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.