This week my two year old daughter started a program through Parks and Rec that will let her play and interact with other children her age. I chose it as a fun activity for both of us to share together; something to shake up our week and get us out of the house trying new things and make friends. While, in the past, I’ve taken her weekly to a regular story-and-song program at the library, this was the first time we’ve paid to have my daughter do an activity.
I had a feeling this program had the kids do a lot of the things they might do in preschool, only with the parents present; in fact, it was even held in the preschool room at our town’s community center. There was circle time on the rug, a craft where they were expected to help clean up after, plenty of free play time, snack time, and songs and games.
It all was great. And yet, I freaked.
As an only child, my daughter frankly doesn’t have to share her things that often, except on play dates and when we go to the library. Because she’s home with me during the day, every day, she also doesn’t have to adhere to much of a schedule. There’s no day care drop off in time to rush to the office, no crunch at pick up time to make sure a sibling gets to soccer practice on time.
I was definitely hit by that mom-guilt feeling of wondering if I’m doing the right thing by not working full time outside of the house to be home with her. Is this a detriment to her once she truly enters school? She’s not used to much time without me. She doesn’t have daily interaction with kids her age. My daughter did okay at the playgroup, but the structure and expectations were definitely foreign to her. Have I not done enough?
And then there was the fact that, here she was, just a year from being in preschool. I snapped this picture during their snack time to send to my husband and it struck me just how OLD she looks here.
In the moment I was completely blindsided by the fact that this child is…a toddler. How many times have I blogged about her in all her toddler-ness? How often have my husband and I given each other that knowing look and explained away her behavior because she was just being a toddler? And yet, I still had the classic “my baby is no longer a baby” moment!
A few days removed from my freak out, and I know I haven’t ruined her chances of becoming a well-adjusted preschooler simply because I’ve been a parent to her. I know she’ll be fine in this program. She’ll love it and do well. Heck, even I’ll be fine. I think playgroup will be good, and help us both transition to a school environment.
Who knew that mommy might need a slower transition to preschool than the kid?