This month, I became one of those parents.
Those square, unenlightened, irresponsible parents... the ones who outsource their children's education, even before the child is old enough to string together a complete sentence.
It happened like this:
My daughter woke up one day and I realized that she had just stopped being a baby, and turned into a proper Child.
She has always been incredibly independent but suddenly she wanted all my attention, all the time.
My neighbor, whose son was born the same day, reported the identical transformation in the same week.
This is adorable, and it would be swell except that I work from home and charge by the hour, and there is just no way to compile an honest time-sheet for work done with one hand while the other tries to prevent the Child from pouring from her sippy-cup into the keyboard dsothattyingtotyeedsultdsinthids.
I gave up. She now spends about 10 hours a week in my neighbor's living-room kindergarten.
This is a neighbor whose child-rearing I have long admired. For about seven years I have said that if I lived here and if I had a child and if I needed a kindergarten, I'd choose hers: she is warm and cheery and inspired and uplifting and nudges everything into place without ever raising her voice. And she loves my daughter. And my daughter is always excited to go, and not interested in coming home. And she gets to be with other kids.
Hrrumph, hrroomph. As I get older I keep turning into those people I said I would never be. I even have opinions on strollers.
I am still learning how to work in an empty house. But now, instead of spending the day in the house trying to get some work done, we can spend the whole afternoon in the yaarrrrrr! (the Hebrew word for the woods) without feeling guilty. Thank G-d.
I told this neighbor that she can tell my daughter "Don't whine" and be understood.
She laughed. "I'd forgotten that word," she said. "The other kinderlach all understand 'Don't kvetch.'"