Not sure how many parents out there make deals with their children, but with my soon to be 3-year-old daughter everything is a negotiation. If you eat your lunch, you can have a treat. I will hold you if you promise not to cry when it’s time for me to leave. We’ll listen to kids place live if you put on your headphones. Well I am also proof that sometimes these negotiations, don’t quite go as I plan.
For the last few weeks my daughter has practically begged me to stay at school with her. She even went so far as to say “ I worry about you, when you leave me. Can you just stay please?” Oh yeah, a new bargaining chip. So last Thursday night in a desperate plea for a decent night’s sleep I promised to stay at school with her, if she was able to sleep in her bed, in her room, uninterrupted, without middle of the night prompting, until the sun came up. She immediately nodded and said “okay” with a smile. Since she has only done this a handful of times in her life, I figure my chances had to be pretty good. Huh.
“Mommy, it’s time to wake up,” she announces as she pranced into my room a little after 6 a.m. “so you get to come to school with me,” she finishes. Damn, damn, damn, am I really spending my one meeting free morning in preschool? Yes, happy Friday to me. We head to school a few minutes before 9 all decked out in our matching sweater dresses, black leather coats and boots. When we arrive, I delicately ask the teachers if I can stay to observe. As promised when she started, they welcomed me with open arms.
Initially, Morgan treats me like a show and tell item, she is eager to announce me as her mommy, takes my hand and tries to give me a tour of her classroom. As if I don’t go in with her every morning. Time for the first negotiation, “Morgan if you aren’t going to do you work while I am here, then I am going to leave.” She quickly drops my hand and begs me to stay. I agree and she finds her way to her first work station. My hand is free for under five seconds because her classmate Ruth feels the need to make me feel welcome. Maybe I looked a little uncomfortable or like I needed a friend. I can’t help but notice that Ruth has a snotty nose and clearly has been using her arm as a Kleenex. Jesus, Lord help me through these three hours. Dealing with my child’s snot is one thing, but someone else’s baby, wasn’t fun.
Morgan is unmoved by my new friend, in fact she almost seemed thrilled to have the little girl out of her hair. So all is well, until Mary decides to make me a picture with a heart on it and says I love you. Talk about territorial, Morgan was not trying to hear it and made sure to announce that she would make me a picture, I was her mommy.
I can’t help but make mental notes of her classmates and had fun matching names with faces. After all, I hear about these little people every night so I am unmoved by hearing the teachers say Will’s name over and over again. Puzzle time is interesting and becomes a group activity. Three little ladies, mine included decide to put together a tortoise puzzle. I sit back and watch them try to figure it out. I’m peeping how dominate my daughter is, she organized this group and refused to let Camden in on the action; even gave her the stiff arm. At this point I interject and suggest that everyone helps. Morgan glares at me as if to say, mom you don’t know this chick, trust me.
The next hour is uneventful and finally it’s almost time to go. That means it’s circle time and the teacher reads a book before sending them outside. The book is Grace for President and I thought it perfect since Monday was President’s Day. Morgan insisted I join the circle. As I struggle to keep my feet from falling asleep in the crisscross applesauce position, I look around and have a new appreciation for teachers. All I see is boys with hands in their pants, pretty girls with fingers in their noses or twirling their hair and all around fidgeting. But Morgan looks happy, in fact she seemed thrilled that I kept up my end of the bargain. With her hand on my knee and a smile on her face, she says “ I love you mommy” and it is at that moment that I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else and this is one negotiation that was definitely a win win!