Nothing tests your success as a parent like sending your kid out into the world. Or, in my case, the big wide world known as pre-school.
Supervised play dates are one thing, as you can instantly correct inappropriate behavior like hitting, pushing or not sharing. Well, as instantly as your slow pregnant ass can fly across the room when your 19 month old is using the xylophone mallet to whack his girlfriend on the head over and over. (sorry Olivia!) But what happens when you turn 18 3-4year olds loose in a room with two teachers? Will Pete remember to take turns? How will he react when someone else grabs the toy he's playing with? What if he's the one grabbing a toy someone else is playing with? Oh the shame! Will he be gentle and kind?
During pre-school open house/orientation today, I watched him interact with some other children, and didn't see any egregious social errors. But that was just one hour, and tomorrow it's three hours without Mommy. Will he remember to say please and thank you? Did we practice Miss Angela's name enough? Will he remember how we practiced "Hi, I'm Pete, what's your name? Want to play trucks together?" How many times do I have to make him repeat "yes ma'am" before it's automatic? And does he have a firm grasp on the difference between sir and ma'am? Will he say "bye bye and thank you" when it's time to leave?
Will he start to cry if she tells him it's time to go pee in the potty (instead of playing with a truck?) What happens tomorrow if he has to poop? We've practiced wiping. But does Miss Angela plan to stand there and help him fold up the toilet paper before reminding him to wipe until it comes back clean? And will she wait patiently while he sings his ABCs and scrubs hand, back (of one hand), back (of the other hand), fingers? And why didn't I know there was an actual hand-washing song we should have been using instead of just the ABCs? Please Lord, don't let Pete call Miss Angela to the bathroom like he called me in this afternoon, to tell me his penis was getting big and pointing up.
Will he whine and cry when it's time to leave the playground? How would she know to prompt him to say "bye bye slides, see you soon slides" so he'll happily walk back inside? Will all the other three year olds play so intently they forget to stop, and end up peeing their pants? Will any other kids notice, and will they make fun of him? If they play with playdough, will he remember not to eat it? When it's snack time, will he say "me have a cookie too please" or will he remember "MAY I have a cookie too please". Not that they serve cookies for snacks, but I do sometimes! Did I do the right thing selecting white milk instead of chocolate milk, or will that cause a tantrum every day at snack?
I swear to you, we've practiced these things over and over. We've talked about going to school, and what is expected. I know other 3 1/2 year olds not nearly as potty-sufficient as Pete (including a child in a pull-up at orientation today!) so I feel he has to be ahead of the game there but I don't really have a frame of reference for his social skills or speech and grammar, since he's my oldest and we know so few other 3 year olds. Have we practiced enough? Should I have waited to send him until 4 year old pre-school? Would another year of me prompting "is that how you ask for a cup?" get him to actually ask politely the first time?
Oh please Lord, let my Baby do a good job tomorrow!