Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First Day of School(s)

Norah's first day of Pre-K was a little anti-climactic.  She started her new school in July and although she moved classrooms (from Crocodiles to Kangaroos), there wasn't a break.  So starting school wasn't that exciting because, well, she'd been going to school all summer.  Pre-K is different though, with more academically oriented work.  There's still a lot of play, thank goodness, but the focus is shifted slightly.  The teacher she was supposed to have decided not to come back to work after having a baby and so there's been a bit of a scramble to sort things out on that end.  She's had a "substitute" for the past few weeks and the new teacher apparently starts next Tuesday.  

Norah has been a really great trooper about the whole school situation.  She's had a lot of upheaval and some bad luck.  This is her third school and on Tuesday it will be her sixth teacher.  Good thing she's so easy going.  The other day the aide told me that during free time some of the girls decided to work a puzzle and she overheard Norah complementing them on their work and offering encouragement.  I think the exact words used were, "good job, honey.  You are doing really great work."  Ha.  They think she's inspirational.  I think she's bossy.  Tomato, tomato.  

I missed her first official first day because I was in Houston for work.  I made a cute sign that had the date and "first day of pre-k" and instructed both Bubby and BVZ to take lots of pictures.  Even though we have a DSLR camera, both dummies decided to use their iphones (oh yes, Bubby has an iphone) and every goddamn picture is a blurry mess.  This was the cutest one I got from inside her classroom:

She likes school and I have no doubt it will be a successful year.  Her letters get better every day and she is creeping towards becoming a beginner reader.  Cousin Megan brought over a bunch of chapter books a few weeks ago and Norah has now decided that any non-chapter book is totally beneath her.  She loved a Nancy Drew and a Sophie the Awesome and we are on book two of Junie B. Jones.  I know Junie B. is a bit controversial because she's mouthy and naughty, but I think she's freaking hilarious.

I work three full days a week now and Lou has been on the wait list at Norah's school for months. Problem is, we need a three-day-a-week spot and that requires another kid in the same class who wants a two-day-a-week spot.  Those are hard to come by because most 18 month olds at a large facility like this one are in full time care.  Bubby has graciously taken care of Lou all three days a week for a while now, and while they are loving their days together, it was only supposed to be a temporary solution.

Part-time childcare is hard to come by and even harder to come by in a geographical area close to Norah's school.  A popular thing here in Texas (maybe elsewhere too?  I had never heard of it before moving here) are these MDO's, or Mother's Day Out programs.  It's basically half day pre-school.  Which is great unless you have a job and can't wait until 9:30 to drop the kid off or be there to pick the kid up at 1:30.  Thankfully, my job is flexible enough that I can roll in after such a late drop off and Bubby is willing to do the 1:30 pick up and then hang out with Lou (and wrestle him down for a nap) until Norah and I get home.

The other wrinkle is that most (maybe all?) of these MDO's are associated with a church.  Now, I have no problem with church and I have no problem with church childcare, it just isn't necessarily for us.  Okay, really not for us.  I won't get into my search process because I don't want to offend, but EVOLUTION IS A REAL THING.  Anyway, I found a place that meets our needs.  It is in fact in a church but a church I can deal with and the staff is great.  He is there to have fun and play with other kids and for that I can handle a Christmas program involving the nativity.  He is totally going to be an adorable wise man.

I was legitimately worried that he was going to bite another kid, but so far (two days in) so good.  He loves the outside playground and seems to get along fine with everyone.  He could care less when I leave him (the other kids go bananas when their parent takes off), which I find reassuring and a wee bit sad (for me).  He's thrilled to see Bubby when she gets there.  He didn't eat a bite of lunch the first day and only had a nibble the second, but I suppose that's to be expected.  He didn't bite another human person.  I am focusing on the positive.

We are committed to the school at least through December, but after that we will likely move him to Norah's school when and if a spot ever opens up.  I just need the more flexible hours and two different morning drop off are a giant, enormous, colossal pain in the ass.

Yay for school!


Natalie said...

A few weeks ago I made a word document for myself to document all of the different child care arrangements I have had with Spencer and to plan what I need from now until Elliott starts kindergarten in 2017. Because you're right. Part time care is really hard. I plan on keeping my same job and work schedule until Elliott is at least in Kinder, which means I need 2 half days or 1 full day. Luckily I am sharing a nanny with my friend and it is working wonderfully.

Maryellen said...

Norah looks like a very happy Pre-K girl!! I'm sure you're very relieved Lou isn't a Biting Lou right now.

Ave said...

I think MDO is a Southern thing. Lilah went to one our first year here when I was pregnant and exhausted all the time. They had a giant crucifix on the wall. It was not exactly our style (at all) but it was fine for a year.