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Preschoolers Are the New Infants

The stress and life changes that come with having a baby were something I anticipated. Though I didn’t grasp them fully until that first night at home away from the help and expertise of the hospital staff, common sense, combined with the solicited and sometimes unsolicited advice of friends and family, let me know that I was in for a major upheaval in our day to day routine.

Still, I somehow survived those early days with my son, then again when my daughter was born a few years later and now we are leaving behind the days of diapering and nights filled with feeding and rocking. The baby gates are packed away, the crib has been sold, and everyone feeds themselves at dinner and, on a good day, they even use silverware. I was almost ready to heave a great sigh of relief. Finally, this whole parenting thing was getting easier. My fist was raised for the pumping and then…preschool happened.

Unlike having a newborn, no one warned me about this swirling vortex of chaos. I’ve traded packing a diaper bag for book bag packing. Instead of remembering the times of the last feeding and the number of wet diapers for the next pediatrician visit, I’m now trying to keep up with an endless list of to do’s, must haves, and homework deadlines.

I was thinking about this transition as I stood on our porch this morning thumping pumpkins. I remembered at the last minute that Anders needed one for an art project at school today and I had to determine which of the pumpkins I had purchased almost two weeks ago to decorate with would be the least likely to rot over the weekend while it sat in his classroom drying. Mornings are the hardest for me. It’s the time when the decision to fall into bed at a reasonable hour in place of picking out clothes and packing bags and making lists the night before  really comes back to bite me.

It’s almost November and I still haven’t found my groove in this new routine. I forget things — permission slips, craft supplies, and to pack an extra jacket for when the afternoon turns cold. More often than not I’m the mom who volunteers to bring the plates and plastic silverware instead of the homemade cupcakes for the class party.

I’m also still learning how best to assist my children in their education without frustrating us both to tears in the process. Ever tried to get a fidgety four year old to write the six letters in his name even remotely legibly at 6pm at night while you try to pull dinner together? It can make you want to rip every hair in your head out and also wish that you had named him Ed instead of Anders. Two letters would be so much easier.

I hope to eventually get the hang of being the mother to a school-aged child, that the frenetic pace will eventually slow to a jog, or perhaps my stamina will improve. Until then I am the provider of napkins, cups, and squishy pumpkins.

Anyone else struggling to keep up with the demands that come with having children in school?

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