Preschool is the new Ivy League.

I’m filling out applications for preschool for my three-year-old daughter. Preschool admissions is extremely competitive where I live, and I really want her to get into this one program. On the application it says, “What is your child’s bedtime routine?” I’ll tell you…it’s not pretty. We give her a bath, put on jammies, brush her teeth, read a book, and then turn out the light. And then there is an hour of screaming, getting up and sneaking into the living room and hiding under the coffee table, crying, begging for one of us to sleep with her, and general mayhem until one parent gives in, lies down with her, and she falls asleep. I don’t want to lie, but I don’t want to put this on her application! How much can I pad the truth without ruining our chances and without lying?

They’re asking what your routine is; they’re not asking how Little Judy responds to it. You’re not lying when you tell them what you do every night, and there’s certainly no reason to offer any additional information.

I do feel compelled to add, though, that you’re kind of screwed as far as getting into preschool. They don’t want to hear about tooth brushing and reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie for the 700th time. They want you to describe how you spend the last hour of the day singing all your conversations as an opera and that Little Judy’s favorite story is The Canterbury Tales but that she gets very cranky if you don’t read it in Olde English.

Not long ago, I was near-hysterical over the preschool application process, lying awake at night wondering if my son’s life would be ruined and his chances at an Ivy League education would be destroyed if I filled out his application wrong. Then I remembered that Mr. To Chea and I met at a university that was basically a four-year-long keg party with an occasional class thrown in just for the hell of it, and that neither of us were burning things up in the grades department…and we’re totally awesome. So don’t worry about it. Really!

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