…Everybody was eating dinner at 8 pm ’cause I can’t get my crap together.
Seriously guys. The night before Maggie’s first day of preschool ever we ate cardboard pizza at 8 (bedtime) and they were bathed and bouncing off the walls by 9. Winning. I really haven’t been able to get it through my head that I’m old enough to have a kid in preschool, much less that my kid is actually old enough. I just don’t feel qualified for this milestone. I mean, I relate this to that feeling when they send you home from the hospital with a newborn. You’re all like, “Seriously?? Y’all trust me with this human?? Okaaaaaaay…” I just feel like I’m playing make believe grown up the majority of the time. Like if I went to preschool, instead of a center to play “house” there’d be a center for playing “responsible adult”…only I doubt I’d play.
Now, I know excellence of this level seems unattainable and I’m going to be honest. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be as bad at organization as we are. But if you’ll follow my simple Guide to Chaos, come time for your firstborn to go to preschool, you’ll be a psychotic maniac just like me.
The Oh Bless Your Heart Guide to Chaos – First Day of Preschool Edition
The Weeks, Months, and Years Prior to Preschool
- In the kazillion days leading up to preschool please make sure to avoid all thoughts of your child’s impending education. Resist the urge to research and live in happy denial that your baby has zoomed through toddlerhood and is now a candidate for some sort of a classroom. It is imperative that you put off thinking about preschool as long as possible…
- Except for 1-3 days per month in which you completely freak the biz out over your lack of planning and compulsively research every single aspect of possible educational theories, styles, and types from Montessori to Reggio to homeschooling to unschooling to obedience school to just letting them be raised by wolves. These are all viable options and should be obsessed over in the wee hours of the night as you creepily lurk in your child’s room sniffling over how big she is.
Choose a Preschool
- Make friends with somebody who has their crap together and get their recommendation for a preschool.
- Go visit that school and get excited that you have friends with such good taste.
- Go drink some wine to celebrate.
- Once you get your child all signed up, they’re going to give you a shit ton of paperwork. Pardon the expression, but ohmylawd there is so. much. paper. This is great for those who are striving to increase the level of chaos in their home. Don’t be overwhelmed by the paper. Simply take it home and resolve to complete it once the kids are napping.
- Divide your stack of paper into approximately seven separate stacks, just like cutting a deck of cards. Now take those seven stacks and hide them in seven completely irrelevant places in your home. If you’re having trouble finding dumb places to put important papers, I suggest giving a few stacks to a younger child. Sure, they may just end up in the middle of the dining room floor, but I guarantee that they’ll be ripped to shreds by someone practicing their “penmanship.”
- Because the kids are never napping, put off completing the paperwork until the night before the parent orientation meeting at school.
Parent Orientation Meeting
- Go there right after work and pretend to be normal. (Please note that when Friend Katy saw me at our orientation which I raced to immediately after work, she commented on how fantastic I looked and asked if I had colored my hair or something. In all reality, all I had done was take a shower and actually fix my hair that day…unlike all the other times she sees me and I look like a hobo. Guys, this is how you know you’ve made it.)
- Get more paperwork and follow the instructions previously mentioned.
- Get real excited about all the ways you’re going to be involved with school, ’cause you’re not going to be the mom who doesn’t bring stuff and help with parties and whatnot. Volunteer to bring salad for the teacher’s lunch on the first day.
- Immediately forget about the salad.
- Silently size up the other parents in hopes that somebody, anybody is as cuckoo as you are. They’re probably not at your level of chaos, though, so don’t get your hopes up. It’s lonely at the top.
The Night Before School
- Sure, you’ve had weeks to buy a backpack and pick out the first day outfit and all that, but I find it far more beneficial to wait until the absolute last minute to start doing this stuff. Planning ahead is a rookie mistake.
- Remember the salad.
- Rush home after work, greet your spouse, then divide and conquer. He’s gonna take the preschooler to buy that backpack. You get extra points if you did actually buy a backpack earlier, but had to return it because the zipper immediately broke upon entering your home, as all zippers do. Extra trips to the Target are always good at increasing chaos and decreasing expendable income.
- You need to take the other two kids to the store at dinnertime because bagged salad is why.
- Purchase adorable sugar cookies with fish iced on them as a “first day of school” treat. Congratulate yourself on your pun, then remind yourself that you’re literally the only person in this situation who will get it.
- Race around like a maniac trying to get people to go to bed for Pete’s sake. Don’t get anything done, not really. Just resolve to do that stuff when you wake up at 4 am the next morning.
The First Day of School
- Sleep through your alarm but get up early enough that you feel like you’ve got a little time to spend on yourself.
- Realize you’re out of milk, but you decide that evaporated milk is just as good and then mix that with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla for your coffee creamer because Pinterest that’s why. Feel so good about how Pinteresty you are.
- Pour yourself a cup of coffee and watch these videos on YouTube:
- Look at the time and freak the shiz out.
- Scramble some eggs and slap ’em on plates, then decide that this nutritious breakfast needs some toast.
- Throw some toast and butter on the griddle (make sure to set the burner on HIGH, that’s really important) and run upstairs to wake the cherubim from their slumber.
- Rouse the dead, brush their teeth, change appropriate diapers, smell smoke, curse.
- Run downstairs, remove charcoaled toast from the kitchen and put it on the patio table to air out.
- Dress people. Attempt to make sure your preschooler look presentable.
- Remember you have to put the kid’s name tag on a piece of string so they can be easily identified. Don’t use the hemp string, but break out the Christmas ribbon and go with gold/silver snowflakes. Holla atcha boy.
- Also remember that you need to put the kid’s name in the princess backpack that everybody else is going to have.
- Also remember that you were supposed to pack extra clothes and crap in the princess backpack that everybody else is going to have. Put that off for tomorrow.
- Also remember that you never really finished that salad. Crack open some salad bags and carefully arrange them in a crystal bowl. Take a moment to be annoyed that of the eight hundred old ladies that bought you wedding gifts, not one of them thought to get you good Tupperware, but bought stupid ass crystal bowls instead. Secretly pray that this dumb bowl gets broken at school. Salad done.
- Change the poo-splosion that is the hallmark of your youngest child’s morning routine. Curse.
- Throw people in the car only to realize you have to take the obligatory first day of school picture on the front steps. Do that now.
- Fight morning traffic to get the younger two to Nana’s house because you effed up on childcare and the poor woman who is home sick with bronchitis is going to watch them. Resolve to get your crap together for goodness sake.
- Drop the younger two, run to the grocery store and buy dressing for the salad ’cause you were just not Pinteresty enough to make your own dressing like you planned, you psycho.
- Get to school and do yo’ thang. (Please make sure to appreciate that your child has absolutely NO idea what that pretend ironing board is for.)
The Evening After The First Day
- Decide you’re going to do better tonight so you can do better tomorrow.
- Feed and bathe the children at a reasonable hour. So reasonable, in fact, that you’ve got time to trim their nails!
- Discover that your oldest has not only been biting her fingernails, but her toenails as well.
- Gag, vomit, gag, gag, gag. Vomit.
- Throw in the towel and call it a night.
Girl, you have got this chaos in the bag! Congratulations!