Tuesday, October 11, 2011

She's ba-a-ack: When preschool's not enough

There is one new thing I am coming to adore about my child and that is.... the moments of time we spend apart.

So slay me.

In the name of full disclosure, in these past two weeks:
I've yelled
I've uttered, "Ohhh fuck, pleeeeease go away for just one minute, pleeeeease" under my breath more than I am a lady enough to admit.
I've cried like a toddler myself and stamped my foot and even uttered the words, in retort to the latest demand request of her dearest heart, "But I don't WANT to."
I wished away the last one-on-one time I'm going to get to spend with her before casting her out into the big wide world of school.
I have felt like the Pied Piper like never before in my life... EVERY single room I enter, behind me - guaranteed - is a chatterbox child, a cat with such a loud bell on her collar (to prevent bird "accidents") that we should have just bought her a doorbell and been done with it, a bouncing "Me-first" Labrador trying to push her way to the front and an aging, brilliantine stick insect of a dog who trips over nothing and causes a hallway block wherever she goes.

We're growing a special person here. I know that. During the holidays, she was lucky enough to attend a short little two-day dancing and singing workshop with a friend. The children were asked to draw a picture of someone they admire "because they do good things or are very good at making people happy." They were then prompted to draw a picture of themselves and this person.

This person can help them follow their dreams and believe in themselves, the words prompt.

The LGBB proudly presented me with her picture. I saw one face and she confirmed there was one person in her picture. I asked her who it was, hopeful it was me but sure it would be her Dad.

"It's ME!" she said, in perfect preschooler narcissism.

And I thought, hell yeah! YES! She gets it. I love that she has drawn herself as the person she sees as believing in herself. My wish for her as she navigates the next 13 or so years of school is that she remembers she believes in her dreams. Her Dad and me, we always will too. It's a given. But sometimes, we forget to keep that faith in ourselves as adults. Have you forgotten?

I love my girl. I watch her a lot. I gaze at her without even realising I am. And yes, despite everything in my history... I know I take her for granted. I get frustrated with her, sometimes openly so she sees it, sometimes covertly so that it's just my internal organs that take a beating from the pressure-cooker stress I don't express.

I yearn already for the lost days of her childhood innocence. Before the big kids or her peers with the older siblings tarnish herr. School is approaching, fast. But for the past two weeks of school holidays (she went back to kindy for 6 glorious hours today where I spent half my time wading in delirious, lush sort-of-Me-time*), I couldn't care WHO takes her as long as she gets some mental stimulation that doesn't rely solely on me.

By far, these have been the hardest holidays to bear yet. I'm telling you, if I didn't know better, I'd guarantee you that I could put up with sibling fighting on the hour every hour (with pop-fights every 10 minutes in between) if only it means I am not the single, solitary focus of her attention.

I am not enough.

I am enough.

Both of these realisations have occurred to me as I have clawed my way back to the relative solace of these 2-day-a-week (NOT ENOUGH ANYMORE!) preschool breaks we have from each other. We're at the pointy end of the year here and she needs more.

You know when you get to a stage where you are equally wistful about the end of an era and more than ready to start your new life? That's where I am right now. Have you ever been there with something in your life, on the precipice but not looking forward to the end either? Tell me about it in the comments!

*Me-time, my definition: Not having to respond or react or be answerable to a motor-mouthing preschooler while you pack a dishwasher, sort some washing, peg out 1,000 acres of new washing, take a conference call, handle an order or three for the business and ponder the direction of your book's characters.

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