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    February 04, 2013

    Carpooling, kindergarten, fails at making school parent friends

    I planned to do a big picture post tonight with my new! entry way walls and my new! shoe cabinet and my new! coat tree, but I'm too tired. SORRY, INTERNET! I know, the lack of forty-seven paragraphs detailing my Quest For The Perfect Entry Way Rug is a huge disappointment to you all. Next time. Pinky swear. 

    I also considered describing my walk of shame back to Weight Watchers, but I am genuinely depressed about that, like, I don't even feel like trolling for sympathy and encouragement on my BLAWG, which means I'm REALLY SUPER DUPER DOWN ABOUT IT. Which is all we're going to say about THAT. Got it? FIN. 

    So WHO KNOWS what is going to come out of my brain tonight! Oh wait. I was going to say something about carpooling. 

    I was thinking about carpooling because today was one of the kindergarten then wait then preschool then come back home then back to preschool then an hour then go back to kindergarten then all come home and start dinner kind of days and DUUUUDES. It's not, you know, the WORST thing in the world, but it can be annoying at times and heinous at others. This week, I remembered, is FEBRUARY and I actually counted out the months until the kindergarten/preschool/baby thing is over. (Four and a half.) Then summer. Then a year in which both big kids are in school all day and I hardly know what to do with myself. EAT ALL THE BON BONS.

    Oh, that reminds me. Someone was asking why we're going to put Molly in kindergarten next year even though her birthday is past the cut off date. So! The answer to that is several-fold. The first thing is that her birthday is ONE DAY past the cut off date. So I don't feel like I'm trying to get away with much. (You know me, rule follower and all that.) Another thing is that she's Child #2 and has seen kindergarten up close and personal for months now. Nearly every day her brother comes home from school and makes her PLAY kindergarten. She sits and does "homework" with him in the evenings. He's teaching her everything he's learning. When we're at the school, Molly blends in with the kindergartners. She and Jack are 15.5 months apart in age, and having them be two years apart in school seems bizarre. She may be my preschool dropout, but 4.5 year old Molly seems to have No Fear about kindergarten and when I tease her about keeping her home with me she does NOT have a sense of humor about it. I've asked her preschool teachers, Jack's teacher, and my personal crew of teachers and they all think Molly will be just fine. I have to apply for early entry in April, then have her tested in a group setting, then (if she passes that one) an individual assessment in the summer, then (if she passes that) a four-week "trial" in kindergarten in the fall. Though Jack's teacher tells me they never pull them out, even when they should. I'm not particularly anxious about it, it's just another pile of paperwork and appointments. 

    The last thing, though, is that I'm not one of the Err On The Side Of Keeping Them Back parents. I think it depends on the kid, obvs. I feel confident about Molly, but if we were talking Jack I'm not sure what we'd be thinking right now. Also, I'm a mid-July birthday and was always one of the youngest in my class. This never once mattered in school, seriously, not that I can think of. The only thing that might have affected me was driving, but since I went to school on an overseas military base and you had to have a stateside license AND be eighteen, pretty much no one drove anyway. I got good grades and was "a leader" because that's the sort of irritating brownnoser personality I have, not because of (or in spite of) my age. And I swear to God, if I'd been another year older in high school? If I'd been turning 19 when I graduated instead of 18? I can't fathom the misery. (SORRY MOM!) I mean, I was just SO READY to go away to college and meet different people and live in a city and GROW UP. I'm not saying that Molly is just like me, and who knows what she'll be like when she's 17! But right now she's READY and it seems like crazy talk to hold her back. 

    But I was going to talk about carpooling, right? Right. Okay, so CARPOOLING. Another thing you've said to me is, "Why don't you find someone to carpool with!" WHY DON'T I?!

    I don't know, internet. It just hasn't been so easy. Ideally I would be friends with another preschool mom, or I'd have befriended the mom of the little girl that Molly seems to like best, but it hasn't worked out that way. For one thing I live WAY OUT OF THE WAY - no preschool family lives near me. I don't quite see what they'd get out of it, honestly. And the other preschool moms haven't exactly appeared to REQUIRE carpooling. As far as I can tell they have nowhere to go before or after preschool, they hang out and chat and even if I WANTED to do that with them, I have this BABY in the car whose nap is always getting jerked around. This is unfair - the other moms have younger and older kids too, but they really do seem to have it much more together than I do. They're not unfriendly, but they've developed some sort of relationship with each other while I've sat in my car waiting for the teachers to open the door. I'm FINE with this, but it hasn't really gained me any benefits either. Oh, and until last week, I was the only one who picked up her kid at 12:30 - all the other kids stayed that extra hour for lunch and more playtime. Emma's napping later now, so Molly's now staying that extra hour too, but carpooling definitely wouldn't have worked before. 

    As for KINDERGARTEN... it's different and the same. Most kids either take the bus or go to the on site daycare after school. There are 4 or 5 moms in the hallway with me every afternoon, but none of them (of course) are parents of the kids that Jack talks about most (which would be THE GIRLS). A couple of them were even kids Jack didn't particularly like the first few months. So there was no ORGANIC way of striking up conversation. We small talk, but not much. And there's one mom who even seems to be annoyed by Molly and Emma and moves away from us if we're standing nearby. I KNOW. 

    I guess I'm saying I've failed at making School Friends. I wasn't inclined to do so at preschool and I haven't been successful at kindergarten. I also haven't noticed another parent who looks like she could use a carpool friend. Actually, there is one mom at Jack's school who is also toting two smaller kids along each afternoon, but her son is in a different kindergarten and the one time I initiated with her it didn't really go anywhere. BLARGH. 

    It's my own fault? I guess? It hasn't been easy. Molly's school is full of the chatty, involved, on site type of mom, Jack's school is not. I feel haggard when I'm at both places, just trying to get in and out as quick and efficiently as possible. I don't WANT to stick around and chat. I mean, I do, I just, well, YOU KNOW. 

    So that is why 1) early kindergarten and 2) no carpool. Four and a half months, you guys. Four and a half months, then a few weeks of summer, then TWO KIDS IN SCHOOL UNTIL 3PM EVVVVVVERY DAAAAAAY.


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    During preschool a mom came up to me and proposed a carpool. It turned out to be a complete and utter hassle. And not to sound mean, but I just don't seem to like "other" kids. Love my own, but other kids are annoying and talk about butts and poop. (Long story) Here's to the next 4.5 months!

    Unless I had a really good friend who lived close to carpool with, there is no way I would do it. It sounds like more of a hassle.

    The friends thing is so tricky. In theory I think just putting myself out there should work. As in, we are not that different, us humans. But in reality - compatibility matters. Good luck Maggie.

    Also - my god, poor Molly with all that testing. I imagine she doesn't even know it's testing but holy cow. I'm sure you've heard this before but in Canada, BC at least it's a calendar year cutoff, and I don't think there is a culture of holding back. Just interesting to me.

    Those moms just don't know what they are missing out on! Their loss. I'm friendly with some of the moms at Sophie's school through the endless round of birthday parties we go to, but even so, there is a clique of moms that seem very close and in the know and the rest of us are just on the edges of their group. It's weird and awkward.

    I think it's great you are putting Molly in Kinder in the fall. Since she and Jack are so close in age and she's had the benefits of living it through him this year, I'm sure she'll do fine! Sophie's birthday is three days before the cutoff and she is going. Since she's been in day school four days a week the last few years, I don't worry she will be ready. Also? She's wearing size 7 clothes and is the tallest kid in her current class, so if I held her back it would be child abuse because she'd be the tallest Kindergartener EVER!

    And due to my upcoming move to a new house, I'm obsessed with house decorating right now so PLEASE do an entryway post! I really want to see it. ;)

    I don't know if I missed it at some point, but is there a reason Jack doesn't/can't take the bus? Perhaps bus stops are just as inconvenient, but I have no idea (yet). As for the mom friend thing, I have issues with that too. I sort of figured once my kid was in Sunday School I'd make friends with some of the other parents when we were waiting, but it just hasn't happened. I don't know if I give off a vibe or something, but no one talks to me (and I feel weird talking to them). Ugh.

    Just to commiserate, I didn't really feel like I was FRIENDS with AJ's classmates' moms until this year (3rd grade), and that took some doing. Thank God one or two of us were motivated enough to organize some Moms' Nights Out or it wouldn't have happened. It's hard when some of them are able to be at the school for ALL the events and volunteer things, and you're not, because of an additional baby, or like me, a job. Feels like it's evening out a bit, but I totally get you. (We don't have carpool buddies either!)

    Carpooling at this age is totally inconvenient, I think. Who has an extra carseat or booster? How/when will you give them the extra seat/booster? The logistics of it all just take away from any benefit there might be. Poo to it.

    I think that was me who asked about sending Molly! Thanks for clarifying :) I actually asked because my son is almost 4 and my daughter will be 3 beginning of literally 15.5 months apart, JUST like Jack and Molly. My son seems a lot like Jack and my daughter is fearless and wants to do everything like her brother. He is in 3 year old preschool right now and she goes the same 2 days to a similar 2 year old program so he will be in 4 year old preschool in the fall and she will be in 3 year old preschool. So they will likely go through school together like Jack and Molly.

    I asked also since my birthday is end of September and I was a lot like you and didn't have issues for the most part, but everyone here in my state (Indiana) pretty much gasps if you send them and their bday is past March or April. Pretty much everyone I know here (I am originally from Michigan) has planned to hold their child back.

    I'm sorry about the carpooling thing :(

    Making friends with school parents is So Hard!
    It took forever to make friends with the other preschool moms. I pretty much took the lead from my very social daughter about who she wanted to do playdates with, and then ended up signing her up for a music class at a local park over the summer and recruited a few other kids from her while our kiddos were singing their hearts out I finally broke out of my shell and made a few mom friends....

    Please tell me Jack & Molly can ride the bus to school next year. As difficult as it is to get into the morning routine for catching the bus, the payback for not having to do the drop-off and pick-up with a baby or toddler in tow is so worth it.

    Girl, if you lived down by me (the other side of the earth, aka Lake Tapps), we could be friends! I am that stand alone, socially awkward mommy type that is not interested in PTA or crafts and has a strangely hard time maintaining a conversation with the other moms. I'm less of a goldfish and juice box kind of mom. More of wine and Downton, you know?

    I have just met a lovely woman down the street with kids who go to the same elementary and preschool. The funny thing is, I don't want to try too hard and scare her off because her family is so nice and normal! So I am friendly without trying to appear stalkerish. Is harder than one would think.

    So, I have a Molly who is 2 and has a September 2nd birthday (one day past our cutoff)! I plan to send her to kindergarten early, so I will be interested to see how it is for you and your Molly. ALSO: I have a Jack, he is my oldest.

    Oh man, I know you said you didn't want to talk about WW, but if you change your mind? I want to talk about WW. ;) I think we might be chocolate chip loving weightloss twins, I'm not sure....

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