I feel like the concept of living one's "best life" has become a touchstone in our culture. The exact details of one's best life vary from person to person, but the truth is that my 4-year-old daughter is living out my ideal best life... without the regular but responsible supply of gin cocktails my version would include. (Being an adult has some benefits, after all.) I'm not even a little embarrassed by the fact that I want my preschooler's life, because she knows what's up... also I'm basically a child and I've learned to embrace that fact rather than run from it.
While I don't deny the je ne sais quoi and joie de vivre of my daughter in particular, the fact is that I feel like most 4 year olds basically have life figured out and then are slowly taught to forget as they age, which is depressing AF. But seriously, at 4? Just before they hit "real" school? That's the sweet spot, developmentally speaking. Their abilities are just enough to get them by and move them through the world with relative ease (generally speaking, they can talk and walk and make their needs known pretty clearly), but they just don't give a single f*ck about all the stupid crap that takes up way too much of an adult's time.
But let's talk about the particular reason's my daughter's life is one I covet...
1. She Wakes Up Whenever She Feels Like It
Her school day starts at 12:30 and, as such, she could technically wake up around 11:30 and still have plenty of time to do everything she needs before heading out the door. I weep at the beauty of that dream. In the past 15 years, any time I get to sleep past 7:00 is a treat, for adulthood is a life of drudgery and sleep deprivation. Now, granted, her highness usually gets up between 7:30 and 8:30, which isn't terribly late, but it's on her terms. There's no alarm, no one nudging her. I can only distantly remember how magical that is.
2. Her "Work Day" Is Two Hours And 45 Minutes
Preschool runs from 12:30 to 3:15. That's basically the perfect work day, IMHO. Like, it's enough time to get something done, but not enough time to interrupt the really important things, like quietly reading on your chaise or going to yoga or getting together with friends.
I'm... really lazy, you guys. So, basically, I'm up for the level of obligation one would expect of a 4 year old.
3. Her Outfits Are Amazing
Dudes. It is so easy for a preschooler to look fabulous. First of all, they're adorable, so they look cute in everything. Seriously, the other day my daughter wore a sequined skirt with a T-Rex t-shirt and unicorn leggings topped with a hat that made her look like a bunny and she managed to look fresh to death. If I tried to pull that off someone would call the cops. Also, that whole batshit outfit cost about $15 total. Even nice kids clothes are so much cheaper than adult clothes, it's easy to pick up a totally ballin' wardrobe on a budget.
People frequently compliment my kiddo's style and it's like "Thanks, this is basically how I want to dress but it would cost way too much so I'm living vicariously through her."
3. Her School Day Begins And Ends With Playtime
Before and after the doors open to let the kids in and out of school, basically the whole class has about 5 minutes of running around this big beautiful oak tree together. There's ring around the rosy, tag, and pretending to be monsters.
Can I even tell you how much more awesome my day would be if I could squeeze in 10 minutes of ring around the rosy underneath an oak tree? You have no idea.
4. Her Class Time Is Playtime
Oh yeah, people, the fun doesn't stop at the door. Basically all she does is play with her friends. There are different stations all throughout the classroom that encourage different kinds of play: housekeeping, a pretend cafe, building blocks, arts and crafts, a rice table (if you haven't tried running your hands through 20 pounds of rice I highly suggest you give it a go). It's awesome.
5. She Has Specials
GUYS DO YOU EVEN REMEMBER SPECIALS!?!?!
Because her preschool is part of the public school system, she gets to do all the specials the "big kids" do: art, music, library, and gym (which she hates, by the way, because she's totally my kid). How cool is that?! I wish I could have a designated 30 minutes a day to devote to pursuing various artistic or literary interests.
6. She's Praised For Everything
As well she (and all small children) should be but, like, why does that stop at a certain age? My love language is words of affirmation, y'all. I could really use a daily fawning session. It's just nice is all I'm saying.
7. There's Snacktime
It's not like I can't have snacks whenever I want, but I don't take time out of my day to sit and eat them. Wouldn't it be nice to be like "Oh. 10:30. Cool. Snack time. Let's wash our hands and sit at the table and nibble on these crackers as a group." It seems like the ritual would make it more enjoyable.
8. Random Singing Is Totally Normal
The fact that it's not normal when you're not 4 hasn't stopped or even slowed me down, but the fact remains that I'm obviously a Linda Blecher-esque weirdo and my daughter just gets to sing all the time and no one questions it, even when she's pitchy.
9. There Are A Bevvy Of Teachers There To Help Her
Who wouldn't want a whole bunch of kindly, highly-trained experts there to help you through literally everything? The suckiest thing about being an adult is the fact that you're the adult. Like... did I miss the day where they gave out our adult certificates and declared us functional and competent? Because I don't remember that day and I resent the fact that everyone just acts like I was there. I wasn't. I have no idea what I'm doing. So I'd really appreciate several teachers hovering over me and making sure I don't screw up, please and thank you.
10. She Can Embrace Her Love Of Unicorns Without Being Weird
Just because they're "imaginary" I'm not allowed to talk about them all the time and tell strangers what I would name a unicorn if I had one? (Allegra.) Whatever, jerks.
11. There's No Interpersonal Drama
So I'm not saying it can't exist in a preschool classroom, but it really doesn't seem to in my daughter's school. Even the teachers have marveled at just how harmoniously everyone seems to get along. And it's not like I live the life of a Louis XIV courtier, surrounded by palace intrigue and backstabbing, but these kids really don't have to consider any social norms or hierarchies or anything like that. They just are.
Oh! And everyone loves each other and they randomly hug all the time, and that just seems nice. Like, it would be weird for that to happen in my life and I wouldn't want it to, but their version of the world where that's not weird seems delightful.
12. Her Confidence Is Absolutely Amazing
And OMG I hope it stays that way forever... and that it will eventually rub off on me a little.