This morning as I sat in the preschool tour group, I found myself sizing every parent up. The one in the grey shirt, she couldn’t brush her hair for this? Wow, that’s some ugly tie that guy is wearing. Oh, that mom HAS to be named Muffy.
The people who might normally be my friends (except for the Muffy who looked about as interesting as dryer lint) were suddenly my competition as we were informed by the director that last year, 250 people applied for 47 preschool slots. With priorities given to legacies.
We are not legacies.
As it turned out, I had no need to feel competitive since all the parents in the room were there on behalf of kids yet to turn two. Leaving me the sole idiot mom in the room (if not in all of New York City) applying to a threes program, for a kid whose current version of school is dancing with mommy to the Bangles in the living room, identifying the letters on her alphabet cookies (organic!) and talking back to Dora on the TV. Where are we going? Big blue mountain! Where are we going? Big blue mountain!
Shut up. Noggin is like preschool on TV.
You cannot even imagine the psychosis that preschool application time inspires throughout the boroughs of New York City each Fall. You could poke your head into any place where parents gather, whisper preschool and watch 80 heads whip around, Exorcist-style. It’s like college application time. Only much, much, much much worse.
I swore I would not get wrapped up in it when our time came. Heck, Metrodad is avoiding it entirely. And by not getting wrapped up I mean total denial. Just ask Mrs. Crouton Boy who gave me such a You Poor Sweet Delusional Woman look when I ran into her at lunchtime and told her that we were just applying to the one school. One? As in…one?
Yes, one. The only one that managed to fit me in for the requisite tour considering I called a good five weeks after all the Together Mommies had done the right thing and called at precisely 8:01 AM the Tuesday after Labor Day.
The thing is? Call it kismet but oh my dear sweet lord did I love this school. Loooooooved. The director. The teachers. The philosophy. The walking distance from our apartment. It just…felt like me. Like Thalia. Even if we applied to ten schools this would be the only one I want for her.
I loved it in direct disproportion to our chances of getting in.
And so I am going to turn in our one application and hope really really hard that they get to meet Thalia in person and see what a geeeeenius she is and what an absolute perfect addition she would be to their classroom which is surely in need of a middle-class white girl to create some diversity. How Thalia’s the kid with the great sense of humor, even if she doesn’t know why we’re laughing. The girl with the amazingly developed sense of empathy. Who doesn’t freak out (too much) if another kid takes her toys. Who listens so hard to the bird sounds in the country and tries to differentiate the Jays from the chipmunks. The girl so filled with goodness that she can love even the most unlovable creatures of this planet.
In return, the preschool can do me the honor of billing me close to 5-figures so that my daughter can climb on a jungle gym, play with trains and eat paste.
The best part is, you don’t even get charged extra for the paste they eat. It’s included in the price and everything.