at 6 weeks old, my baby was already WAY behind. Oh well, I guess it was just another item to add to my List of Things To Worry About.
Well, a couple of months ago I got the phone call I had been waiting for. The woman's voice said, "Hi, this is so-and-so from school. Congratulations Mom, there is a spot available for your toddler in our 11am class! It's not the most desirable time slot, but given her position on The List, this is a truly remarkable opportunity." My first thought was, "I'm paying for her to go there, right? What's with this congratulations business?" But, not wanting to compromise my daughter's good fortune, I graciously accepted their generous offer. Insert eye roll here.
Then came the paperwork. OMG. There was a stack of it. Policies, procedures, medical information, emergency information, dress codes, conduct codes.... It went on and on. The last form I filled out had the most thought-provoking question and answer section: "How would you describe your toddler?"
I literally had to put the paper down and think about it for a couple of days. This was serious. How do you describe a child who is part Fairy Princess, part Road Runner and at least half Neanderthal without damaging her reputation? I had to really think long and hard about this one and use my words wisely. So here is how it went down.My daughter is an energetic (hyperactive) little girl. She is passionate (temperamental) and head-strong (stubborn). She is a real leader (bossy). She is also creative (dramatic) and artistic (sensitive). She has very high standards (picky) and can be tenacious (relentless) at times. She is particularly detail-oriented (anal). Finally, she is a spirited (intense) and delightful (she will charm the cookie right out of your hand) child. She will be a wonderful addition to the classroom.
This was a great exercise for me. It helped me realize that every personality trait has a flipside. Yes, my toddler's energy levels can be exhausting. But you know what? She's always ready to go out and have a good time. She inspires me to get out and do something fun every day. She can be really stubborn, but the girl knows what she wants. Who can blame her for that? Plus, I know that she will never get pushed around on the playground and she will always stand up for what is right.
Sometimes she makes me crazy because things always have to be her way and exactly how she wants it (I wonder where she gets that from?). It's her tenacity and attention to details that assures me she will go far in life. But really, how seriously can you take it all when your 3-foot little dictator is trying to boss you around while literally wearing nothing but Cinderella high heels and a tiara?
Have you signed your toddler up for preschool yet? How would you describe him or her to their future teacher?
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