A Loop

What happens when your granny-nannies, for some reason or other, can’t take care of your offspring? You scramble to find last minute childcare. As every parent knows, this is not a fun experience.

We were thrown for a loop last week when my dad hurt himself, forcing us to rethink our childcare situation. Fast.

I started calling…and calling…and calling. Of course, all the places I really wanted to put P were all full and weren’t enrolling toddlers. And all the places I really really wanted to put P weren’t accepting kids until they reached 2.5 years or were potty trained.

I visited one center, but wasn’t super excited about it. The measly outdoor space was no match for P’s energy level.

And then P and I visited the Bambi preschool. Not that it’s actually called the Bambi preschool, but there is a huge Bambi mural at the entrance.

Of course, P loved it right away. It was like she was visiting Bob’s yard all over again.

The preschool was great—clean, happy looking kids, pretty good student to teacher ratio, artwork everywhere. It had to come with a “but”, right?

It’s a Christian preschool. With Bible time and everything. I ended up enrolling her. The outdoor play area is fantastic.

At the same time, the fact that it’s a Christian preschool bothers me. I know I should be open-minded, and I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, but every time I go in and the kids are singing songs about God I feel really uncomfortable.

If you couldn’t tell already, I’m not very much at ease with religion. Not Christianity in particular, pretty much all religions. It seems to me that some people were born with a spiritual bone and some people weren’t, and I am definitely in the second group of people.

I mean, even the chanting during yoga class bothers me. Apparently, I am that disconnected from my spiritual self. I’ve only been to yoga a couple of times because I freak out when the touchy-feely talk and chanting starts.

I’ve never actually taken the time to analyze my discomfort with religion and spirituality. Is it because I was born in a country, Iran, where religion permeated everything? Maybe. Is it because my parents weren’t really spiritual when we were growing up? Perhaps. Or that I thought their science-heavy educations (both microbiologists, those two) made them less likely to believe things like Creationism? All possible.

At the same time, my mother takes quiet pride in having a flicker of spirituality.

When A and I lived in Italy, my sister had to have emergency surgery. My mother urged me to go to the nearest church and light a candle. Which I did, dutifully.

She tells anyone who will listen that the story of the Virgin Mary is told in Islam, and that she is revered.

And when my grandmother passed away a couple of years ago, my mother went to a Catholic church every day for a few months, lit candles, and prayed. But religion was never ever a part of our lives growing up.

It all leaves me cold, without any real need to pursue it further or even believe.

A, on the other hand, grow up in Italy, which means he was baptized and christened. He had first communion and went to (public) schools that displayed the cross. Apparently, every school in Italy is really a Catholic school, even though the separation of Church and State is definitely in the Italian constitution.

You have to have your parent’s permission to not attend “religious studies,” which is really only about Catholicism. Rarely do Italian parents actually have their kids not do religious studies, mostly to avoid ostracizing their kids. Italians are very much aware that the Vatican is really close by, and the Pope is on the news practically every night.

Once in a while, an immigrant will sue the State and try to have the cross removed from the school building, and the political class is horrified that such a thing should happen.

Even after all that, A is not a practicing Catholic, and is completely on board about not having religion be central to P’s upbringing. His family…that’s a whole different story, and perhaps the topic of another blog post.

So back to the preschool. So far, P totally loves it, and wanted to head there at 6.30 a.m. this morning. And my discomfort? I’ll set it aside for now.

And I’ll even ignore the pamphlet, titled “How to Raise a Delinquent,” which came with the registration packet. Along with allowing kids to curse and watch porn, there was the little bit about not giving them a spiritual education until they were 21, and then letting them decide for themselves.

Precisely what we had planned on doing. Perhaps delinquents just breed delinquents.

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