“Is it Thursday yet, mommy?” My five year-old asked, looking fetchingly into my eyes.
“Uh no, honey. It’s Monday. You know that.”
“Can I take a day off of school today?” More wide-eyed hopefulness.
“Sweetie, we’ve just come off the weekend. You take your day off on Thursday.”
“How long till Thursday?”
I sighed. “You know the days of the week. You figure it out.”
It was time for the bait and switch. “Hey, let’s go check out that new cereal you picked out in the supermarket the other day.”
“Yeah!” He exclaimed. “I wanna mix the Trix and the Mini-Wheats and the Honey Nut Cheerios!” His curls bounced as he skipped toward the kitchen. Mission accomplished.
It’s the same every week. In fact, almost every day. Julius enjoys pre-school, but obviously, he’d rather be home, which is why I let him have a day off each week. It doesn’t bother me. After this year, he’s in Kindergarten and there are no more weekly ‘days off’. I like hanging out with him, and Pre-school, while important, is not as important as hanging out together.
At least to me.
“What? Another day off?” His teacher says almost every Friday when we go back to school. She smiles at Julius, but looks at me like I’ve just fed him bugs. “I should give you a spanking,” She jokes.
Yeah. Not funny.
My mother and husband also take a page from her book.
Husband – “You are such a sucker.”
Mother – “I don’t think it’s a good idea. You’re not setting a good example for what his responsibilities are regarding school.”
Even some of the other school moms raise a brow.
To all of them I say a big wet, “PPPPPFFFTTTTHHH!”
Am I missing something? For the life of me, I can’t figure out what the problem is. I let my nursery kid take a day off to spend with his mommy each week, and everyone has something to say about that. Since when is quality time with your child open to negative scrutiny. Pre-school is just that. Pre School. They are not learning academics; they focus on socialization and structure. It’s preparation. It’s laying the foundation. It’s not a mandatory. It’s just become the popular norm.
My son knows what ‘clean up’ time is. He knows how to build blocks with another child without throwing them. He can sit in a circle and participate. He knows his ABC’s, 123’s and all that. He’s got Pre-K down.
This is the last hoorah for me and my baby, while he’s still – okay not really, but let me pretend for this last year – a baby. There’s plenty of time for classrooms, and not enough time for ice cream and playing with Mommy.
So on Thursday, when he looks at me with his big brown eyes and asks, “Mommy is today my day off?”
I’ll nod yes, happily. Because I love our days off just as much as he does.