"What, me worry?"
I suffer from an affliction known as Being a Jewish Mother. (I hear that there are similar afflictions affecting women among other religious and ethnic groups, although apparently each has its own flavor and favorite use of guilt). As a Jewish Mother, not only am I incapable of calculating the appropriate amount of food necessary for a dinner party consisting of four adults and two children (Four whole roasted chickens, 17 sides, and four desserts just doesn't seem like enough. What if somebody has a tapeworm?), but I also engage in a ridiculous waste of mental energy known as "pre-worrying."
Pre-worrying, for those of you who are not Jewish mothers, is that stage wherein you have not yet given yourself permission to worry about any particular issue, but that does not stop your worry lobe from lighting up in anxiety at all moments. Really, the only difference between pre-worry and actual worry is the fact that you "don't want to bother anyone" with your pre-worries. (Actual worries you may state aloud, but not too often, for fear of worrying others.)
While it may seem as though pre-worry is a terrible waste of time, I would posit that it gets a great deal of the infrastructure of real worrying taken care of before you have to start worrying. This means when someone (like, perhaps, J) says to you "That's ridiculous!" or "Okay, crazy lady," about any particular worry that you have just started officially worrying about, you are ready to respond with a snappy "Badger attacks account for a solid 0.014% of all nature related deaths!" Jumping over the pre-worry stage means those statistics are not at your fingertips.
I have been in the pre-worry stage for quite some time now about preschool/daycare for LO. While I have been very happy with the Y thus far for his daycare needs, it's recently become clear that LO and I both need something a little more structured/academic/philosophy-based for once he hits his two year mark. While the workers at the Y are caring and compassionate and hard working, there are simply not as many of them as I would like on the big kid (i.e. over two-years-old) side.
Unfortunately, there is a great deal to pre-worry about when trying to find a new daycare. Cost, for one. (The Y wins in terms of local daycare deals, hands down). Also, flexibility. (LO and I share the lackadaisical gene, which makes hurrying the both of us out the door a hilarious exercise. The Y doesn't blink an eye when we arrive 15, 20, or even 45 minutes past our scheduled start time.) And of course, knowing that it's the right place for LO.
That particular issue is what I've spent the majority of my pre-worry stage worrying about. The problem is that I don't know how to determine if the place is right ahead of time because I'm really terrible about knowing which questions to ask in any particular situation. For example, I would always (ALWAYS!) blank in job interviews when I was invited to ask questions at the end. Because generally, I wouldn't know what I needed to ask about until I'd worked there for a few weeks and seen what things were going to be regular issues. Since they have not yet developed the information-only time travel necessary for me to beam the requisite questions back to myself, I've been pre-worrying myself into a froth over this particular aspect of the preschool decision.
Today, I decided that action was probably the best antidote for pre-worry. (Just as making loud noises will generally frighten the badgers away.) So, I called the Montessori Follow the Child program, about which I have heard nothing but glowing reviews, and set up a time for an interview.
No, I still have no idea what questions to ask the nice lady who spoke to me on the phone and will be giving me a tour of the place. But, at least now I have an interview scheduled and can officially worry about what questions to ask. I believe that means I'm moving forward in the spectrum of anxiety. Now I can start Googling "questions to ask daycare/preschools" and actually read the pages that come up, rather than just do the pre-worry skimming I had been indulging in because all of the questions seemed so generic.
Now that I can really sink my teeth into my worrying, I feel more in control. I can ask other parents what questions to ask. I can talk to J about what it is we most want for LO in his first "academic" setting. I can start actually setting alarms and practicing getting up like a grown up.
Strangely enough, I'm not feeling so worried anymore.