Pre-School Crunch Time

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Its January, so for moms of two year old children across my neighborhood in Brooklyn this means that the pre-school applications are due by the end of the month to snag a seat in September.

AGHHHH!!!!!

I am so frustrated by the entire process and the cost that is attached to it in high application fees (up to $100 to apply for limited spots) that I am only planning to apply to three schools. Some moms on my block may tell me that I have lost my mind. The general consensus is to apply to around ten schools. This is to secure a seat in at least one and get on a wait list for others.

This all sounds like Ale is applying for college. There are even pre-schools with early admissions processes!! Its insane. I fell into the peer pressure from other moms in my daycare to take our children out at three years old and send them off to a preschool by September. Its insane because at the end of the day all of the programs are play based with a bit more structure than Ale is getting now. I am continuously questioning if this is all worth it. I know for sure that I want Ale to attend a pre-K program to get ready for kindergarten but I wonder how important pre-school is for the “academic” growth of a three year old child.

When I attend preschool open houses there are parents that ask a myriad of questions- regarding the school, how they will decipline their little angel, if the food that is served is organic, and how potty training is handled. If you’ve seen one fancy daycare you have seen them all. They all offer, Spanish, yoga, and organic hot dogs. I just want to know how much I have to pay a month and when are the drop off and pick up times. If the cost and the times do not follow our working parent schedules then I walk out the door. Simple as that.

My fear is that since it looks like all of Ale’s friends will be leaving the current daycare in September he will be the big kid surrounded by 18 month olds. Perhaps I should succumb to the peer pressure simply because these are the “norms” here, and Ale has the potential to be left behind socially.

Maybe our new Mayor Bill de Blasio will indeed institute universal pre-k in time for Ale when he is four years old if I just hold out a bit longer. Can I take that chance?

Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt:
Monday, January 6, 2014
Tell us about a time you bent to peer pressure.
BlogHer NaBloPoMo

Related post:
Pre-Schools Don’t Like Working Families

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NaBloPoMo: 1/01/14 AM Rush

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It’s a new year so I’m going to challenge my blogging self and (hopefully) take part daily in this month’s NaBloPoMo. Yay! Go me!

On to the first installment!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Do you work well under pressure?

It’s 7am. Ale is awake and asking for Caillou and water. I’m looking at the clock and want more time in bed. Ale must be at the daycare at 8. The race begins. My heart is pounding. Getting ready in the morning under time restrains with a toddler is my high pressure moment and I don’t do well. At work as a nurse my patient can crash but this is when my “on”switch flips. I’m ready. I pull through calm and composed. In the morning on the way to daycare I’m riled up and sweating.

It’s the rush. Did Ale eat enough? Why did he not eat his Cheerios? Should I forgo a shower? Ale, hold on. Mama is washing her hair. Great, now you are soaked. What will I put on? Where is my coffee? Ale, let’s change your diaper and get dressed. No. No more Dora. Let’s wash your hands. Ale, come let’s put on your shoes. Where are Ale’s socks? Ok here is your coat. Where is your hat? What’s that smell? Ale, did you poop? Let’s change your diaper again. Quick, get in the stroller! Wait, I left my phone in the kitchen. Oh, there’s my coffee. Ok, stroller and out the door we go! No, I don’t have your firetruck. Here we are! Go play with your friends. See you later!

I need a nap.

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Tuesday’s With Ale: Baking!

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This Thursday is Ale’s 2nd birthday! Yes I have a Halloween baby. I now have a lifetime of Halloween parties to attend and plan.

Last year for Ale’s 1st birthday we did not really do anything special. This year he is more aware and loves cupcakes so I decided to go all out. We are going to to have a spooky birthday bash for my little guy.

The event will be in two phases. Halloween – the day of his birthday he will bring cupcakes to his daycare to eat with everyone during snack time. Then in the evening we will head out and enjoy the Halloween parade in our neighborhood. After the parade we will go home and eat more cupcakes with Ale so he can blow out his candles. The next phase of Ale’s super Halloween birthday will be over the weekend. Twenty of Ale’s and our friends will come to his birthday party to celebrate with him and eat yet even more cupcakes.

Needless to say I have a lot of baking to do! So this Tuesday with Ale we went to the park then hit the grocery store for supplies. When we came home Ale happily watched Dora the Explorer while I started my baking marathon. I made thirty cupcakes. The next round will be on Saturday.

Last night Ale tried one. He could not resist the chocolate and rainbow sprinkle frosting temptation. He took a bite and said, “Yum! Cupcake!”. The boy who lives off of air, kisses and spaghetti ate it all. He even asked for another. It looks like he approves of the cupcakes.

NO CUPCAKES!

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Sunday was a beautiful day in New York City. The temp was in the low 80s and no humidity. We spent the afternoon in our patio playing and splashing in the kiddy pool. My husband ended the evening with opening a container of chocolate ice cream. Alejandro’s eyes lit up. The baby who does not eat anything said “Yea! Yum yum cupcake!”. We gave him the ice cream and he just ate three spoonfuls. He never, never, ever over eats. In my mind he can have whatever he likes.

Later that day I made a comment to someone about how I knew that Ale’s equating the ice cream to cupcakes came directly from his daycare. I know that once Ale goes to daycare this is out of my hands. This person said that I must demand the daycare to not allow Ale to eat any sweets there at all. I think this approach is extreme.

If there is a birthday party at daycare should I exclude my little boy from the festivities which usually involves cupcakes? Really? What harm does this have? As long as he knows this is a special occasion and his diet does not revolve around cupcakes.

I guess I believe in moderation. I feel that if I don’t expose him to some sweets he will later go off and binge on these unhealthy foods. A spoonful of ice cream here and there and an occasional cupcake won’t put him over the edge.

Am I too liberal???

Mama’s, what do you do with sweets?

Let Me Introduce You To Grandma

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Last Monday on the way to Ale’s daycare I told him that I was picking him up early. Grandma was coming to visit! To my surprise he said “grandma” over and over for the very first time. There he was in his stroller saying “grandma”. It was like he enjoyed the way the word rolled off his tongue and out of his mouth.

At 4pm sharp Grandma and I entered the daycare to pick up Ale. Ale sees us from the back of the play space and comes running towards us. This time he does not run to me, he runs to Grandma. He then turns to his favorite teacher and points to my mom and shouts “Grandma! Grandma!”.

Later that evening at home when Papa came home Ale introduced Grandma to him. He went up to Papa and pointed to my mom on the sofa and said “Grandma!”.

Needless to say, Ale made Grandma more than happy. She is always afraid that Ale will not remember her as they see each other only once or twice a month. Ale proved to her that she is much loved as “Grandma” made it into his list of important first words.

All My Earthly Possessions

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Within the last two weeks Ale has discovered that the toys that he has been playing with belong to him. He has possessions. The favorite items are of course, a fire truck, airplane, a blue truck, and three cars. All of these items must go everywhere with him. To bed, to the supermarket, to daycare and the park. To transport them they must all be in his arms and papa and I are the only ones who can carry them when a car rolls out of his hands.

Ale is learning his place in the world around him and is seeking security. I think this discovery of the notion that things belong to him falls in line with his super clingy state with me. In the end I am ultimately another one of his positions that comfort him, has fun with and makes him feel safe.

I think I’m going to get him a backpack so he can carry his beloved vehicles with ease. It’s a shame I can’t fold myself up and and go along everywhere with him.

Doors and Rooms

I

At 6:15am I’m sitting at the dining table having my breakfast. Cereal, coffee and a banana. I hear Ale’s little feet hitting the floor running down the hall into the living room. He stops when he reaches the table. Ale climbs into my lap and I nuzzle his head. He smells of sleep and the almond soap from last nights bath. I drink in his smell filling up for the day.

He points to my coffee, “Hot, hot, hot”. He says in a whisper and giggles touching the lukewarm cup. “Ale,” I say, “do you want some of mama’s cereal?”. “Noooo!” He opens his mouth anyway and I give him a spoonful.

I glance at the clock, 6:30am. I have to go to work. My husband comes down the hall in pajamas, his eyes are still heavy. I put Ale down on the sofa and give him a kiss on his forehead. My husband sits with him and shows him a picture book of trucks. I grab my coat and bag and I slip out the front door.

II

I enter at the hospital where I work as a labor and delivery nurse at 7am through the revolving doors. The elevator in the back lobby takes me up to the sixth floor. At the nurses station they are having the change of shift staff meeting. I get my assignment – Room 5 and Room 9.

Throughout the day I walk in and out of these rooms. Each one is a world in itself. I have been in each room hundreds of times but the rooms come alive with the presence of the patients, their families and their belongings.

The rooms can transform into fragrant gardens filled with flowers and bright light with the window shades up. A hippy mama sanctuary with quiet reggae music playing in the background, and the scent of massage oil thick in the air while the expectant mom bounces on a birthing ball. The rooms can sadly become somber and dark yet full of love when there is a fetal demise.

At 5:27pm my patient in Room 9 gives birth to a baby girl. After the delivery I escape into the privacy of the supply room to check my phone. I hope to find a photo or video of Ale from my husband with an update on his day at daycare. A photo of him playing in the sandbox greets me. I smile, reach for a bag of IV fluid and run back into Room 9.

III

It’s 8:45pm by the time I re-enter my home. As I walk through the door I hear basketball on TV and smell the roasted chicken and potatoes my husband made for us for dinner. Ale is asleep. Like always I want to go and wake him. Instead I kiss his head and wait for the morning to come again.

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This is my extremely loose interpretation of the Weekly Writing Challenge : Through the Door

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/writing-challenge-door/#more-23690