This is how I'm feeling lately when it comes to our preschool.
When we went in search of one, we were shocked when we visited what is considered one of the best schools in the area (http://snarkymommablog.blogspot.com/2013/06/more-like-prison.html) and felt it was more like a prison than a preschool.
We eventually found our hidden gem of a preschool and fell in love with it, and its large wooden playground, open classrooms, philosophy of letting kids get dirty and messy, and lack of helicoptering over them.
My Big Guy fell in love with it too. When the time comes for me to pick him he'll usually tell me that he wants to stay. It's great. I'd much rather have him want to stay there because he loves it - he has fun and feels safe there. He loves his teacher and his friends.
Recently two more issues have come up that have proven just how wisely we have chosen.
The first is hilariously adorable. My Big Guy is way into NASCAR. He loves it. My husband and My Big Guy watch it on tv, and will go to the races when they're close. As part of a NASCAR race, they sing the National Anthem. My Big Guy loves this. We bought him little American flags and he will routinely tell us to "put our hearts on" and we sing to the flag. He has his own version of the National Anthem, which involves singing about how much he loves the flag and what colors it is. Adorbs.
Lately, when he tells me to put my heart on and stand up for the flag I noticed that he's trying to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I helped him through it, and then asked him where he learned that. He said school. He said that they say it every day at school.
Oh be still my cold Republican heart.
His class of three year olds says the Pledge of Allegiance every day? I love it. I almost cried when he told me. This is in fact, the perfect school for us.
It gets better.
The second issue stems from that most dreaded of days - Halloween. Blech.
The kids have been working on a little Halloween show for the parents, and in return the parents have been asked to bring food to the show for a little party afterward. There were sign up sheets in the classroom asking parents to bring in either something salty, something sweet, or fruit. Nothing with peanuts or popcorn please. I didn't think anything of it and signed up for something sweet. It seemed completely normal to me.
I then turned to facebook to get suggestions from other parents about what I should bring. The suggestions eventually evolved into a discussion about how the other parents were shocked that our school lets us bring in home made food because none of theirs do.
I get that food allergies are an issue. But c'mon, can't we trust other parents to you know, NOT poison our kids? I know that our school takes food allergies seriously - we had a very detailed form to fill out and in every room there's a sign saying what kids can't have what foods. Luckily in My Big Guy's room no one seems to have any food allergies and the only restrictions are of a religious/cultural nature. But if there were some kid who was allergic to something I would make sure to make a treat that he/she could eat. I don't want some little kid to end up in the hospital because they ate my brownies or whatever. I don't want some kid to not be able to participate in the party cause I made a peanut-laden dessert. Can't we trust other parents to feel the same way? We're all in the same boat here - we want our kids to have fun and enjoy themselves. Let the kids have some home made Rice Krispie treats to celebrate Halloween. I can't imagine what asshole parent would decide, "Eh, little Tommy is allergic to bananas. Fuck him, I'm making a banana dessert!"
As pointed out on my facebook post - home made stuff is probably a lot better for the kids than anything prepackaged might be. Personally, I'm of the mindset that a little crap food here and there won't kill anyone, but I also agree that home made cookies beat out store bought ones taste-wise every day. I want my kids to have yummy food. I want them to have healthy food. Turns out that home made checks both those boxes better than store bought food does.
What happened that we can no longer trust parents to make food for our kids in a safe way? When did it become better for the school to rule with an iron fist as to what can and cannot be brought in? How did it become ok for the school to know better THAN THE PARENTS?
I understand that childhood obesity is a problem. I understand that food allergies are a problem. But you know what? As a parent, those are MY PROBLEMS. I don't need the school, or anyone else telling me how to raise my kid, or in this case what to feed him.
I'm glad we found our hidden gem of a preschool where I'm not only allowed, but encouraged to bring in stuff from home to help celebrate a (albeit awful) holiday. Just proves to me once again, that we have chosen wisely. And it makes me scared (like so many other things do) for when my kids start real school.