This morning at dropoff Wes's teacher asked me if I'd remembered to bring him a plastic water bottle for a project and when I replied that I hadn't she said "That's OK, I have an extra right here!" I apologized and told her that I'd been home for about forty-five minutes total yesterday, but that it was all good stuff, just a LOT of stuff. She said "You know, whenever I have a busy day I think 'At least I'm not Becca!'" HA!!
I love our preschool. We've been there since Charley was two and loved every minute of it. We've made it work, through many different and complicated arrangements involving various grandparents and nannies, since I started working part time four years ago. I love the teachers, the playground, the building, the traditions. The sweet chapel song they sing as they process out every Monday morning. The Thanksgiving feast. The cute graduation Wes will be part of in May. I love our preschool.
But last month my chair came to me and told me they were adding a FOURTH class section to my schedule for fall (a change I welcomed). And then I was talking with another faculty member in my department who told me that THREE sections was a full-time load. THREE. And that's when a lightbulb blinked on in my head. I am going to be teaching (more than) full-time and this means I need full-time childcare.
This was a bittersweet realization, because I LOVE our preschool. But it's twenty minutes away in the opposite direction from my house and starts at nine which means that after driving the kids to school, walking them in, and then driving to work, it's quarter to ten! Which gives me fifteen minutes to rip off my coat, pee, and open my powerpoint, which is HOPEFULLY (BUT NOT USUALLY) ready.
This makes for a stressful morning.
So, that day, on the advice of a friend, I checked out a sweet little Montessori school that's midway between my house and work. It was lovely, affordable, started at eight o'clock every day, and had spots for both James and Mary starting in August. I went in the next day to sign the paperwork and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Telling our current preschool was very hard. Because I love our current preschool! But I think this will work much, much better given the amount of hours I expect to work in the fall.
There's more exciting news! You guys know a bit about the struggle we've had at Charley's school, yes? Well, Ryan and I learned about another school. A charter school nearby that had a different approach. It's inquiry based and centers all its instruction around broad themes of global awareness, social justice, and environmental sustainability. It's highly recommended. It's FREE. They wear UNIFORMS. It goes all the way to 12th grade!
It's also...hard to get into...especially for grades above kindergarten.
I went to the info session in February and nodded along with every word, mouth slightly agape, then considered offering to write a check for WHATEVER FREAKING NUMBER YOU TELL ME JUST PLEASE LET US INTO THIS SCHOOL.
But that's not how it works. There is a lottery for all available seats. So we applied and waited. And waited.
And then, the Monday of Spring "Break" I drove up there to check the results. There were pages and pages of names taped to the windows at the front of the school. One side said "Congratulations!!!" and the other side said "Waitlist". I checked the kindergarten list first on the "Congratulations!!!" side. And there was Wes's name! OMG!!
Then I checked the very, very short list of accepted 2nd graders.
I almost screamed when I saw "Charles Academomia" about halfway down the page.
You guys they had SIXTEEN spots for 2nd graders. SIXTEEN. And over a hundred kids on the waitlist. We are so, so incredibly lucky. Lucky and excited. This is going to be a good thing for them. For us! I can hardly wait.
I'm not sure I can convey how desperate we were for this to happen. This has been such a hard year for Charley and due to the way the school handles the 1st to 2nd grade transition and host of other things, we would not see any relief from those difficulties for at least another YEAR. We know many, many kids who are thriving at the current school (and we've also had some great experiences there, he's learned so much this year), but our kid was sinking. Our smart, happy, funny, usually very nicely mannered boy was SINKING and nothing we could do was helping (and we did a LOT OF THINGS last semester). This semester his mood and attitude have improved dramatically and he's getting "smiley face" after "smiley face" in his folder which is kind of amazing to me but has not resulted in any improvements in the behavior category on his report card or any kind of acknowledgement from the teacher, who sent negative email after negative email last semester when he was SEEING A PSYCHOLOGIST AND WISHING HE'D NEVER BEEN BORN. Infuriating. But at least he's happy and seems to be thriving.
The icing on the already awesome cake is that Charley and Wes's new school is about a mile away from James and Mary's new school and BOTH ARE ON THE WAY FROM OUR HOUSE TO RYAN'S WORK AND MY SCHOOL. will pick everyone up around three and head home for outside play and dinner prep! We are thrilled.
The catch is that Mary needs to be walking by August 4. We've been giving her a LOT of tummy time.
I was only home for forty-five minutes yesterday but it was a GREAT forty-five minutes.