My son’s impending entry into kindergarten this fall is causing problems in my life. Not the least of which will be his eventual ability to read the channel guide as I try to quickly scroll past the names of his garbage programs.
There are all sorts of schedules I need to make now, and schedules mean planning, and I don’t like planning. I’m supposed to know what I’m doing six months in advance? I don’t even know what I did two days ago, and that was two days! Ago! (I went on a bar crawl, so what did you expect? I’m surprised I’m awake right now.)
But I’m a parent. Of a soon-to-be kindergartener. Planning has become an unavoidable part of my life. I mean, it’s even part of “planning” an escape.
It’s like I’m being mocked.
Unfortunately, planning and scheduling and budgeting are a major part of being a parent. It’s totally lame. But planning is what separates man from the animals. It’s what makes you an adult. It’s when you are forced to constantly look ahead and consider the future. And not just the future of your own life, but the future of other people’s lives. Endless potential trajectories require countless contingencies. Once you start factoring other people into your life, it becomes a logistical nightmare – times infinity when you have kids!
I have enough stress without having to try to predict it!
Over-planned parenthood is your everyday reality when you become a parent. In the early years, it’s not such a big deal. When your kids aren’t yet in school, they don’t have a ton of extracurricular activities unless you count doctor’s visits and play dates. They are still pretty easy, relatively speaking. That changes fast.
So right now, let’s focus on the most important thing: vacation!
We won’t find that out what school he’ll be attending for another few weeks, but already we’re faced with planning our summer and our fall. We want to go somewhere, but since the kid will actually be in the real deal school system in September, we are beholden to that system’s calendar. Which means planning is a lot more difficult. It’s no longer about getting time off of work; it’s also about making sure the kid doesn’t miss learning about consonants and vowels or whatever the hell goes on in kindergarten these days.
(He’s been in preschool since September but that hardly counts; we’ve never worried about pulling him out of preschool if need be. But kindergarten is the real deal. Kindergarten is important. Kindergarten has a German name! You don’t fuck with kindergarten.)
It’s also about making sure we don’t get screwed.
Kindergarten has an actual schedule to adhere to, which pretty much means we have to take our vacations at the same time as everyone else in NYC, which means if we don’t book something now (read: two months ago), we’ll be paying through the nose for the world’s last remaining hotel room. Which means we have to plan ahead. By the time we’re done, I’m going to need a vacation just from planning my vacation.
I certainly never planned for this! I just wanted the tax break.
A version of this first appeared on Dad and Buried.
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