Preschool in the Fast Lane

In Washington, DC, school admissions for the still-pooping-in-my-pants crowd is competitive and crass. Two-year waiting lists and lotto-style enrollment for suckers who camp out overnight with "letters of recommendation" and blank checks.

Sounding a bit like the fat girl overlooked for the cheer squad, more than once have I scoffed at the early childhood rat race that plagues cities like New Yawk, LA, DC. But then I had a kid and, shortly therafter, moved to one of those places.

I dutifully completed our "application packet," wrote the entrance essay, and paid the non-refundable app fee with a smile on my face. I canoodled an alumni neighbor family into giving us the thumbs up with the selection board. I pressed the flesh at the Open House with as much charm as I could muster, and Noah and I talked dreamily of how nice it would be to see Darling - and ourselves - making debonair friends in such a debonair place. But we prepared ourselves for the worst - Given the number of families hustling for spots, were were not likely to be among the golden. Darling might not attend a preschool program until age three, or even (gasp!) four. We had accepted it.

But in the end, the gods took pity upon us. And at that moment of revelation, as I tore open the preschool acceptance letter, I became just another power junkie on the mini-van highway. Overcome by the heady joy of being "invited in" by the Beautiful People, I did an undignified jig of celebration in the privacy of my miniscule kitchen.

Turns out, they had me at hello.

Yes, I know it's a racket. And I know I'm a sucker. I know that Darling would have been blissfully unaware, had she drawn a losing number. She couldn't have cared less. She would not have been stunted, nor sprouted horns. It's not that I buy the notion that the right preschool will make or break the future. It's just that my own shallow self feels so shiny and happy when the popular crowd - at last - invites me to play in their sandbox.

The preschool admission pageant has been therapeutic. I've made peace with my inner wanna-be-cheerleader. To celebrate, I think I'll get her some red pom poms. And a big-ass megaphone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sign me up to read every blog you write, Sarah dear! I savor every bit of news about little Darling and her cool parents.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 6:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check this out, daily trivia questions and contests, come join in on the fun!

Monday, September 04, 2006 3:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved the preschool post- you read our minds!

Friday, October 06, 2006 8:04:00 PM  

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