Preschool

Schoolicious

Okay, let's do this. CATHOLIC SCHOOL. I might not send my kids to Catholic school. WHAT WHAT!

I wrote about this maybe a year ago? Am obviously too lazy to look that up. But I remember some "Catholic school is VERY important to us" comments and a few that seemed surprised there were other options, as well as a handful of former varyingly scarred former Catholic school students. So THAT was helpful. 

Tonight I was sitting here looking up all the numbers. If we want both kids in 3x a week preschool next year, we're looking at a price of We Could Just Barely Pull That Off, I Mean, JUST BARELY. We would do it knowing that we would only have two kids in preschool at the same time, so it would be only one year of JUST BARELY. 

Except what if we send Jack to kindergarten at a Catholic school? What are we looking at then? And after a bunch of Googling and calculating, I realized that if we sent both kids to our parish school, which claims to be the least expensive Catholic school in the city, we're looking at $800 a month. Which. Well. Hmm. 

(Note: This would be in-parish tuition. If you are not a parishioner, it's more like $1200 a month for two kids HOLY CATS.)

Yes, there is tuition assistance blah blah blah, but like Phillip said when we were talking about it tonight, if we applied for assistance we would then feel guilty every time we went out to eat or bought fancy new computer equipment (him) or a fabulous pair of boots (me). So. Hmm. 

If I want to send my kids to preschool/pre-K at my parish school, I have to start making my decision NOW. So this time next year, I will be required to make my decision about kindergarten. You see why I want to hurry up and find out where we're going to LIVE. (Note: preschool/pre-K is marginally less expensive than our current preschool, and lasts an hour longer each day, but I don't know if I LIKE that extra hour and I think I've mentioned that we LOVE our current preschool.)

OKAY SO ANYWAY. Here's my deal with Catholic school. I basically know nothing about it. Other than what I learn at my various churchy meetings and quick conversations with school parents, I'm completely in the dark. My mom went to Catholic school, but that was in the Dark Ages (sorry Mom) when nuns were still smacking you around with rulers. My handful of friends who went to Catholic school have different experiences, most of them not so great. And the youth minister at my church swears up and down her kids will go nowhere near a Seattle-area Catholic high school. SO ENDS MY CATHOLIC SCHOOL KNOWLEDGE. 

But when I think about it, I think it would be SO NICE. Especially in K through 8. I feel that I'm sorely lacking in a Catholic Foundation. I don't know so many of the really basic things you're supposed to know, and I have this idea (incorrect perhaps?) that Catholic school would give my kids what I don't have. I LIKE that there is prayer in school, I like that religious holidays are observed and celebrated, I like the uniforms and school Masses. Our school has very small class sizes and lots of music and art. It's for sure a better education than they'd get in some of the neighborhood schools, but we ARE focusing on neighborhoods with better schools (and the suburbs we're particularly interested in are known for their excellent school district). So I don't know that this is about making sure they get a better education so much as preferring a CATHOLIC education. 

However. EIGHT HUNDRED BUCKS A MONTH DEAR GOD.

And you know, because I've mentioned it nine thousand times, I come from a Proud Family of Public School Teachers. Not that THEY think one is better than the other, they know there are too many factors involved to generalize, I just mention it to show that I'm pretty positive on public schools. 

What if we buy a house with a Just Fine public school two blocks away, but the Catholic school is across town? Or if we stay where we are even, with a great public school, a different parish school five blocks away, and our parish school farther away? Is it bad to say proximity is kind of a big factor with me? It just makes sense somehow, and I'm all about Being Part Of The Neighborhood. What's funny ("funny") is that if we could somehow swing a house near-ish to our parish school, we'll no doubt be spending all our school money on the mortgage. 

I wish I felt strongly one way or the other. Instead, Catholic school just seems really NICE, like a BONUS, but public school would be totally fine too. Phillip is less inclined towards Catholic school, precisely because of the cost, and maybe that makes me a little bit afraid of deciding to insist on Catholic school. 

Maybe it's because neither of us went and we don't exactly have a context for it and we never really thought about paying for it. I know there are ways to make it work. Our priest goes on and on about how they don't turn anyone away and so many people just ASSUME we are sending our kids there. That's what you DO. So maybe I feel a little guilty too. (Well, obviously.)

ANYWAY. A couple of you have emailed/commented with the same sort of dilemma and I honestly don't know what we're going to do. I think on the preschool front we're going to send in the applications and the nonrefundable registration fees and just see what happens. We'll either find a great house and possibly lose our registration fee, or we'll stay and our kids get to go to an awesome preschool. It'll work out either way. But the SCHOOL school issue keeps bugging me, and while I understand I can't really make any decisions yet, I wish I knew what decisions I'd LIKE to make! 


The day lies ahead

We're headed to Phillip's parents' house today and I have big plans. Big! Plans! Mostly involving an Attitude Adjustment re: my posts over the weekend. There's an awesome new library near their house and I intend to take full advantage. If I can't write without having two sets of able and willing grandparents around, I'll never write anything. 

Speaking of, I keep entertaining this idea of Molly going to preschool. INSANE. But there's a twos program at the exact same time Jack is in school and I keep thinking: TWO HOURS TO MYSELF TWO HOURS TO MYSELF. And the library is steps away from the preschool! I could get so! much! shopping! writing! done! 

And then sometimes I think about next year, and if we are still near this preschool (which I love) and how they could BOTH go on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and suddenly my world busts out of it's crib-sized cage and WOW. One day my kids will be in school. ALL DAY. Whatever will I do with myself? 

Right now we can't exactly afford to put two kids in preschool (do you get preschool breaks? Buy one year, get the other year half off? Something like that?) and I make jokes about how we'll have to choose one kid to educate. And I am JOKING but also: dude. Preschool is not free. How are we ever going to swing Catholic school? IF we decide on Catholic school, which is a huge OTHER conversation. 

Thoughts for another day, I think. 

Today I am going to write and try not to hate everything that comes out of my brain. And then I am thinking about going to buy an immersion blender. I bought one last year during Fall Soup Season and it was a piece of junk. It never got anything smooth and the handle got so hot I couldn't even hold it. I'm thinking I should not buy the cheapest immersion blender this time. 

It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day, which means I should really spend some time outside and dismantle my aphid-infested, powdery-mildewed garden and figuring out what to do over the winter so that the weeds don't take over the entire yard. But I am going to be There not Here and what's yet another day of aphids and powdery mildew?

And I need to do other Administrative things, like figure out when we can get a babysitter this monthand who is going to watch the kids when I go to the Blathering and update the budget spreadsheet and obsess over Redfin and update Google calendar with all the minutiae of our days. And I enjoy doing those things - getting them all finished makes me feel accomplished in a way that doing all the dishes and making sure the kids are clean and fed doesn't. 

I guess this entire post is to say: thank God for grandparents. 


Every time I say "preschool" I start singing the song from Sesame Street's 'Preschool Musical' bit and I KNOW YOU DO IT TOO

We all went to preschool this morning and it was, if I may say so myself, a Tremendous Success. I mean, it was only preschool orientation and it's not like we fussed over our clothes the night before and drove with butterflies in our stomachs and bawled the minute we stepped inside the classroom (Jack) or the minute we got back in the car (me). No no no, we ALL went to preschool and we stayed maybe an hour and then we all went home together and discussed, almost seriously, whether or not we should send Molly too. 

I picked a good one you guys. Sure sure, it hasn't started yet, it was only orientation, what do we really know, but two of the parents raved - no, RAVED - about the school, and the teachers have all been there a combined forty gazillion years and not once did Jack hang on us or whine or stand back or hide behind our legs. No, he dove right into the paint and the play dough and the blocks and at one point I saw him take one of the teachers by the hand and drag her across the room, demanding that she admire his artwork. 

Of course this MAYBE had something to do with the fact that only two of the other preschoolers showed up with their parents for orientation and those two preschoolers plus two baby sisters (one of them being Molly) were the only other kids in the room. Since Jack's main complaint about any social setting is "too many kids", orientation was working in our favor. Also! There are only six kids. SIX. The class will probably fill up (12 max) by winter break, so sayeth the teachers, but even that is good news. Because Jack can start out with a small, hardly intimidating group and can slowly get used to more and more kids. I was so SMART to sign him up for this class! GO ME!

There are three boys and three girls and half of them have names I don't know how to pronounce and I would totally print them here except for what if they are the only kids in the universe with these names (POSSIBLE!) and their mothers google them (ALSO POSSIBLE!) and find some other preschool parent clapping her hand over her mouth because GOOD LORD THESE NAMES. 

ANYWAY. The other parents were super nice, and this made me realize two things about preschool that I hadn't Realized In Advance. (You know I like to realize in advance, right? It's a kind of Life Policy.) Those two things are: 

1. Tuesday Thursday preschool means we won't hang out with our friends who go to Monday Wednesday Friday preschool or daycare. Which is, let me count, OH EVERYONE. And 

2. Jack will not be the only one forced to socialize with the preschool set. WILL I HAVE TO MAKE FRIENDS TOO???

This is cause for MUCH hand wringing, Internet. Obviously I hadn't given enough thought to how preschool will affect ME. I mean, other than the whole childcare aspect of it which, come on, you are totally excited about that too I KNOW IT. 

I'm just not sure what it's all going to BE like. I was talking to a friend the other day about how we aren't ALWAYS going to be at home with little kids and playdating and zoo-ing and playgrounding and packing off to Target whenever we feel like it. Soon enough our kids will be in SCHOOL and it will be a whole new world. The center will shift, you know, from home to school or whatever community we end up in and it will just be NEW. With NEW PEOPLE. 

I have to say, all the preschool parents seemed Especially Nice, even if they all seemed to sort of know each other already, even if I am hopeless at coming up with Things To Chat About. (Tangent! So I have these neighbors that I'm constantly spying on, because it seems like nine hundred people live in their house and I can't figure it out and it fascinates me so (ask Liz who heard me drone on and on about the Neighbors Mystery for what? hours?) BUT TODAY THEY TALKED TO ME! It was amazing! The guy I thought was the dad IS the dad and he has FOUR kids and the puzzle pieces are fitting together! Also he would have totally gone on talking to me except I couldn't think of The Next Thing To Talk About so I just shuffled into my yard with my groceries and NEIGHBOR FAIL. I annoy myself so much.)

Aaaaanyway, all this means to you is: BLOG FODDER. Gosh I hope I don't have to end up Password Protecting. That would be LAME. 

IN OTHER NEWS. My husband is thirty-two years of awesome tomorrow. He has a big test type thing happening at work (I know! a test at WORK!) which, I'm sure, he would appreciate your Happy Thoughts about, and then his wife may or may not have dinner ready for him when he comes home (happy thoughts about that too) and she's PRETTY sure she won't have a cake since he only likes vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and what is the point of making a cake like THAT? But she might be bothered to go pick up some cupcakes and she IS planning a lovely weekend and she will try very very hard not to let the fact that she nearly threw the children into Lake Washington that afternoon spoil their evening. Won't you throw him a happy birthday comment? He luuuurves it when he gets mentioned. I KNOW. It's ADORABLE.