Thursday, September 6, 2007

Redirecting The Bird

We applied at two preschools last February. My daughter got wait listed at the school that had been my first choice, and was still 11th on the list a few days before school started so we paid a million fees (including an absurd snack fee, for which they should be getting lobster at 10:30am) and tuition and, last Tuesday, dropped her off at School B.

The baby bird's first day of school didn't go that well. When I went to fetch her at the end of the day her teachers said she cried for an hour and a half after we left. Kids adjust quickly, and I know by the end of the week she would have taken off for that classroom without even waving goodbye and would have been teaching the other kids calculus when I came to pick her up. Getting her to go back for another round, though, was the problem.

I was about to drive to the hardware store to purchase a crowbar with which I could pry her out of the car and into her classroom Thursday when, early the next morning, School A called to tell me a spot had just opened up for Ella. Well, shoot. She certainly wasn't attached to School B, but she had already started there and we had already paid $80 for her to eat snacks there for the rest of the year. (On the first day of school she got a graham cracker and a dixie cup full of juice. It was going to take A LOT of graham crackers to make up for that.)

I put more thought into this decision than I did in deciding where I was going to go to college. For some reason it seemed as if her whole academic career was in jeopardy if I chose wrong.
In the end I went with School A.

Parent Orientation was the next day. When we got down to her classroom and had a conference with her teacher I knew I had made the right choice.

The first thing that got my attention was their curbside drop off option. Hummm, that service sure is convenient at the dry cleaners... Okay, tell me more...

Then her teacher told us NOT to send the kids in nice clothes as they will certainly get covered in paint and other little kid goo. So I can send her to school in sweatpants and Fruit of the Loom undershirts? Perfect. No new school clothes for Ella = new shoes for Mommy.

Whereas the School B offered the most expensive graham crackers in town for snack, the list of suggestions for snack time at School A looked better than whatever's for dinner at my house on any given day. English muffin pizza, soup and crackers, pasta with cheese, corn on the cob--perhaps I'll start bringing my whole family to school for a 10:30 am dinner. Parents are in charge of bringing the snacks for the whole class ever so often, but by the looks of the "snack suggestion" list I can get away with supplying last night's leftovers as a snack. Look, kids--it's a pound of pot roast in tupperware! Mmmm, mmm good.

On Fridays School A has something called "Rodeo," where the kids go outside and ride bikes around in the parking lot. We don't have a sidewalk at our house, so our options for bike riding at home include turning tight circles on the four feet of pavement we have in our back yard or careening down our steep driveway into the welcoming arms of the street below. Rodeo sounds a little more... life affirming.

In addition to Rodeo, Ella's new school also offers weekly music classes. After her first day of music class I plan to go home and hide her kazoo and tambourine and not feel bad about it.

What cinched the deal was pickup time. Both schools advertised 9-12 as their hours, but her old school actually required the children to be picked up by 11:55, thereby robbing me of a five minutes of childless freedom--freedom that I had paid for. Those of you who don't currently have young children in your house might guffaw over those five minutes, but it's amazing what a person can do with that amount of time when unfettered from their 3yr old--brush their hair, rustle up some clothes that are clean and while not necessarily matching don't clash, eat lunch sitting down, go to the bathroom, write a story about what they can do with five minutes, etc. The icing on the cake was that when I drop her off in the morning I have the option of paying them an extra $5 for them to keep her for an extra hour in the afternoon. On most days I would be willing to pay a vagrant off the street to watch her from 12-1pm for $20, so this deal was too good to pass up.

Tomorrow is Baby Bird's new first day of school. Hopefully she'll fly a little faster and stay a little longer.
I'm going to go pick up a crow bar just in case.

Read: Just Barely Best Friends

To receive an email notifying you when a new story has been posted, sign up in the subscription box in the upper right hand corner!

Results from last week's Hack Job poll:
I'm amazed by the restraint my readers have shown with regard to cutting their kids' hair. A full 40% of you know better than to mess with scissors. 60% of you have cut your kids' hair, but only one person claims to have done a good job and I know for a fact that one person is my husband, who cut off my daughter's mullet when her hair was starting to grow in a lot quicker in the back than it was in the front.

Just Barely the Oldest's Book of the Week: Ten in the Bed (Big Books)


  1. I am most certainly not looking forward to that decision process, picking which school to send her to! Though I just heard the park district is starting a New 3's program that a lady in my development is teaching so I just might have to check that out. Glad to hear that you got into choice A. Hope it goes well!

  2. The "rodeo" sounds like it's worth the $80 expense of the graham cracker purchase. School B sounds wildly fun! Live and learn! It all works out.