Life in Pieces almost immediately became my new favorite show when it debuted a few years ago. The pilot aired a few months after Kate was born and featured a couple in their mid 30s who just gave birth to their firstborn. The doctor came by during her rounds the next morning and asked the new mother how she was doing. Before she could answer, her husband replied that his neck was sore from sleeping on the partner bed in the hospital suite. That is exactly what Husband did when my parents arrived to see me and Kate and my dad asked, "How are YOU doing?" As Husband started to complain about his neck, my Dad cut him off to clarify that he was directing the question to me "the one who was sliced opened and had a small human pulled out of her" Thanks for the graphic recall Dad, I'll need to remember that the next time I need Husband to shut up. On a side note; I've generally regarding L+D tours to be rather useless. Maybe it's because of my own familiarity with the rooms and I feel they merely existed to promote the millions spent on making the suite seeming more like a hotel and less like a hospital, but the experience really was akin to stay at any other hotel with an en suite. However, if they explain how to move the arms on the sofa so it does stretch out like a full bed, and no other support person has to complain about a sore neck, then maybe it is time well spent.
Anyway, as we watched the first season of Life in Pieces (which follows the lives of a baby boomer couple and their three adult children) we were drawn to the couple who were new parents as many of their experiences were following ours. Then came the "invisible rainbows" episode, which we would later discover, absolutely nails the Pre-School Panic. Jen and Greg were attending an extravagant totally over the top 6 month birth party for a child in their neighborhood. The party was complete with a bounce house, tables Full of fancy baked goods and gifts bags, clowns, balloons and a stuffed animal petting zoo. You know, because real animals carry E.coli. But don't worry, there were plenty of hand sanitizer stations, so kids will know what to do if they should ever touch a real animal. Oh, and to make it really authentic; there was hired help to clean up their "poop" (chocolate covered raisins).
It soon became clear that the real guest of honor at this party was Marta, the headmaster of an exclusive private pre-school. "You know those kids you had every advantage and we hated them?" Jen asked Greg "Don't you want that for Lark? [their daughter]" Greg soon learned just how competetive these schools are when we was chatting with two parents whose kids attend Marta's superstar pre-school. One mother describes that she married a woman and that only moved them up a few places on the wait list, but she does love her partner, or at least loves having orgasms. When the tiger moms start pressuring Greg about what other pre-schools they are considering, Greg panics and conjures a pre-school called Invisible Rainbows. Don't bother googling it, because they are so exclusive that they don't even have a website. In fact, they don't even have an address as it's a pop-up preschool...just like a rainbow...
Word of this new hot exclusive pre-school spreads like wildfire at this party. Just as Greg and Jen spot Marta standing alone and are ready "to pounce on her like a fake tiger at a stuffed zoo", she approaches them to express her concerns about the director at Invisable Rainbows. "She cannot be trusted," Marta warns and further elaborates "the only thing invisable there are the iPads. We offer a 1.5 iPad per student ratio" (not a selling point to me, by the way). This was the tipping point for Jen to decided that the pre-school down the road from them would be good enough and Greg adds, "the people there aren't full of chocolate covered raisins" as he stuffs a handful in his mouth.
This episode prompted us to have the discussion about Kate's schooling. We love where we live, but there aren't very good schools in our area and we had tentatively planned to move to a location with better schools. At least for now, we decided to stay where we are and look toward private schools for Kate, which kills me a little bit as I'm a proud product of public school education (my elementary school was actually rated as one of the best in the country). We figured that we had a couple of years to figure this out before she enters Kindergarden, as her current Day Care/Pre-School provides services until Kindergarden. As I mentioned in a previous post, we've been really happy with her current program. They provided great infant care and Kate seems to be thriving in the toddler and twos programs. They work on letters each week, discussed the solar system in the month of January, she has music classes, goes to soccer and will start swim lesions next week. They've previously offered Spanish and yoga classes, although I haven't seen any sign up sheets recently. I recently passed on an open house to look at other pre-schools as I was happy with our status quo.
My eyes were opened the day after Valentine's Day, when I received an email in the middle of the day announcing the abrupt departure of one of the most tenured Pre-school teachers. I figured there was some back story to explain why she was let go, but I didn't think too much of it, until I started getting texts from some parents who had older kids in the Pre-school and were particularily fond of the departed teacher. The director held a parent meeting a few nights later. The take away that I took home is that it sounds like the dismissed teacher was going through burn-out. Parents with the older kids remembered her as a very dedicated and loving teacher and newer parents saw the concerns that the director had with her. I spoke with a mom whose son just recently moved into the Pre-school program and she commented that when she dropped off her son in the morning, the fired teacher was spending time on her phone. Not the worst thing in the world, but it doesn't impress you either. There seemed to be a collective opinion that the quality of care seems to drop off at the Pre-school level.
I'm trying to be optimistic. As the director announced that they are looking to hire two new pre-school teachers, I'm seeing it as an opportunity; maybe they'll be awesome and will re-establish our facility as a top notch Pre-school. However, I also thought it would be prudent to start looking at other schools, especially if they are not successful in replacing the teachers, we'll be competing with everyone else for spaces at other schools. My Father worked sort of as a handyman for a Montessori school and had been promoting the Montessori method pretty much since Kate was born. Husband was a bit resistant, I think, just because he saw my father being intrusive, but I was able to get him to agree to take a tour with me.
We looked at a school that is on my way to work. As in, it's so close that I could just slow down and kick her out the door and continue driving (kidding, of course). The school is very secure and features four classrooms with a playground courtyard in the middle. It looks like an actual school. The director let us peek in on a classroom, which looks much like a real Kindergarden classroom. The kids were engaged in circle time and seemed to be happy. After 15 minutes of chatting, she talking about putting our names on the wait list and explained how that process worked. Even after the brief encounter, Husband was totally impressed. "I want her in that school!' he declared. I agreed that it really would be an improvement from her current Pre-school and I started to fret that we were too late and wouldn't get in and went into full blown Pre-school panic mode.
I have to admit my privledge that not only is she currently enrolled in a good pre-school program, but I was able to find three other Montessori schools that are along my way to work, or near my office. I will whine a little bit that I had to exclude some schools even though they are only a few miles from our house, the traffic in our area is so bad that I would be looking at adding two extra hours of time in the car each day. Oh, and I excluded some others and the cost for one year is more than my college tuition (albeit that was in 1994, I shutter to think about what my University is charging today). I'm hoping that with these four school, we get accepted into one that will be the right fit for Kate. It has been a bit of a mind fuck and I feel like I've become one of those parents at the Life in Pieces party. I even confronted Husband about it. "We're obsessing about this school after the director didn't even ask about Kate, showed us one classroom and directed us right to her wait list" Maybe she figured that didn't need to sell it, thought Husband. I added that we may be so far down on the wait list that it was her polite way to avoid wasting our time and raising our hopes. (Co-worker confirmed to me that schools with Wait Lists, basically spend a few minutes with you, then lead you to the door)
There is so much emphasis on the development in the first five years, but there is a part of me that also says we shouldn't be putting so much pressure on this time as being a predictor of future success in life. Kate's Pediatrician, who is a truly brilliant man, recently revealed that he wasn't able to read until he was 6 years old. It also reminds me that Husband and I have to be Kate's primary teachers and her schools are meant to supplement. I'm probably going to question my decision over and over again should she get accepted into a Montessori or if we keep her in the current school. There is no such thing as a perfect school. It's an invisable rainbow. Life in Pieces totally nailed it.
Saturday, 3 March 2018
Saturday 24 February 2018
Kate 2 years 7 months
Kayla 10 years
Tyler 4 years
0125 Wake up to hearing Kate cry
0127 Tuck her back into bed, she falls back to sleep quickly, but wait a few minutes before leaving.
0135 Back in my bed and fall asleep quickly
0410 Tyler is meowing incessantly. He wakes up between 4-5 AM like clockwork. Pick him up and take him back to my bed. He settles on my lap and starts purring
0440 Tyler is meowing again. I bring him back to bed with me, but he jumps off a minute later
0445 The meowing is getting louder. I check his food bowl and note it is empty and I'm out of dry food. Fill his bowl with cat treats. Cue Kitty Mom guilt.
0700 My alarm goes off, turn it off quickly so I don't wake Husband. Tip-toe around as I'm getting ready for the gym. I'm trying to sneak out like a fleeing one-night stand.
0715 Busted. Kate wakes up. I grab her milk and send her to our bed with Husband
0735 Husband whines about the fact that I'm going to the gym since I competed in the Cross Fit Open last night. He injured his thumb last August and hasn't been the the gym in over 6 months and has not so subtlety hinted his resentment toward my involvement. He expressed his concern that I'm putting myself at risk for injury by going back so quickly. Concern duly noted.
0740 Husband is also lamenting about the fact that I have a Dentist appointment and a hair appointment with a facial later today. "How long does it take you get your hair done?" He reminds me that he needs tomorrow afternoon to do our taxes. I laugh. When does he NOT get child free time on the weekends? I make no apologises about going to the gym on both Saturday and Sunday since it's the only time I get to myself on the weekends. The only other time I get is for a hair or medical appointment, my two swim meets, or work events, which I have to coordinate months in advance. Plus as we've started letting her watch Pep.pa Pig on the weekends, he really has an easy parenting shift.
0745 Leave for the gym. Kate insisted on giving me three hugs before going
0802 It's a easy recovery work-out. 5 rounds of a 400 meter run and 15 Overhead squats. I opt to use just the bar as my forearms are still on fire from last night's workout
0900 Finish at the gym, I hit Target before my Dentist appointment. It is so refreshing to be shopping on my own.
0955 Arrive a few minutes early at my Dentist appointment. I picked up a pumice smoother at Target and start filing the callouses on my hands.
0957 The Dentist is right next to a compounding pharmacy, which reminds me that I need to refill Tyler's Prozac. If I thought ahead, I could have picked it up while I was here and saved myself a trip.
1035 Finished with my dental appointment. Rather easy routine cleaning, no X-rays. Reminded that I need crowns for some old fillings.
1100 Arrive home. Discover that Kate's diaper leaked while she was in our bed, which tells me that Husband let her watch more than our agreed 2 episodes of Pep.pa. Oh, and apparently she peed on him too. Laugh silently inside.
1105 Start packing Kate's snack bag and check the supply of spare clothes in the potty back pack. Ask her if she wants to shower with me, she says yes.
1115 Turn on the shower to let the water warm up. Give Kate the countdown.
1118 I get in the shower while Kate is still "warming up"
1120 I notice that Kate is going through our Cross Fit line drills
1123 She's still not getting in the shower, I yell to Husband for help. He assists with getting her undressed. I find a pack of fruit snacks in the shower to coax her. She doesn't want any, but I decided that some fruit snacks would be a good idea right now.
1125 As soon as she sees me eating her fruit snacks, she wants in the shower to claim her "fruit 'nacks"
1128 She screams while I try to wash her hair.
1130 Quickly dry off and get dressed. Kate is sitting in her room in her robe eating another pack of fruit 'nacks, because you know she did not get a whole pack.
1132 Husband is still whinging about how much child care he is being required to do today. Apparently, I didn't have to go to the gym this morning
1133 I wish someone informed him that having a child requires one to do some occasional parenting
1134 I surprise him by informing him that I booked him for a facial after mine. He still hasn't used a gift certificate that I gave him for his 40th Birthday (see his age above)
1145 Grab Kate's snack bag, backpack, Kate and Husband and somehow we manage to leave on time
1205 She manages to fall asleep as we're driving to the salon. He gets the nap during his shift
1215 Husband drops me off on time for my appointments. He plans to hit a drive through Star.bucks for lunch and then will take Kate to the park
1235 I share with the aesthetician that I started using the Rodan and Fields skin care program (I have three friends who are consultants and I finally couldn't escape) She expresses that their products could be more abrasive and suggests stop using for a few days before being out in the sun for prolonged times (i.e. When we go to Hawaii!)
1345 Get dressed and get ready for my hair appointment
1355 Do my consult with the hair dresser. I always have thoughts about doing something drastic and different, but I end up telling her just to take off a few inches
1430 Text husband to let him know that I am done. Check out and pick up some new make-up and skin care products as I'll receive 10% off as I had services performed today
1435 Meet Husband just outside the salon. I offer to let him check in for his appointment and spend some quiet time in the relaxation room, but he offers to get a coffee instead.
1440 Husband has coached Kate to tell me that my hair looks nice. She does so over and over again.
1445 We park the car in a multi-level garage and head to Star.bucks
1450 While waiting in line, Kate request a "pink pea pop" I may have started buying Kate a cake pop while we shop to make my trip easier
1455 We're still waiting for our drinks
1500 Still waiting, which is surprising as our order wasn't that complicated and they are not too busy
1503 Finally receive our drinks
1505 Kate notices that someone in Starbucks has "the same 'puter [computer] as Daddy". We look over and notice that it is an Apple and wonder if she recognized the decal. We point out someone who has a Dell laptop and another non-Apple tablet and ask if that is the same computer as Dadd and she says no.
1515 Husband gets ready to walk back to the salon for his appointment. Kate begins to cry. When Husband tells her that it is his turn for a spa appointment, she proclaims "I want a turn..."
1520 This actually gives me an idea. There is a barber shop just across from Star.bucks that features toy cars for kids to sit in while getting their hair cut.
1525 We walk over to the barber shop, they take clients on a walk-in basis and have a female staff member who agrees to cut Kate's hair
1535 To my surprise, Kate is being totally cooperative getting her hair cut. The hair dresser gives me a tip to use a wet brush for easy brushing after washing, but she suspects that it will be easier to comb her hair with less tangles after the hair cut.
1537 She also revealed that "leave-in conditioners" are really just watered down conditioner, so she suggests making my own by adding some water to a drop of conditioner in my hands and rubbing it through her hair before combing, or using it on the comb itself
1545 I order the wet brush from my Ama.zon app while the hairdresser finishes up with Kate
1550 As we leave the barber shop, Kate mentions that she wants to see "The Mommies" I.e a group of women and kids selling Girl Scout cookies. Last week we passed a table and they gave her a cookie
1555 We visit the Girl Scouts. I buy a box to send to a friend living abroad
1610 Head into Gap as I have $75 in Gap.Cash that expires today
1615 I appreciate that the gimmic of Gap.Cash is that nothing in the store is on sale. Head for the clearance rack in the Kids section. I can't believe I'm already shopping for 4T clothes for her. Myrtle's daughter is 5 and is still wearing 4T. She and Kate can share clothes.
1620 Kate is actually picking out some clothes from a display table. I loathe buying clothes at full price, but I want to encourage her choosing her own clothes
1630 Kate finds the chairs outside the dressing rooms and declares it time for a snack break
1632 I open a box of raisins and a packet of Chia Seeds for her
1635 While she is snacking, I browse the women's sales racks
1645 Head to the check-out. Kate climbs into a display rack. She's sitting there quietly and isn't touching any merchandise, so I let her stay there while I pay, but I'm sure I'm drawing some dirt looks from others in the queue.
1650 Received text from Husband that he is done
1655 While walking back to the car, Kate announces that she has to go potty. We hit the Star.bucks that we patronized earlier that day as I figure that grants us one bathroom use
1705 Meet up with Husband, he's really happy after his facial as the aesthetician was able to get rid of some dark spots he had. I causally mention that he could have had this done three years ago...
1710 We stop at Fed.Ex to drop off a package. Husband runs into the store while I wait in the car with Kate. I go to plug my phone into the charger only to find it's not in my purse. I must have left it in the stroller
1712 Open the boot and pull out the stroller. My phone is not there! Start to panic
1715 Husband comes back to the car. He took my phone from the stroller console and has it in his pocket. Phew.
1735 We arrive at a local pub where we are regular Saturday night patrons.
1740 As we walk in, Kate asks "Where's Adam?" Yes my 2.5 year old is on a first name basis with the bartender as he gives her maraschino cherries
1742 We find a table that gives us a view of the Warrior's game
1755 The waitress comes to take our order and Kate asks for "Fishy-fish please" I don't think I ordered in a restaurant by myself until I was 6 or 7
1800 Kate announces that she has to go potty and she wants Husband to take her. He does so willingly. I take note that he seems to be in a much better mood since his facial
1820 Our food arrives. I cut Kate's fish for her. She is a weird kid that takes the breading off the fish and eats the fish first and may eat the breading at the end depending on how hungry she is.
1850 Kate has to go potty again. This time, it's my turn to take her. As we walk in, she goes straight for a smaller stall and tells me that she is going to do it herself. She locks the door.
1851 Fortunately, the next stall is a handicapped one. I stand on the back of the toilet stall and then step on to the safety bar while holding on to the top of the stall so I can peek in on her. I'm hoping that A. No one else walks into the bathroom at this moment and B. This safety bar can support my weight
1855 Kate manages by herself just fine. I jump down and flush the toilet so she thinks I was going potty too and not spying on her.
1900 Kate announces it's "Fro-yo time!" We walk to the Frozen Yoghurt stop. Kate goes through her rituals. Swinging on the hand rail at the Sushi restaurant. Saying goodnight to the wooden fish on display at a salon and to a stone cat and goose at the flower stop. We also wave to the owner of a book store, who is still working at his desk even though his shop closed over an hour ago.
1910 Arrive at Yoga.fina I wasn't planning to have any, but Kate hands me a cup. Why not?
1912 Assist Kate. She's allowed two yoghurt flavours and three toppings
1915 Kate sits next to another young girl at the kids table and the kids start talking about the toppings they have. I snap a photo as it's really cute, but then realise that I probably shouldn't be taking a picture of someone else's kid, but her parents are both engrossed in their phones, so I don't think they noticed.
1920 Kate announces that she is done even though she hasn't finished her fro-yo. I'm please to see that she knows when she's satiated and isn't finishing it all just to finish. I text Husband to tell him to drink up as he will finish his beer, just to finish it...
1922 I distribute wipes to Kate for her to clean her face and the table. I feel that keeping the place tidy allows us to be welcomed as regulars.
1927 Husband arrives and we all walk back to the car together. I stop at the ATM to get cash for the Farmer's Market
1930 As a bus drives by, Kate starts singing 'The Wheels on the Bus'. She starts to confuse it with 'Old MacDonalds Farm' and is coming up with new verses; "The Piggy on the Bus says Oink, Oink, Oink!' Husband and I start to join in with other other farm animals; "The Cow on the Bus says Moo, Moo, Moo!" "Duck on the Bus says Quack, Quack, Quack!"
1935 Husband and I start to debate the ending of 'The Wheels on the Bus' We've heard it as "all day long" or "all through the town". I argue that "all through the town" makes more sense as the bus is travelling all through the town and may not run all day long.
1945 Arrive at home. Tyler is meowing loudly to let me know that he needs to be fed. Kate offers to help. I watch as she tries to slop his canned food into his bowl and is getting bits of cat food on the counter.
1948 I clean out Kate's snack bag and replenish it for tomorrow. She is playing at her kitchen by herself. I should be gearing her toward getting ready for bed, but she seems to be in the zone with her play so I let her continue
1955 I go into the bathroom to use the new skin cleanser that I picked up today. Kate walks in and asks if I want a cup of coffee from her toy Kurig machine. I accept her offer
1957 As I'm washing my face. Kate returns with a toy cup and small wooden spoon. She tells me "Here is your coffee. It will help you poop." Um, how does she know this?
2015 While Kate is still playing on her own, I chat with Husband as we really didn't see much of each other today. Discuss logistics for tomorrow and plans for meals this week
2025 I hate to disrupt Kate as she is happily playing on her own, but she's overdue for getting ready for bed
2027 I prepare her milk and head to her room. Tyler is sitting on her floor waiting for stories
2030 Kate recognizes that I'm in her room and joins me. I let her pick out her jammies, but she's resisting getting changed.
2035 Husband senses that I'm struggling to get Kate dressed and comes in as back-up support. Kate wants him to help her change. Meanwhile, I pick her books to read, hiding her books of multiple stories as she'll choose those and want to hear every story.
2055 Finish stories and head her to the bathroom to brush teeth. Husband helps as for some reason he does better at getting her to brush her teeth. I drop her empty milk cup in the sink. I know the milk remnants will curdle over night, but I can't be bothered to clean it right now.
2058 Husband has tucked Kate into bed, I lean over and give her a kiss as well. Husband turns out the light and I settle into her chair with my IPad
2100 Kate requests that I turn on her Sleep Sheep
2102 She wants a different song on the Sheep. I instruct her to change it herself
2103 She wants her blanket on. I inform her that she can do it herself
2104 She lets me know that she put her blanket on
2105 She wants to know what I am reading. I remind her that there is no talking.
2105 For the record, I am looking up Montesorri pre-schools.
2110 I can appreciate a change in her breathing. She seems to be asleep
2113 Wait a few minutes before leaving. Night time routine is still not ideal, but much better than spending over an hour trying to get her to sleep
2115 Go back to the bathroom to complete my nighttime R+F skin care routine. Notice the cup of 'coffee' that Kate brought me is still on the counter. I bring it back to her kitchen and do a little tidying While I'm there.
2120 Head to bed. Husband is watching Eastenders. Appreciate the nostalgia for watching such an iconic English show, but also find it a bit sad.
2129 Finish my internet search on Pre-schools.
2130 Thankfully, Eastenders has finished. Discuss the results of my pre-school research with Husband
2145 Start watching last night's episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. We started watching it last night, but both feel asleep during the opening monologue
2200 Drift off asleep during Bill's interview with his first guest. Will watch again to try to make it to the panel discussion and New Rules.