The most traumatic Thing about preschool

Having seen 3 boys through preschool, a process of some 15 years duration, I have made a final decision on the most traumatic aspect of this experience.  Separation anxiety, the exposure of your child to influences outside your control, industrialized food stuffs, and the omnipresent smell of bleach were all considered.  These are traumatic, yes, but they are not the most traumatic. 

The most traumatic element of preschool is the pervasive use of inappropriate capitalization on the written material that is sent home from Preschool. For example, the word Parade, as in, “On Friday we are having a Parade!  The Parade will go around the school and across the playground.  Parents may come and watch the Parade!” 

Or, Outing, as in, “Tomorrow we are going on an Outing to the park!!  🙂 🙂 🙂  We are taking the city bus on our Outing!!  Parents may pick their children up at 5:10 when we return from the Outing!” 

Excessive use of exclamation points and emoticons is difficult, yes, but not quite as jarring as inappropriate capitalization.  Inappropriate capitalization is insidious because it induces confusion in the reader, which is a bad and inconsiderate thing for writing to do.  It causes you to stop and rethink the importance of the capitalized word, even if you don’t want to, which is a waste of precious mental and emotional energy.

I don’t know the long-term negative effects of inappropriate capitalization, but they might be as severe as those of exposure to bleach fumes.  It’s possible that they may cause unrealistic expectations in children, that children may forever have inflated ideas of what Parades, or Outings, or Snacks really are.  Your child may go to a parade thinking that it is going to be a Parade, and leave disappointed because it was only a parade.  With no Snacks.

Here is recent conversation between Gabe and me:

Gabe:  “Maybe we should go on an Outing.”

Me:  “No, I think we should stay home and watch Sponge Bob.”

Gabe:  “Can I have a Snack?”

Me:  “There are some cheese sticks in the refrigerator.”

Gabe:  “I can’t reach them.”

Me:  “You can if you stand on the stool.  But don’t fall off because then we will have to go to the Doctor.”

The only word that should ever be capitalized, from birth until infinity, is Naptime.  I think I will write to GrammarGirl and ask her to change all spellings everywhere of naptime to Naptime.  I am going to miss Naptime very, very much when Gabe starts kindergarten.  I may be forced to institute Quiet Time.


What She Said

When he told me he expected me to pay for dinner,
I was like give me a break.

I was not the exact equivalent of give me a break.
I was just similar to give me a break.

As I said, I was like give me a break.

I would love to tell you
how I was able to resemble give me a break
without actually being identical to give me a break,

but all I can say is that I sensed
a similarity between me and give me a break.

And that was close enough
at that point in the evening

even if it meant I would fall short
of standing up from the table and screaming
give me a break,

for God’s sake will you please give me a break?!

No, for that moment
with the rain streaking the restaurant windows
and the waiter approaching,

I felt the most I could be was like

to a certain degree

give me a break.

Billy Collins, from Horoscopes for the Dead. © Random House, 2011

3 thoughts on “The most traumatic Thing about preschool

Add yours

  1. Amen, sister, amen! And try working in a public school or a preschool, which I have done, where this type of writing (as well as the overuse of the word “like”) is rampant. I soon found myself using needless exclamation points, sometimes three in a row!!! It reflrects a certain needless urgency, an impatience that is exhausting. Forgive me, I do not know when to use that or which at times. Anyway, I find myself chuckling as I read your writing, Leslie. It always makes my day.


  2. Like the Naptime. I care for my two year old granddaughter two days a week and it is definitely capitalized and ever shall be.


  3. Another major problem, usually later in school years: English teachers that can’t write or speak proper English. (That IS supposed to be capitalized, right? You’ve got me over-cautious now!) “We was…?” We done…?” “That’s how it is with him and I.” Speaking of “give me a break…” At least give me patience, please.


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