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Publisher’s note: As part of our anniversary celebration, we will re-print some of our favorite photos and stories from the past 25 years. These specials are identified with our “25th Anniversary Feature” banner at the top of the page.

This “SUWAT” was originally published in March 2007, and the little guy covered here is now 12, and in sixth grade.

Parenthood has been a first-rate adventure so far. We’ve decided to put the entire first year behind us—a time we will forever refer to as the “Year of Tears.” For new readers: the missus and I had our first child 18 months ago. He was born without some kind of “off switch” or something – the doctors called it ‘colic’ and only when our little one started ingesting two full adult doses of a stomach acid reducer, did he finally quiet down. It took a year before we figured all that out.

So, after a year of screaming day and night, I’ve learned not to be so freakin’ dramatic about everything. But we’re still learning here, and as it turns out, there are some serious competitive issues when it comes to raising a child in Arcadia. For example, who knew that getting our child into preschool would be a parenting test?

I came home from work the other day to find the missus sprawled out on the living room floor with the phone in one hand, and the other palm up on her forehead. She looked like a swooned actress out of a 50s B-flick who had just received news that Johnny wasn’t coming home. Knowing all too well that this posture is not indicative of a physical malady, but rather a mental state of exhaustion or near-hysteria that I just missed, I chose my words carefully.

“Somebody die?” I snickered.

Completely ignoring my comment, the missus said, “Every preschool in the area is full. We’re looking at a two-year waitlist—maybe longer—before we can get him in.” 

“Preschool, huh? For him?” I said, jerking a thumb at our offspring, who was chasing the cat across the room, a forked river of snot connecting his mouth to his nostrils. 

“You don’t understand,” the missus moaned, “everyone else has their kids in preschool at age two!”

“Okay, look,” I said, sitting down next to her, “I caught our son eating dirt the other day. He’s only 18 months old—hardly a candidate for the education system.”

But the missus was not swayed. She was obviously consumed with failure. I suppose if we were members of the secret society that apparently knows all, we would’ve called every single preschool within a five-mile radius just after we called our Mothers to tell them the wife was pregnant. Before the EPT stick was dry we would’ve had our unborn, unnamed, unknown child on every preschool waitlist in 85018.

Instead our child will have to wait to join his preschool peers until age three, surely dooming him to a life of inadequate intelligence, unable to grapple with the most rudimentary tasks, like counting coins he finds in the street so he can buy food. However, dirt is cheap, so maybe he can save that food money for college tuition.

— Greg can be reached: greg@arcadianews.com.