Dear Preschool Teacher:
I’d like to formally acknowledge our tardiness this morning, and every morning. Since we are paying for our children to attend here, I’m aware that when we’re late I’m actually losing money, which also means I should be extra motivated to arrive on time. But until you threaten or embarrass me (thank you for not threatening or embarrassing me!) we will likely always be ten minutes late. Should you be curious or concerned, I’d like to briefly inform you about the reasons for our tardiness.
The thing is, my children only want to sleep late on preschool mornings. On Saturday and Sunday, bless them, the children rise no later than 6 a.m. If my husband and I have been out late the night before, and especially if we’ve been dancing or consumed alcohol, the children wake up at 5 a.m. But, on preschool morning,s they sleep until I wake them up which means I wait until the last possible moment because I’m frantically looking at Facebook and checking my email while also making their lunches. (Which should have been made the night before but who has the energy for that at 9:30 p.m.?) Sometimes, I lose track of time. You get this, I’m sure.
When the children get up, they are always starving but then they don’t eat. Well, Anna eats but Owen grazes. He’s hungry, but he’s thoughtful about his hunger. I think he may be praying over the day while he chews, and that means it takes 45 minutes for him to consume his breakfast.
Some mornings, like today, I decide to make oatmeal. And not the packaged fast kind but the very complicated steel-cut kind with a spoonful of pumpkin puree and a dash of maple syrup. The cooking goes faster than I think it will until he decides he hates oatmeal, and she’s begging for brown sugar, and the pot is boiling over and there is lots of crying about vitamins because she wants the Pteranodon and I gave her the Triceratops.
I eat breakfast standing up, while emptying the dishwasher. I hope you are starting to feel sorry for me.
It’s a big problem if I leave the oatmeal in their bowls without rinsing because it sticks so badly, but before I know it, the rinsing turns into a frantic cleaning spree. (Should I mention the smashed oatmeal tracked from the dining area to the bathroom, leading to the discovery of a very clogged toilet, which then results in conversation about appropriate amounts of toilet paper to use after going number two? Nah. You’ve watched preschoolers use the potty. You know what I’m talking about.)
I prefer to shower on preschool mornings, but this doesn’t always happen, so if we’re 15 minutes late and I have wet hair, you’ll know why. (I showered! Yay!)
The real problem, as I’m sure you’ve identified, is that I’m not waking up early enough. We are never late for school when I set my alarm clock for 6 a.m., but I don’t do that very often. As the story goes, I stay up until 11 p.m., doing vitally important things like tweezing my eyebrows, watching the news, writing make-believe letters to strangers, and perusing Instagram. And honestly, I just can’t stop these time wasting behaviors because everyone needs a little downtime, and mine only happens at night. I stay up late, and then go to bed exhausted, and then wake up late, and then run around the house looking for white sandals because the pink Native sneakers shrunk in the dishwasher. (And yes, I said dishwasher. I thought it was a good idea at the time.)
Speaking of shoes, when I put mine on this morning, they were killing my feet which made running to the car at 8:17 a.m. all the more challenging. This is what I get for buying cheaply made shoes for my enormous feet. But, I digress.
The other thing you should know is that we have stairs in our house, which puts us at an unfair advantage when compared to families without stairs. I go up and down the stairs approximately 23 times on a preschool morning to collect one shoe, and then the other, and then the hairbrush, the water bottles, the missing sweatshirt, the clean diaper (did I mention Owen always poops right before getting into the car?) and my computer sleeve.
Sweet, innocent teacher, I assure you that we are not as frazzled and worn down as we may appear at 8:42 a.m., every day. Mornings are rough, but I do hope you’ll agree with me that by 12:30 p.m., when I arrive PROMPTLY for pick-up, I appear much less stressed.
And to be quite honest, you always appear a little on-edge when I arrive. No offense, of course. But a morning with preschoolers will do that to you, yes?
Anna and Owen’s mother
The author would like to acknowledge that since writing this letter she has learned the secret to arriving on time to preschool. Ready? Send your older kid to an elementary school where they fine you for tardies. All of a sudden, the author is extra motivated to do all the things necessary to get all the people ready and out the door. Also, for all the preschool teachers: Bless YOU for corralling, leading, and wiping up our children with a smile on your face.