I Told You So: Or The Story Of My Preschool Woes

I didn't listen. Now my son is two years old, on six waiting lists and I still can't get him into preschool


My son, Holt, may get into a nursery school by the time he’s of legal drinking age. “I told you to call when you were pregnant. I told you so,” said one of my friends, after I moaned I couldn’t get him in anywhere. God, I hate those four words. Especially since my friend was right.

All throughout my pregnancy, my friend would ask, “Did you sign him up yet?”

Of course I hadn’t. I was too busy eating chocolate croissants, stock piling old baby toys from friends and having pregnancy sex.

Flash forward two years, and at least 15 phone calls later, and guess what? I can’t get him in anywhere around the area we live, although there are numerous schools.

I’m on a number of waiting lists. I think I’m on six, in fact. One administrator told me my son is on the list for 2016! (It’s supposed to be a great school, but, by then, Holt will be four and won’t NEED nursery school!)

Sigh. I’ve had babies in bad years. Meaning, the years both my children were born, it seems, there was a baby boom, which also means there are a heck of a lot of parents who are way more organized than me, and did in fact call preschools when they were pregnant (I know of three!) or the minute they left the hospital. I’m NOT kidding.

Frankly, I thought my friend was crazy for even suggesting I sign him up for school while he was a walnut sized fetus in my stomach. I thought, “Eh, I got time.” Boy, was I wrong. One administrator told me that some women put their not-named children on waiting lists for certain schools. Why? These women are NOT even pregnant yet. Honestly!

I had it good with Rowan. She first started out, at age two, in Calgary at a Jewish school. In Calgary, unlike Toronto, if you have a Jewish child, you automatically get a place in a class. When we moved to Toronto, I found a small private school, I heard about from word of mouth. Two weeks before school started, I called and they had one spot left. She got in!

With Holt, in Toronto, I was not so lucky. I called three months in advance of school starting, only to hear time after time, “I can put you on the waiting list.” I felt like I had just lost numerous games of Black Jack, thinking the Casino always wins.

I would always ask, “What number?” I was never under number seven on any list, which means unless all the people before me move out of the area, or decide to send their children somewhere else; I’m shit out of luck.

I even called the schools the day school started to say, “In case someone decides they don’t like it, please call me. Please!” Let’s just say, I’m not waiting by my phone.

I am a laid back, disorganized mother, without a doubt. This has resulted in having two very laid back and happy children, although one of which can’t get into a pre-school. My laid back attitude towards parenting, in this aspect, bit me in the ass.

And, don’t bother with people who say, “I know someone who can get you in!” They can’t. The schools do not care who you know or who puts in a good word for you. They just have too many babies/toddlers vying for a space.

Holt’s schedule is still pretty packed, with music lessons, karate lessons, and other playgroups.


I hate giving parenting advice. But, if you are pregnant, or have just delivered a baby, or are thinking of having a baby, forget about posting the picture of your belly bump or your adorable newborn. Get on the phone immediately to tell relatives the happy news and then get on the phone to call the pre-schools of your choice. Live and learn from my mistake. I don’t want to say, “I told you so.”

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