We have been #blessed since the boys were born to have both sets of our parents available to provide free childcare. In addition to the obvious cost savings, the benefits included knowing exactly who was watching our children, and knowing that they did a (pretty) decent job the first time around while raising us. We could say things like, “It’s going to be gorgeous outside today, make sure you get to the park,” and “I saw you sneaking juice boxes into our fridge, that’s a big box of no in our house” or even, “Thank you for bringing G to the doctor when I couldn’t get out of that meeting, you’re a lifesaver!”
Enter age 3. We knew it was time to get them into a structured program led by….someone who wasn’t family. It was best for them really. After being kings of their world their whole lives, it was time to learn that an atmosphere existed outside of their self-centered reality. An atmosphere that didn’t revolve around them, that involved other children’s needs and was organized by adults who didn’t exist only to make them happy 24/7.
Preschool for Twins: Transitioning from Grandma to a Whole New World
We knew this would be a shock to their system, so we spent weeks preparing them. Telling them how FUN school would be, how NICE their teachers are, how COOL it will be to make new friends, and how much they are going to LEARN! And guess what guys, you get to play with new toys (and have to share them with your classmates…) and eat snacks (but what’s served is your only option, no switching…) and wear backpacks (that you’ll actually have to put on your own back…)
The school we chose was a “structured play to learn” setting, where the day had a set schedule but children didn’t realize they were learning while they were creating Picasso-level artwork. Since this was the first time they were doing a program like this, we registered for a paltry two day, 2.5 hour program to ease them into it their first year.
Enter day one. This was it, the day we had been training for! *Rocky theme song plays* After telling grandparents, “Thank you, but no, I can drop them off on my own… yes, I am sure that I do not need your help…. yes, if you cry it will make it worse… no, you cannot sit outside their classroom all day,” it was time for drop-off. We walked down the hall, the door opens, I take a deep breath preparing myself for a possible meltdown or sudden disappearance of confidence from my kids who were now entering a totally new and unknown space.
Enter perfection. They went in without a hitch. I actually had to call them back to me for a kiss goodbye! These children of mine, who had been sheltered and protected by fiercely-loving family their entire life just waltzed into their classroom like they owned the place. Granted, I think here is where having twins entering school together helped. They weren’t alone, they knew their brother had their back, so what’s really so scary?
The answer: nothing. I trust their teachers with my life and can see how they have grown and matured in such a short time. They now have the best of both worlds; grandparents who still care for them the majority of the time, but exposure to exciting and challenging adventures in school, with adults who love them, but (let’s be honest here) don’t spoil them.
So thank you, ‘Pops and Gogs” and “Bibs and Bobs”, for being there for us when we so desperately needed you. And thank you Ms. C and Ms. J for helping my boys turn into functioning members of society who can now share their kindness and quirk with others. And most of all, thank you to my sons for showing me how strong you can be (even when I may have sobbed in the car for 20 minutes after dropping you off that first day) and how ready you are to change the world!
Mallory Kerley is a first-time mom to four-year-old identical twin boys. No, twins do not run in her family, yes she’s sure they are identical, yes her hands are full. She lives on Long Island with her husband, works full-time as a marketing & communications professional for a national non-profit organization and still has no idea what she’s doing with this whole parenting thing. She fancies herself a photographer in her spare time and just decided to do it as a side hustle (but of course doesn’t have any great photographs of herself). You can see her photos on Facebook at Twin Fox Photos.