Before I get into the personal stuff, I have to rant for a moment:
I saw this article this morning from my NPR station, and I got really angry. It is so irresponsible for middle-class and upper-middle class folk to decide that preschool isn’t “so” important or isn’t necessary. Preschool is essential for some segments of the population, especially those who come from historically underserved backgrounds. Children from impoverished or underserved communities, children with disabilities or other diagnosis, and children who live in communities that simply lack safe places to learn, live, and grow need preschool. Not just childcare. Preschool. With real teachers, real curriculum, real classrooms, and real possibility. The author of this article does two things that make me angry: First, she decides that children don’t need preschool because their home environment is their “first and only” classroom and thus anything else is superfluous (making an assumption that every child lives in an enriching environment, which we know is categorically untrue, even in some middle class households). The other thing that she does, which makes me especially angry, is that she disavows standardized curriculum. In the context of urban schooling, especially, where curriculum has often been haphazard at best (nonexistent at worst), standardization of one of the best things that ever happened to the classroom. Standardized testing is something we can argue about. But standard-based curriculum is important to communities that are often burdened with the most inexperienced (and transient) teachers, the least amount of resources, and the most amount of children with particular needs (and not necessarily traditional “special education.”) When middle-class and upper-middle class folk start talking out of both sides of their mouth about education and opportunity, they are grossly irresponsible. Especially because we know that the author of this article (as well as so many others), are among the first in line to sign their children up for the best possible education that they can afford for their children. Why then look back and decide “well, it’s not for everyone…” that’s complete bullshit. The same goes with the college argument along the same lines. Don’t get me started. No, college isn’t for everyone, but everyone deserves that shot. In this case, preschool is for everyone, and everyone deserves the shot.
Alright, I’m off my soapbox.
What a weekend.
It’s Monday afternoon and I’m still coming down from the weekend, which was emotionally and physically exhausting. There is a lot going on: This week is preschool acceptance(or denial) week, we’re still searching for homes (and it feels like nobody is moving), and we’re still in the full swing of playgroup and growing. And it’s still freaking cold, so we’re cooped up in the damned apartment! I have such Spring Fever, I can’t even stand it.
So Saturday, because the Husband and I were in a go-getter kind of mood, we decided to do 3 major things: Go to Early Intervention’s open house to see the teachers, go to one of our favorite restaurants down the street from Early Intervention (with the boys), and then drive by a prospective house and through some of the neighborhoods that we are thinking about buying into.
That’s a lot. We did it, but it was a lot.
Early Intervention (for Ursa Major’s speech therapy, which he no longer needs, but we are utilizing to help him get a good head start), was wonderful. There was food and craft and games, but most importantly, there was an absolutely wonderful musician by the name of Ken, who was absolutely positively rocking. Ursa Major danced, no joke, for at least 20 minutes straight while Ken was rocking out on his guitar. I’ve never seen him so happy, and having so much fun with other children (even at playgroup!). There was a particularly great moment, when Ken let all of the kids show off their individual dances and then copied them–I’m going to admit it, I cried when everyone else was doing the “[Ursa Major] Dance.” Wonderful. I’m looking forward to, hopefully, hiring Ken for some personal events in the future (and if you live in the Boston area, you should too!!!). I knew I was happy watching my son dance and play on Saturday, but I think that was one of my first big prideful, unabashedly joyful moments as a mother. It was the kind of feeling I got when he first entered the world–it’s overwhelming. I have been trying to reconnect with that feeling for the last few days, just to savor it for a long as possible.
So, of course, we took our tired and danced out toddler to the pizza joint down the street. My husband and I haven’t been to a restaurant in ages, and this was our chance, our chance to have a good time and have some one else make the food and have someone else do the dishes. OH JOY!!! Well. Ursa Major didn’t want to wait for the pizza to cool down. Ursa Minor wanted to slam the plates on the table. The Husband got a fancy pizza (Meatball pizza? Really, Husband?), which Ursa Major wasn’t interested in eating (because the toddler’s pallet is…how do I say it? Simplistic in nature.). I got a fabulously garlicy spinach/tomato/chicken pasta bowl that was outstanding, except that I couldn’t enjoy it, because I was policing my toddler and infant. Why, oh why did we decide to do this? And, of course, when we got there, there was no one really at the place (it was 11:30), but by the time we left (12:15), the place was poppin’, so it took forever for our very young (and classically handsome) waiter to bring us our check so that our squirmy and cranky and sleepy babies could get in the car and go to sleep. That 45 minutes cost us $40 and a headache. Awesome.
(….couldn’t channel any of my earlier joy right then….)
Driving through the two towns that we would like to move to was, in a word, depressing. Deflating? Soul crushing? Yeah, any of those will do. It doesn’t help that it is late winter and everything is really ugly. We have to try this again in the Spring when everything is a little bit more hopeful and bright. We concluded that we can do this, that we’ll find a home that is right for us, that we are looking for a starter home, not our forever home, and that we need to dream with a little more practicality. Not uplifting, but at least it allows us to keep moving in the right direction. I’m trying not to become so overwhelmed by this process that I become paralyzed. I do feel, however, like we have no idea what we’re doing.
Hopefully I’ll have good preschool news by Wednesday.