Gradual Entry Smradual Shmentry

Its back to school week.  Time to get those little brains back in gear and for us parent types to get back to work.  But school’s proving to be a bit of a tease.  Shorty #1 for instance, was engaged for a solid 30 minutes for her first day at school today.  30-freaking-minutes.  It was barely worth picking out a great outfit for that.  Why did we rush back from holidays?  Really!   I remember getting homework on the first day when I was a kid!

Tomorrow, Shorty #2 is embarking on the first days of her educational career in this little game that the schools like to call “Gradual Entry”.  It helps them acclimate to their new surroundings, a new routine and ease them through separation anxiety I suppose.  But for parents it completely SUCKS.  For the next three weeks, we get to tell our employers how we’ll be late for work while we follow our little ones into a new childcare scenario.  Preschools, daycares, kindergartens – in this town, every last one insists on a program of gradual entry.  So that means for the last 8 years of our parenting careers, through various caregiving and new educational ventures avec les petites, we’ve had to scramble around for the first few weeks until we can get into a regular routine over and over again.

I’m sure for some kids, this is a necessary step.  But for mine, they’re kissing us goodbye before we can even shed a tear.  “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out Mom, I wanna go check out carpet time sans parents if you know what I mean.”  Its like playtime-interruptus when we come back a mere 60 minutes later to collect them.  You can see the look in their eyes and all they want to say is; “Really?  That’s it.  I didn’t even get a friggin’ snack.”  They just want to roll.  Full time, lets go!  But no, we follow along with the rules and wait patiently (with toes tapping and phones on silent) while the Shorty learns the ropes.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like spending time with my kids.  I want to see them in their new school environment, watch them flourish, be part of their education career.  That’s all good.  Its just tough when you also have a full time job in an office with people counting on you to be there for that conference call or 10am meeting.  But tomorrow, I will rise with the sun and put a smile on my face while I sit in an extraordinarily small chair for one hour watching my kid make new friends and figure out where the tiny little toilet is.  I’ll smile and cheer her on as she ventures into the next stage of her life… gradually.

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