I wanted to tell you a story about Charlotte that will make you laugh your eyeballs out of your head, but after I typed it out I decided it’s really not the sort of thing that needs to be on the internet. Let’s just say that 3 year olds have some interesting ideas about how things work, and mine can be particularly creative with her interpretations of menstrual happenings.
Instead, I’ll tell you a story about me.
When we chose the preschool Charlotte attends, there were two huge factors that influenced our decision: 1) the place is a mile from our house, and 2) their outdoor space is huge and it’s full of different types of play areas for the kids to explore. I checked a few reviews online, but I didn’t go very far into the web. We based a lot of our decision on our gut, and our gut said THIS IS THE PLACE SIGN US UP. We filled out the application and put down the deposit immediately after we finished the tour.
Mind you, this is Los Angeles, and the preschool scene can be a bit competitive–not to mention crazy expensive. We didn’t have any trouble getting into this school and the tuition was just barely on the high end of what we’d budgeted, so it never occurred to us that this preschool was anything other than your average LA Suburb preschool.
Color us WRONG.
Forget Yelp. Apparently, I should have checked the celebrity gossip sites prior to enrolling our kid in this school.
Last year was reasonably normal. We definitely got the message that we were not the average clientele of this school, but we managed. I just tried really hard to avoid the sea of 6-figure cars in the parking lot, and we opted not to go to the school’s spring gala where I later learned that a PARKING SPOT in the school’s lot was auctioned for $5,000. Cool.
Cut to this year. C is in a small class this year. 12 kids and one teacher, versus 20-ish kids and 2 teachers last year. (They have aides who float around throughout the day, too.) I am the room parent for our class, so I’ve had a lot of interaction with the parents in the class and I’ve spent quite a bit more time at school this year.
So here’s the thing. I’m not the most observant person. Truly. I tend to be very much in my own head, and I don’t really pay a lot of attention to other people unless I am directly interacting with them. Also, celebrities don’t tend to use their real names on lists that are published with their personal phone numbers and email addresses.
So you can imagine my surprise when I came face to face with one of the moms who volunteered to help with our holiday party this week and realized AFTER I introduced myself and clarified which mom she was that I am a fucking idiot and of course I know who the hell she is. It took me about a half an hour into setup to realize what an idiot I was, and I was suddenly acutely aware of why she gave me such a puzzled look when I asked who she was. This is right on the heels of learning that there’s another well-connected Hollywood family in the class as well.
Immediately after the party, I was leaving when I recognized the face of someone I went to high school with (and hated!) who is also an actor. C-list at best these days, but still probably recognizable to a significant chunk of my generation.
At the PTA meeting a few weeks ago, I was seated next to a parent who was obviously an actor and was promising all kinds of crazy experiences for the auction. I have no idea who she was, but I probably should know. Maybe if I ever had a chance to watch TV. Although honestly, one blonde 3-something famous mom in yoga pants looks a lot like every other blonde famous mom in yoga pants.
Anyway, I’m feeling a bit weird about this because these just aren’t my people. I mean, they’re lovely and kind and generous, but I guarantee that they do not live 1 mile from school in a house with one bathroom, DIY landscaping and a dirty Ford in the driveway.
I think the thing that bothers me the most is that I went to private school with the children of people like this all throughout my school years, and I never felt like I fit in. Ever. I don’t want to be setting Charlotte up for that kind of social experience. I also don’t want to be projecting my own insecurities and issues on my preschooler.
I’m glad winter break starts tomorrow and I can have a few weeks to force these insecurities from my system. They certainly won’t do any of us any good.