July 19, 2007
As most of you know, I've been a stay-at-home-mom since James was born two years ago. I've had other obligations during his little life (like graduate school and babysitting gigs), but I've never relied on any type of formal childcare.
Well, the time is fast approaching that we'll join the rest of the free world and put James in some sort of program. You see, if you want to get really technical about it, I'll be working two jobs when we move back to Maine this fall. I'll be doing some business management stuff for my friend's dental office, and I'll be helping launch our very own chiropractic practice.
Most of this work will be done from home, so I suppose that I could continue to stay home full time, but I think it's time for a change. If I'm going to be busy all day long, I'd much prefer to have James learn his letters and numbers from an actual teacher, not some furry red puppet on the TV. Although I must admit, James can count to fifteen and I've never taught him to do that, so I do think Elmo stays current on his teaching credentials. Also, James loves to be around other kids, and seeing as there are no siblings in his near future, I think he'd have fun with a group.
Ok readers, fear not. This post is not about the age-old stay-at-home-mom vs. working-mom debate. I prefer to steer clear of controversy in all forms. This post is about something much cooler. Donkeys...miniature donkeys if you want to get really technical about it.
When I realized how hectic my life will be after Jared's graduation, I began to research the preschools in our (probably) future town. I did some googling and clicked on the first link that popped up. I was really, really happy with what I found on the web page--a big old white farm house (they're not in short supply up there), a fully equipped playground, and happy teachers sporting jeans, wool sweaters and Birkenstocks. That's just the way the Lawsons roll. Cool.
So I googled the name of the actual school to see what else I could find about it. I read a few reviews and started to piece the info together. Here are a few of the tidbits that I uncovered. They have a spring festival...cute. They have a garden and a huge field...cool. They do a little play each year...fantastic. They have a barn with a petting zoo...a w.h.a.t?! Wait a minute. Hold the phone. This school has it's very own PETTING ZOO?! Holy guacamole, I've struck gold.
I immediately emailed the director. I'm sure most parents' emails ask detailed and thoughtful questions about the child care philosophy, the daily schedule, registration and costs. Not mine.
My email was like:
I heard you have a petting zoo. Is this true? Are the animals cute? Are they friendly? What are their names? Are the parents allowed to play with them, too? Can I see your barn?
Ok, it was a little bit longer than that...but you get the idea.
I got a reply from the director the following day. She gave me the details about class size and registration and went on to mention that they have birds, rabbits, goats, chickens, pot-bellied pigs, and some miniature donkeys. She also sent me the link to the school's web album. It featured tons and tons of pictures of preschool children wearing bicycle helmets while riding the miniature donkeys, and an entire sub-album entitled "Jose Goes to School." Jose is--you guessed it--one of the donkeys. And Jose was chilling in the classroom, thoughtfully listening to a story with the kids.
And that's when I felt an intense sense of joy, and peed myself because of it.
I replied to her email and said something to this effect:
You had me at 'miniature donkey.' Where do I send my deposit?
So that's it. Easy enough. The decision has been made. James is going to school where the donkeys are, and I will bring them carrots every afternoon.
Oh, and stay tuned for many, many pictures of me wearing a bike helmet while I ride Jose. My feet might drag on the ground, but I don't care. I can't freaking wait.