Bad Mom,  Bug,  Family Matters

the preschool incident

silly face

I need to write something about Bug really quick but I only have about thirty-seven minutes of free time before I need to start cooking something dinner-like for the zoo animals around here.

When did Bug get so hungry all the time? She eats all day long. At first I thought she was making up for all the weight she lost while she was puking her guts out but now she’s back to normal and she is still asking for Cheez-Its in ten-minute intervals. Carbs carbs carbs. That all she wants to eat. She eats her chicken and broccoli and fruit so I’m not worried that she isn’t getting all her necessary nutrients. I’m just getting tired of being the all-day-long snack provider. Is this a preview to teenagerhood?


Sorry, had to go pour her a bowl of Pirate Booty. I know I shouldn’t be feeding her puffed rice treats half an hour before dinner but I really really want to finish typing this post. It’s now or never.

Where was I? Eating all the time. What else?


Preschool seems to be going fine. She doesn’t cry when I drop her off anymore but the other day when I picked her up she was crying. She gets really tired around noon so I wasn’t surprised that she was grumpy but I was worried. No one likes to see their child upset when you have no idea what could be wrong. Is it the normal afternoon meltdown or did somebody hurt her?

I swoop in to rescue her and she quiets right down, naturally. Mommy to the rescue as usual. While I’m signing the check-out paperwork, her normal teacher (the one who likes to hold her) told me not to worry, that Bug had only been crying the last fifteen minutes. That seems like a long time to me but it happens. Maybe Bug was just tired, the teacher said.

Then a different teacher, a new teacher, pulled me aside and said she was worried about Bug’s behavior. Immediately all sorts of alarms went off in my head. Is this my first incident where someone pulls me aside and tell me my child is a problem? Am I the mother of the “problem child?” I could feel my throat tightening in panic. Am I an unfit mother? Is this the beginning of a label that she will struggle under for the rest of her life just because she is different?

The teacher told me that Bug had been crying for quite a while and saying over and over, “I can’t stop crying!” This is not anything terribly new to me. Bug has been saying this particular phrase to me for about two weeks now. Every time she has a melt-down over something as silly as not being able to snap a Lego into place or as scary as falling off her tricycle, she’ll cry for about five minutes and when I try to console her she’ll sputter that she “can’t stop crying.” She doesn’t cry for hours or anything. I’ve babysat other kids who have actually started hyperventilating and really did seem like they couldn’t stop. Bug just seems to be more vocal about her feelings. I call her my little drama queen. I haven’t been too worried about it.

But then the teacher said that I really need to “root out this behavior” before Bug learns to act this way for the rest of her life. She asked me why Bug might say something like “she can’t stop crying” and I, like an idiot, volunteered that maybe Bug says this because I’m always shushing her to be quiet so that Toby can work.

What a mistake! Why am I sharing my personal challenges with Toby’s work schedule with Bug’s preschool teacher? Next thing I know the teacher is going to tell me that my husband needs to get an office so that Bug can be as loud as she wants all day long. I have been down this road with so many people and nobody understands that it’s not as simple as just kicking my husband out of the house from 9-5. Nobody understands freelancers! We don’t work from nine to five!

I’m sure that more than one of my readers (and friends and family) could launch into a diatribe about why Toby should not work at home but this is where we are at in our life. This is the choice we have made as a family. I think lots of kids have grown up in way more difficult circumstances. I think Bug can learn to be quiet at home and noisy outside and still be perfectly normal.

Then the teacher launched into a paragraph about how Bug is a smart kid, and I need to take her out of the house so she gets more stimulation, plan more activities etc….And while the teacher is right about this, she does not realize that Bug and I do quite a bit outside already. We have fun trips weekly. We take walks to the beach and the park, the library and of course all the many many errands I have to run to the laundromat and the grocery store. We don’t sit around and watch tv all day.

But I stood there taking this all in. I actually considered that maybe the teacher was right. Maybe I haven’t been doing enough with Bug. Maybe I do ignore her too much while I check my email or write a post (like I am doing right now). Immediately the self-judging wheels started turning and I was examining everything I do with Bug.

And then I called my friends and family and they laughed at me. How silly am I to listen to a teacher who has only observed my child for one day? She has no idea what we do all day long. She has no idea that Bug is an only child and if anything she’s a bit spoiled with too much attention. Bug hates to play by herself because she has me to play with her all day long. I’ve created a little monster.

This is why she is in preschool. So she’ll learn to play by herself without Mommy constantly on call.


Here is where I had to go cook dinner, give the kid a bath and then fell asleep for the night…


So that’s where I’m at. I think I need to take more of an offensive position when preschool teachers approach me. I do think that Bug needs to learn that she can’t cry to get more attention and we will work on that. I wish I could pop out a sibling for Bug and create a little healthy competition for her but life has not dealt me that card yet. And who knows, Bug might be the type of child who would just boss a younger sibling around anyway. I don’t know. I guess that’s what parenthood is right? Just constantly second-guessing yourself.

I meant this post to be about Bug’s Cheez-It breath and all the funny things she does but I guess I’m a little more worried about the preschool incident than I realized.

So let’s end it with something silly Bug does!


  • Jennifer

    I’m a little bit speechless about how the teacher handled what I wouldn’t even consider a “situation”. I think she is waaaaay off. I’ve met Bug, she is one of the most well rounded kids I’ve ever met. Truly. You guys do so much “stimulating” stuff together. I don’t know how you could possibly do more. Maybe you could print out a few blog posts of all the fun stuff you guys do, including being very social with many different friends, and give it in a nice little packet to the preschool teacher.

    As for Toby working from home. You know I KNOW what that’s like. I think it’s important for the kids to know that it’s not a free for all indoors. That is what OUTSIDE is for. I love the fact that Jeremy is home with us everyday. I think it’s a really secure feeling for the girls to see us both around.

  • Anonymous

    I always read but rarely comment.

    How exceptionally rude and unprofessional of that teacher to feel like she knows you and Bug well enough to tell you all you need to be doing and changing about your life and routine. I would not have been able to keep myself composed like you did, I would have told her to mind her own business, she has no idea what I do with my kids. Then I would report her to the director. Wow, now I am all fired up.

    I know you probably dont share your entire life on your blog, but trust me, if all that you do with Bug IS on your blog, and the rest of the time is indoor time, you do a LOT more than I do.

  • Sonja

    I’m assuming the teacher meant well, but that was totally out of line. As a new teacher, she needs to wait and take some time to observe what is actually going on before she says anything.
    The implication that you don’t engage with your child is ridiculous and rude and altogether overly dramatic!
    (I’m going to go breathe into a paper bag now. Homeschooling is looking better and better!) ;)

  • Mrs. Wilson

    If that preschool teacher only read your blog, she’d see that you’re pretty much the best mother that has ever walked the planet and that you do SO MUCH to engage her that I can’t imagine what else you could do.

    And also, about your kid having to be quiet during the day so Daddy can sleep? My kids have to be quiet during the day so that Mommy can sleep. I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s apartment life I guess. Outside is for loud anyway, isn’t that what they teach in school?

  • amyrks

    My daughter did the exact same thing when she was that age and so did my son. They are now 8.5 and 7 and are very happy well adjusted, awesome (for the most part;)) kids. hag in there. I think sometimes teachers like to flout their knowledge whether it be correct and/or appropriate, and I can say that because I was a teacher before my kids came to be. Hang in there.

  • Uncle George

    “Stop in the Neighborhood” Im still laughing and laughing….heheheehheheehee!

    Yup, just thank the teacher for her advice and move along. She has good intentions but has no idea how wonderful a mother BB has, how much her daddy cares for her, and how special it is to have both of you home all day…

    BB is a normal, healthy and brilliant girl. I remember all my little brothers and sisters doing just the same thing.

    OH, and let her chow down. She’s growing. She has that wonderful metabolism me and Toby inherited from Grandpa Dunn…Give her all the fuel she needs.


  • Sondra

    I am not a mother, I will start with that.

    However, I have learned a thing or two in my brief 27 years. You will never make everyone happy. Someone will always have a critical remark on how you should and what you should be doing. It doesn’t matter if you are single, young, newlywed, a new mom, or old, all your kids are grown, and you’ve been married five hundred years. There are just people in this world who are not satisfied until they have given their (mostly incorrect) opinion.

    You are Bug’s mom, not them. You and your husband are the only ones who know everything about her. You and your husband are the only ones who can make a semi-correct assessment about her. What little I’ve read – you are a great mom. And Bug is extremely lucky to have a mom that is as caring as you are.

    *takes soapbox and puts it back up* :)

  • Jennifer W.

    That lady needs to shut it. I get those looks from Avelyn’s daycare and that speech all the time from my FAMILY. Family that claims to support what I’m doing. I found out I was pregnant the first day I started nursing school. I never dropped out like all the other girls who had babies and I graduate in 62 days. I’ve gone through hell and high water to spend every waking minute I could with my daughter and try to be the best nurse I can be. I wish the world would just keep it’s opinions to myself. If it works for you then it shouldn’t matter to them. Avelyn will be 1 year in April and through all our trials, and only seeing her on weekends until May, we are fantastic, and she will be great. So are you three.

  • jen

    Isn’t it amazing how often you feel like a bad parent? If my son has a meltdown in a store I feel like a bad parent.. If he isn’t saying 50+ words like the helpful emails I get that say that a child his age should be doing then I feel like a bad parent.. if he’s just wanting to eat yogurt and cottage cheese exclusively… i feel like a terrible parent…

    It’s so easy to feel like this and I would have never, ever known it in my pre-mommy days..

    The bright side is that deep down inside… you know you are doing your best. Preschool teachers see our children a few hours a week, but we are deep in the trenches with our wee ones all the time.. I think you are doing a great job!!!

  • BeachMama

    I am late on weighing in here, but I just had to leave my thoughts. And that is you are such an awesome Mom!

    How could someone who just met you and your daughter pass judgment? Just because she teaches preschool doesn’t mean she knows everything. If every kid was as blessed to have a parent that spends so much time with their child in and out of the house, then well, there would be many happier kids out there. I know mine would benefit from me spending a few more minutes with a creative craft. Don’t beat yourself up so much neither for the teacher nor for Toby working at home. He shouldn’t have an office, home is where you guys work and you make it work for both of you.

  • cc

    I wanted to say this the other day but didn’t because I didn’t want it to sound mean or snotty, but Jen had the right idea when she mentioned giving her blog posts.

    Though I was thinking more along the lines of handing her a business card and saying, “Here’s my card. Do you think you can email me some ideas?”

  • patty

    I know you have already gotten tons of comments…but I have been a preschool teacher for many years, and I want to encourage you not to take the comment to heart from this teacher.
    As was said in so many comments, this teacher had only seen your child for one day.
    To say you needed to root out the behavior before it went with her the rest of her life was inappropriate in my opinion. The behavior is preschool behavior!
    Children grow and mature and your child saying she can’t stop crying is probably her way of saying “I feel out of control”. Don’t we all some days?
    Don’t worry she is not going to be going off to college with the same behaviors she has now!
    It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job and your little girl sounds delightful.

  • Aunt Kathy

    Sounds like Bug is growing up! Emotionally and physically. Just keep doing what you’re doing and she’ll be fine. (Don’t keep second guessing yourself! You’ll end up with an ulcer!) Remember too that you’re the best mom Bug could have ever had. One piece of advice for what it’s worth: Teach her that she is in charge of her own emotions and she can control them. When she is older this is especially good for that time of the month. Loved the video! See? She is three and put words to that song that made sense to her three year old mind! (I learned different words to that song, though.)