judecorp: (ant reading)
First one of the third grades in the school in which I work had lice.
Then a second grade.
And a kindergarten.

And then a lice note went through Punk's school. The lice was in one of the elementary classrooms but they sent the note to everyone.

And then lice was back in the kindergarten at work.

All of this lice talk makes me itchy all the freaking time! MAKE IT STOP, PEOPLE.

Itch.
Itch.
Itch.
judecorp: (marshmallows)
Summer is winding down and going back to work is looming just around the corner. There is one more week of summer life before Labor Day. How is that even possible? We have had a great and busy summer, so I know the time has truly passed but I am not ready. I am clinging to summer kicking and screaming even as the leaves begin to turn and the tomatoes are plentiful on my kitchen counter.

We spent the summer living a simple life, accommodating the baby's naps and just enjoying each other. I treasured the snuggly television watching with my daughter while my son slept in his room for his morning nap. We made crafts and played with water in the sink. We practiced writing letters and completed workbooks. She is falling right into my childhood footsteps - little nerdlet in training.

My son began the summer as a mostly immobile little guy who was content to swat at toys on the play mat and is now a nine month old force of destruction. He can tear apart my clean living room in less than a minute, climbing up and pulling things down, dumping over containers, scattering toys with might and mission. He shrieks and babbles, pulls the cats' tails, and adores his sister ferociously.

We spent a bunch of time this summer watching Punk's BFF, and it was great (and restful) watching the girls interact and watching C grow into an honorary big sister, handing the baby toys and talking to him so sweetly. We took weekly trips to our CSA farm and the big girls picked tomatoes and beans, cut flowers, and helped me choose the plumpest vegetables. We had a number of play dates with school friends and other babies. And kept the living easy.

We are now entering a new chapter in our lives together, me and my two. The baby doesn't remember going to day care and has entered the world of separation anxiety, which is likely to make the next few weeks rough. We switched him from the big day care center to the lovely, cozy home day care that Punk attended when she was two-to-three. I think this will be better for him, to have his own area for sleeping and a mom's touch, not to mention being around the corner from my job so I can fetch him as necessary. Punk is headed back to her Montessori classroom but will add two more days of after-school care since the pick-ups in the afternoon have to shift to accommodate picking up the baby first. She is looking forward to no longer being the youngest child in the classroom and it will be good for her to have some new kids to mentor.

I am not looking forward to going back to work but it will be nice to see the friendly adult faces that sustain me throughout the work day. It is nice to be wanted at work and I have enjoyed the relationship I've made between my agency and my school. I will enjoy seeing how my clients have grown over the summer and see their sun-kissed faces at the start of their new school year.

Time seems to march quickly when the work week hits full swing and I'm gobsmacked to realize that I will soon be planning my son's first birthday party. To think we are mere months away from first steps and words. It is humbling to be entrusted with these sweet souls.

I don't know what the next year will bring for my children and me, but we are ready for it and will meet it all with love.
judecorp: (work poison)
I am drowning. In a sea of First World Problems, but I am still drowning.

We applied for financial aid for Punk's fancypants Montessori preschool and they offered us a $2000 scholarship for next year. Unfortunately, that's not enough for us to feasibly send her to that school, the school she loves that has been very good for her this year in terms of keeping her stimulated and also encouraging her out of her comfort zone (Punk does not like to do anything that she thinks is "hard"). It was such a good fit for her and even though she is the youngest in her class this year, you would never know it and she is very comfortable there. But it is so expensive and with a second now in day care, there's just no way we can pay the price tag. We really needed $5000 off to make it work. I have her parent-teacher conference on Monday and I will probably bawl my way through it.

On top of that, going back to work totally sucks. I mean, the people at my job are happy to see me, and the kids I returned to are happy to see me, but my heart is not in it, my head is not in it, and I don't get nearly enough sleep to be able to effectively use my brain in that way. I am sort of floating through the job which isn't really working when I am taking countless referrals and doing tons of intakes, which generate tons of paperwork and involve tons of thinking/diagnosing/making treatment plans. I would really just rather be home with my kids, especially since I won't even be able to send Punk to the place I love next year.

Part of me would like to find another job, or go back to the Early Intervention stuff I loved and felt super competent at, but then I remember that this job gives me summers off to be with my kids and I feel like I have to stay there forever. It just all seems so heavy right now.

My most beloved cat, Daedalus, has recently started losing fur in little clumps on both sides of his body. It doesn't look like an allergy or a reaction or a fungus or anything, it is just falling out. And I am terrified that something is dreadfully wrong with him, so soon after Ralphie died. I don't think I can handle it.

I'm just in way over my head and I don't really know what to do. One foot in front of the other, I guess, but it's just so hard on so little sleep. I feel like I start the day already almost entirely out of coping skills just by having to haul myself up out of an exhausted stupor, and then to be totally swamped at work and not thrilled about where my kids are going to be, etc. It is too much.
judecorp: (punk play house)
I spent a good chunk of time terrorizing my child today, making her try on all of the current pants in the drawer and then the new pants I bought for fall/school. I had to do this while talking to my aunt on the phone (who did not seem to get that the whining was not enhancing my phone experience, LOL) so it was fun on both ends, let me tell you. But we got it done and I got all of her pants tried on and I have learned something very interesting:

1. My kid is no longer super slim, either that or the Old Navy/Gap jeans get slimmer as they size up. When she wore 2T, they were trim but fit well. 3T was more form fitting but still okay. 4T/4 are TIGHT. Like, they actually fit her but they fit like I would have liked my jeans to fit in high school, which is to say they are not very conducive to climbing and squatting and playing. And Punk didn't like them, she complained they were too tight. Bleh. So there are a couple of pairs of jeans (which thankfully were hand-me-downs and I didn't buy them) that I doubt she will be wearing much, if at all.

2. I imagine I will be sending her to preschool in predominantly elastic-waist pants because they are easier for her to take down to go potty. She still struggles with pulling pants UP and no amount of coercing or encouraging seems to help, so I am going to leave that to preschool to teach. Honestly, after all of their crap, they should be teaching her three languages. But anyway, the bonus of the elastic-waist pants is that they fit forever, because they don't get tight. :)

3. Once again, Gymboree wins for the very generous (*cough* too generous) hip/waist sizing (ditto Hanna Anderssen) but thankfully they all have adjustable waist so I can pull them in a ton. Also, their pants are longer than all of the other pants. But it's funny that their "skinny jeans" are way less snug than the "regular fit" at Old Navy or Gap.

4. All of the issues with my kid's pants being too tight were really triggering for when I was a tween/teen and had a hard time squeezing into junior-sized clothes, and feeling like I was really super obese when in reality I just plain wasn't. But for a few minutes I had a heart-attack moment of "Oh no, is my kid getting fat?" and then I basically had to beat the crap out of myself.

Good times, people, good times. But once the 4T fall clothes are washed, the "shift change" is done. :)
judecorp: (getting harder)
I don't think the Montessori school is going to let us out of our contract for the school year. I am to write a formal letter asking to be released and then the Head of School will decide if she will "take it to committee" for a vote. Who knows how long that will take? It is already August 11th. I need to contact the other school to let them know if she is coming, but how can I do that when I don't know if they will let me out of the contract?

The Montessori school already has almost $6k of our money. We can't afford to just let them keep it. We can't afford to hire someone to watch Punk for those extra days. We can't afford the after-care program there. We just can't.

And they don't care. Because they don't have all of their slots filled.
judecorp: (fin - just cold)
I am such a pickle for preschool. How can this be? It's freaking PRESCHOOL. It should not be full of drama.

Back in (I think? Maybe?) January or so we started the process to get Punk admitted to a local Montessori school, because we're big hippie Montessori freaks, blah blah blah, it's a good school. It costs a bazillion dollars and in terms of scheduling it was pretty disruptive to my work day, but we decided it was worth it and signed her up, had the interview, paid a bunch of money, etc. (The disruption is that the school's preschool hours are 8:30 to 3:00, any earlier or later are at increased cost that we can't afford, and a typical work day for me is 8:30 to 3ish with occasional days until 4 or later due to mandatory staff meetings, supervision, etc.) I had spoken with my supervisor about how I could accommodate this school and I found ways it could be done but all at the detriment of my job (i.e. leaving at 2:15 instead of 3:00 and losing one client each day, taking my "day off" on Wednesdays when we have staff meetings and finding a way to do ALL paperwork, phone calls, office things, etc. on that day, and other things). They weren't pleased at all but they like me and said it could work. Not to mention that no one is jazzed about the new baby coming in November when I have worked there a very short time and are therefore not eligible for anything like FMLA.

So anyway, a couple of weeks ago I decided to find out when each school (my school system and the Montessori school) starts for the year so I can get planning. I find out that my school system starts on September 1st, and Punk's school begins "phase in week" (with no explanation) on September 8th. SIGH. So I call my supervisor AGAIN and ask if it's going to be a problem if I can't work until September 8th. She says we will "make it work."

Last Thursday I received the big fall packet of information from the Montessori school. And it's true that "phase in week" begins September 8th, but "phase in week" actually means that on the 8th and 9th, the new kids can come to school from 8:30-11:30 WITH A PARENT, and then on the 10th all the kids can come from 8:30-12:30, and then the actual full school days where you can drop them off begin on September 13th.

At this point I start sweating because I can't possibly ask for another week AND I actually have a ton of stuff to do in September and October since I am taking leave in November. So to lose two weeks means screwing my clients over more, because I will be leaving them already to have a baby. I realize, of course, that this is MY problem brought about by MY actions but I really couldn't anticipate this process with the school.

My options right now are to a) do what I need to do for the Montessori preschool and hope that somehow I manage to have a job at the end of it, or b) find a new preschool for Punk that starts earlier. And try not to think about the fact that we paid the Montessori school, in addition to a huge chunk of tuition money (that may or may not be refunded) a $1000 non-refundable deposit. Which is, umm, quite a bit of money to us.

I did some sleuthing and found out that there are openings at the big catholic child care center 2 minutes from my house. A friend of a friend sends her kid there so I already know that they are cool with the two-mom family, so I went to check it out. It is obviously not a lovely, hippie Montessori setting with sculpted landscaping and beautiful wooden materials. It is very average - like "joe preschool." There are books and toys, art supplies, circle time, etc. etc. There is a decent play area with a climbing structure and sand box. It costs less for a FULL YEAR than the Montessori school costs for the school year (Sept - June minus school vacations); on top of that, they are willing to hold Punk's spot in the summers (since I don't work) FOR FREE. And they take very limited days off (just major major holidays). And they are open from 7:00 to 5:30 as part of the daily rate, which is quite reasonable. And they will do everything they can to make a spot for our infant, if we so desired, at the appropriate time. One drop off. One pick up. Not having to leave work early. Etc.

And yet I am still finding this a difficult decision. Why? We love the Montessori school and the Montessori philosophy. We love that community and have friends at the school. The playground there is amazing. The facilities are lovely. The teachers are wonderful. It is so calm and mellow and peaceful and structured. We were going to make it work for a reason. But now... now on the brink of two kids and a potentially lost job (a job that, by the way, I recently switched to because it is super flexible and family-friendly and accommodating and has school schedule, blah blah blah) I have to reconsider. And that hurts.

I left a message for the admissions director (who is also a church friend, UGH) about unenrolling Punk and whether we can get our money back. I am dreading the return call, but need it soon because I need to enroll in the catholic preschool ASAP to keep a spot. Barf.

Barf barf barf barf.

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judecorp

December 2011

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