In my house, there’s always someone in preschool. We’re staring down the barrel of year number eight in a row of non-overlapping preschool years, with another four, at least, coming up. The good news is that it’s on the way to work and convenient for me. The bad news is that preschool keeps getting more expensive. Obviously there’s an easy way to solve that problem—stop having kids!—but clearly we weren’t into that approach. So no need to pity us.
Watching our kids grow is amazing, always. I love seeing year-to-year the things they can say, do, understand and express. The best part so far is as they get older, their growth is just as magical as it is when they’re younger.
But that age progression from 3 to 5 is remarkable. I can still picture my three kids who have now graduated preschool and their round little faces on their first days. I remember the shyness, the inability to really articulate what was going on in their heads, and my own anxiety about how it was going to go.
Well, actually, scratch that. My now 5-year-old daughter, on her first day, walked into the classroom and slammed the door in my face, so in that case I had nothing to worry about other than whether she’d be an alpha female in the 3-year-old room.
There’s something special about seeing how things come together for the 3- to 5-year-olds. You start to notice when they start singing back to you the songs they hear on the radio and remembering conversations that you once had with them. I remember the first time one of my kids starting singing along with the fourth (and longest) Havdalah blessing and being amazed, or the time when I ceded the responsibility of reciting the Friday night Kiddush. I was proud, sad, melancholy and weirded out all at once.
Then there’s that moment when you realize they not only actually pay attention and remember things, but even worse when they’re able to get you in trouble with your spouse for doing something they know you shouldn’t be doing.
That can go like this: “Mommy, do you know Daddy ran with me and didn’t buckle the top buckle on the stroller?”
Or this: “Mommy, Daddy used a bad word on the phone.”
Um, yes, I did that too. Thanks for bringing it up.
Or even this: “Daddy, why did you pick up the baby the wrong way? [Runs into kitchen.] Mom, Dad picked up the baby the wrong way!”
Yes, it’s wonderful to grow these kids and see them do awesome stuff. But at that moment when their unequivocal love, devotion and naiveté go away and are replaced with that 5-year-old joie de vivre and lack of filter, it’s hard to not feel sad as that innocence is lost forever.
So enjoy those little ones when you can, because they get big fast.
When he’s not chasing around after his five kids, Dan Brosgol is the director of Prozdor and a native Bostonian passionate about sports, Israel and running. Dan blogs for JewishBoston.com, Hebrew College and The Bedford Citizen.
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