Relax. You Probably Did Something Right Today.

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A million times, I tell ya.

Remember how comfortable Working Mom were with the decision to skip preschool for Boo this year? We’re at that tricky 2-and-a-half, which just seemed a little too young, and besides, since I’m fantastically lucky and get to stay home every day, I can do a lot of preschooling myself, right?

Well, today we were walking around in Noe Valley (man, that neighborhood is comfortable — I don’t care if I am the only dad at the playground) when we saw a gaggle of toddlers being led by a behandled rope. Boo watched them for a minute and then announced,

“I want to go to preschool.”

Oh, hell. How did she even know that’s what we were watching? We’ve never really talked about school. She sees most of her friends going and puts one and one-and-a-half together, it would appear.

So, I do my job: I probe. “Would you want to go to preschool when Blueberry is born? Would you miss going to the playground with me?”

“I want to go to preschool and you go to the playground with Blueberry.”

Crap crap crap crap crap. I thought we’d already figured this out! Apparently I should have checked with Boo before deciding her scholarly future.

So now I’ll be investigating preschools for a while and we’ll just see if Boo’s interest holds. Nothing major — something more like “super day-care” than the university-style preschools I’ve heard about. But still, a 180-degree about-face from even just last week.

What is it about being a parent? More than any other job, the pendulum between “I know what I’m doing” and “Man, I really screwed that up” swings as fast as a toddler’s attitude toward olives.

When Boo went down for her nap, I made myself a note and folded it up in my wallet:

Relax. You Probably Did Something Right Today.

Since paying minute attention to one’s own performance as a parent is the best way to screw it up, it’s remarkably reassuring, at the end of the day, to remember that.