AS YOU KNOW I have not had good luck with school stuff. This past school year was, in many ways, a prolonged awkward moment and the whole time I kept thinking, "IS IT ME?" Why was my question met with weird defensiveness? How come I didn't know about this? How come I didn't know about THAT? Did I do something wrong? Was I unclear? Why is something so simple so confusing? Am I really this hopeless? Am I really so difficult to communicate with? Why does this feel confrontational? Have they labeled my kid "The One With The Incompetent Mother"?
After manning up and taking Molly out of that overstuffed preschool, after emerging from the new baby fog, after whispered conversations with other parents, and (the kicker) the day they did not inform the pre-K parents that the school was in lockdown I decided NO, IT IS NOT ME. I will happily cop to my incompetent and clueless moments (YOU GUYS I LEFT THE CAR DOOR OPEN WHILE I DRANK A COFFEE AT WHOLE FOODS THIS MORNING, THE ENTIRE TIME, IN THE PARKING GARAGE, CAR WIDE OPEN, OMGGG) but! I am a halfway intelligent adult and I have a few years of Proper Communication under my belt and NO. IT WAS NOT ME.
Enter kindergarten enrollment.
SO. My mother, horrified that I had not yet enrolled her precious grandson in kindergarten, told me that I needed to call that school ASAP and sign him up. GET WITH IT, WOMAN! (This was months ago, by the way. Ahem.) Eventually I got around to that. I had a free morning, and I was under the impression that you mosey on down to the individual school, fill out a bunch of forms, and there you go. My mom told me they might even have a little play area for younger kids to hang out while you filled out your forms. Jack would get to see his new school, maybe we could snoop around a bit. This made sense to me, at least, and apparently this is how you enrolled when my mom was doing things.
Anyway, I called the school so I could make sure I'd bring all the proper documents. I said something like, "Hi, my name is Maggie, I want to enroll my son in kindergarten at This School, can I do that today? What do I need to bring?" And the secretary was all, "HUH?"
SERIOUSLY. It was like no one had ever called and asked her that question before in her life. Sure, I was on the phone, but I could SEE her face and her face was saying WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME, YOU HOPELESSLY INEPT AND PATHETIC EXCUSE FOR A PARENT.
What she actually said, I think, was, "WELL. Did you call the ENROLLMENT CENTER?"
And I said no, because I had no earthly idea what an enrollment center WAS.
And she said, "WELL. You need to call the ENROLLMENT CENTER. Do you have their NUMBER?"
I suppose I was lucky she GAVE me the number instead of hanging up right then and there assuming I would find it on the internet.
SPEAKING OF. If that's the kind of response you get when you call your kid's future school to find out how to get him IN, heaven help the parents who do not have the resources I have. Resources like internet access and speaking English and the time and wherewithal to listen to a stupid voice recording (that basically tells me to go look it up online, why are you wasting your time on the phone?) and make forty dozen Google searches.
I have now brought this up with I don't know how many fellow parents and none of us have an answer. I'm not saying the state should be sending me a reminder notice in the mail ("Our records indicate you have a five-year-old! Have you considered public school!") or anything, but I HONESTLY WONDER how some of the parents out there figure this out. I mean, they're not ALL overinformed, anxious, my-kid-better-get-into-the-gifted-class city parents!
ALL RIGHT SO ANYWAY. That enrollment center phone number? Totally useless. You couldn't talk to a real person. It was impossible. It gave me absolutely no information. So I gave up and went online, which I'd done ORIGINALLY, but I'd made a phone call in the first place because the website is TERRIBLE! Blargh!
I figured it out, though. I learned that I needed to download eighty-four different forms, fill them all out, and turn them into the one, lone, single, solitary, ONLY ENROLLMENT CENTER on the total opposite side of town from me, before 4pm. HA HA HA HA HA
No way, dudes. NO WAY. One of the options was to email everything and that is the option I chose. I am savvy! I am internet smart! I HAVE A BLAWG!
But you should have seen me tonight. It was the sorriest picture. First my wireless printer was out of paper. Then I printed the wrong forms. Then I filled out of them out wrong. Then I had to figure out how to SCAN them so I could make PDFs. But I needed Phillip's computer to do that, so I found it and set it up and CRAP, I have to switch his Mac to the Windows operating system because I am Mac Stupid. Fine. Did that, then for some reason it is not connected to the network so it can't connect to the printer which is also the scanner and that is when I started to cry.
Once I figured out another way to do it, just scanning all my forms probably took me an hour. I had to seriously rethink my entire IT'S NOT ME stance. Half that time was just looking for a USB stick (during the process I found another secret stash of chocolate and a handful of birthday/Mother's Day cards my husband never had the children give me HARRUMPH). Eventually I got the forms scanned and loaded onto the stick - but as JPGs not PDFs HMMM - and then I was worried the email wouldn't be able to handle all those attachments so I ZIPPED them...
And then I started remembering what sort of people I used to work with in an office and what sort of people are generally found in school district offices and I am not INTENTIONALLY being mean but WHAT IF THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH A ZIPPED FOLDER? FULL OF JPGs? WHAT? Do they MEAN IT when they say you can email your admission forms?
So NOW I am sitting here thinking I should have just mailed the stupid things. Why didn't I do that? I am just asking for trouble and/or a huge continuation of the Awkward Moment, I KNOW IT. I wanted to do it as quickly as possible because 1) I've waited so long and 2) I need to hurry up and request a particular kindergarten teacher. But I am feeling very doubtful about how much time I've actually saved. It might be NEGATIVE.
I've decided that I will call on Thursday or Friday to confirm whether they got the forms. I thought about mailing them in too, but that would just make it worse. HOW DO I MAKE THINGS SO COMPLICATED?!
It makes me even more grateful for the Molly Preschool situation I have lined up. We're back at Jack's old school, where I NEVER felt awkward, where I was ALWAYS informed, where the teachers really knew my kid and had something to say about him at every pick up. I am paying for it, but it feels totally worth it. I ran into the teacher the other day (the preschool has relocated to the church where the kids are doing VBS) and even though I was only there one year AND I left last year, she grabbed me and gave me a private tour of the new space and shared TONS of information and fun stuff with me AND I LOVE HER. If you are local and looking for a 2s/3s/4s/pre-K program in the North Seattleish area, let me share the love.
I am REALLY excited about kindergarten (and not just the free time!) and I know all this paperworky phone cally stuff has no bearing on what JACK'S experience will be. But I do wish I didn't feel like such an idiot about everything. I do wonder how people who don't have ready access to the internet are accomplishing the same tasks. I am not terribly impressed with the assistance I've received. IT'S NOT ALL ME. (RIGHT?!)