On Choosing a Nursery School
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:

Dear Director,
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?
Thank you.
Amy Lawson

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:

Dear Deborah,
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.


MillerFam said...

Ok, this post almost made me forget I put Drew straight down for his nap for poking his sister's eyeballs out (yet again) and Chloe in her room for provoking the pokage! Love, love the donkeys. I want a ride on Jose too! The school sounds great, in fact it kind of makes the preschool Drew is going to look a bit lame. Oh well, guess we all can't find the perfect preschool with it's own set of animals! hee hee hee. hugs-Amy (Beth must be in complete denial you are leaving b/c I havn't heard a peep about it yet!)

Amy said...

Hey Amy...
Yes, Beth is in denial. She won't disucss the topic with me at all. I think she's also in denial about her baby boy who's going to be born in like a week. I love her :o)

Vanilla said...

Watch out for Jose, he can be a bit of an ass sometimes.

Amy, you line 'em up I'll knock 'em out of the park.

stacey said...

hi amy,
i just had to tell you... i love you. please don't think i'm queer, but you made my night. i was feeling crappy and your blogs have made me laugh before.... they did not fail me tonight.

again i had tears in my eyes. you are such a talented writer!! i cannot tell you how much i enjoy your blogs!

the preschool sounds awesome! my kids both have fond memories of their preschool.

i just wanted to thank you so much for the entertaiment. please dont ever stop writing!!

thanks again,

Amy said...

No Stacey...I love you!
Seriously, thanks! That's really, really nice :o)

Caden & Carter's Mom said...

Hey Amy... I love reading your blog! Your mom linked me to it... we used to work together about 13 yrs. ago! Sounds like an awesome preschool, but don't discount the power of Elmo. He has done what I have had no success with... motivating my 2.5 yo to potty train. (FYI Elmo's Potty Time when James is ready to give up the "Dora the Explorer" hat/potty seat) Anyway, just wanted to thank you for many laughs... I look forward to reading your posts!


smelly said...

I know you love me enough to cater to me. I get out at 3 pm on Fridays during the summer. Could you please post prior to hmmm 2:30 so I can have some entertainment?

Michemily said...

Yay for donkeys and farmhouses!

Grandma said...

why am I not surprised you found a preschool w/ donkeys?

Angela Sumner said...

minature donkeys and elmo - what more does a child need lol
i love your blog - you are a very talented writer :)