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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sickness, Day Eleven

We are heading into Day 11 of Sickness at Tonggu House and I'm feeling a bit twitchy.  The Tongginator is back at school after a week lying on the couch, watching The Food Network and House Hunters and listening to me nag her about drinking enough.  I swear this child is like a camel: she can go for days without drinking anything.  Which is quite useful during long car trips, but not so much when she's trying to recover from a nasty cold.

Today Squirt entered Day Three of her pajama fashion show.  And by this I mean I've carted her everywhere - the grocery store, the pharmacy, the Tongginator's school - wearing oh-so-stylish pjs. For example, this morning during our car ride to school she wore her jolly snowman pajamas topped with her Amber princess dress  and a pair of dinosaur slippers.  Thankfully we avoided drama this morning... and by drama I mean the type from momma... I guess all of those years parenting the "Princess-Butterfly-Rainbow-Girl Tongginator" taught me a few lessons.

 Pick. Your. Battles.

Squirt's got a phlegmy cough, which you'd think she'd be unhappy about, but my Introvert Of Huge Proportions is instead relieved that she doesn't have to go to school. I'm thinking this doesn't bode well for the high school years.  And no, she doesn't hate school. She doesn't love it either. Squirt is a child of consistency with inconsistent taste.  If that makes sense.

Rereading it, I'm thinking not.

But it makes sense if you know her, so I'm going with it.

This week the husband and I made some Big Decisions about Squirt's schooling for next year.  Right now she's at an in-home preschool that we love, Love, LOVE.  Ms. She-Ra truly is a Princess of Power.  She's done so much for our Squirt: her social-emotional growth has skyrocketed these past five months.  That's not to say that she's all caught up to her peers or anything, because she's not.  But she's closing the gap.  The delays are to be expected, I think, since she spent her first year in an orphanage and the next year in and out of hospitals and mostly under pediatrician-suggested quarantine. 

Squirt gets along well with her peers, but only when forced to interact with them.

Kinda like her momma.


Next year we're sending Squirt to a different school though.  We think she'll need a larger class size to prepare her for the shock of kindergarten.  Ms. She-Ra only teaches eight students at a time, and the husband and I feel that going from that to 20 children in a class might be a bit overwhelming.  So next year she's heading to a local preschool/ daycare center three mornings a week.  She'll even be able to eat lunch at the school, which the husband and I are very happy about.  I really want her to "practice" keeping herself safe while the teachers look on, rather than dumping her in a cafeteria with 100+ five-year-olds and little supervision.

The things we mommas of food allergy kids worry about.

I've spent a bit more time thinking about Squirt's preschool situation than I did for the Tongginator, mostly because I learned from some mistakes.  It's not that I regret our choices... because I truly didn't have much of a choice.  Well, I guess I did, but I wouldn't have felt good about it.  For those of you who don't know... I chose the Tongginator's preschool for its diversity, yes, but mostly because that's where Rosie sent her kids.  And she needed help with transportation.  But it was in the next town, which didn't bother me at the time, but it did once the Tongginator hit kindergarten.  Because all of these children had buddies - close friends - they'd been to preschool with, and the Tongginator knew No One.

It stunk.

So this time around we picked a local preschool, where Squirt is more likely to meet other children she'll later go to school with.  It's not as diverse as the Tongginator's old preschool, but it does have some diversity. There are so many factors to these things, a momma can make herself crazy thinking about it if she's the obsessive type.

Not that I would know anything about that.


How did y'all pick your child's preschool?  What clinched it for you?


Tricia said...

With my oldest, I went w what was available simply bc we lived in a state where pre-K was MANDATORY and I didn't know that until August because we had just moved to that state so I was left scrambling at the last minute to find a pre-K for her to attend. Thankfully, the one with openings was also one of the best preschools ever. I got a job there to make things easier.

With my youngest, she was in daycare where I worked from the age of 2, but in that state she didn't meet the cut-off for pre-K so we were waiting. With her autism, she wasn't responding well to a preschool class with 30 kids so I pulled her out and put her in an in home daycare even though I worked at a different daycare - adding TWO HOURS to my drive time each morning and evening! YUCK! Then we moved that August and she made the age cut-off for K in the new state. What a shock to both of us... She struggled but adapted.

K and/or K said...

First, welcome back!!! I've missed your posts, which coincidentally stopped right when I finally became a mama!

Well, our girl is now 4 and we are looking at pre-k for fall. I've been home with her for the 2 years she's been with us, just soaking up all the time I can, and making up for the lost time.

We have a 15% of getting into our city's free pre-k (Montessori and majority is Asian) with is 5 half days a week and just sounds like TOO MUCH for her. BUT, it would acclimate her to her kindergarten building and the continuity is PRICELESS for my girl who doesn't transition well. So our plan B is a little catholic school that just felt so quaint and safe and small town (in the midst of our big city) and the bonus is it is across the street from the future kindergarten so the proximity will be familiar.

It's so hard for me to let go! Wishing I could freeze time!

:-) kelly in the saint paul

prechrswife said...

We researched some local preschools, put our name on the waiting list for the one that was known as the "best in town," emailed one that we never heard from at all, then did a drop in visit to a new school in the area. When we went in for that drop-in visit, we instantly just knew this was the place. MJ started there, and since then so did K and M is now in his 2nd year there. Also, since then, the school is now a fully functional private Christian school, so all of our kids are attending there and I am teaching there.

scooping it up said...

I've never found a pre school that could support my kids the way I wanted. I am so freaking picky and uptight and admitedly, a bit fearful. Also, where I live, some preschools cost $8000 a year or more. Please friends. 3 year olds need bubbles, puzzles, coloring and a nap with gentle teachers who understand sensory needs and special needs in some circumstances. That price tag has always been prohibitive for me. I'd rather spend it on therapy.

Casa Bicicleta said...

Funny you should ask that TM....I was not even thinking about pre-school when a friend of mine told me her DD (about the same age as my DD and also adopted from China) was having difficulty bring dropped off at pre-school every morning and she asked if I would send my DD there to help out. You know, the idea being she'd have a friend along and it would go smoother.
Coincidentally we had just had her evaluated for speech delays and though she didn't qualify for intervention, they told us she needed more peer interaction. So I signed her up.

Funny thing? Her friend dropped out anyway. she really couldn't separate from Mom and Dad. My DD went there right up til kindergarten and loved it.

Sheri said...

It was always daycare - not pre-school - for us, as I'm a single parent. A truly tough decision, but one I was very happy with, overall. They both attended the same daycare from shortly after arrival home from China all the way through Transitional Kindergarten. Kindergarten was in a different county, at a private school, where they knew no one. They've both done FANTASTIC. Alas, sixth grade is fast approaching, and I'm in the last stages of interviewing middle/high schools. I did not once consider the friends they made in daycare - which had kids from at least 6 different counties in attendance - altho we're still in touch with a few of them. Kids' tastes and interests will change radically. Playdates help keep in touch, if they wish (seriously: how many people from your pre-K days are you in touch with today?). The key things I most wanted and searched long and hard for: a solid education, racial diversity, a second language from day one, strong STEM program, music (e.g. training on an instrument from a young age), SECURITY (including no bullying or racial targeting), and faith-based. Episcopalian school has worked out splendidly for us; I can't say enough good things about their school. Not that it's perfect - but I drive away and leave them there without a second thought. We lasted only two weeks in public school - and I was a basket case the entire time.

The Gang's Momma! said...

Do you REMEMBER the angst I had over this issue with Li'l Empress? OY VEY! But what finally clinched it for me was that it was CLOSE, run by and at the local Easter Seals facility (so it also had a good diverse mix of demographics and needs), AFFORDABLE, and offered a low-risk opportunity for Li'l E to learn how to "cope" with her hearing loss issues in a classroom setting AND get services there (speech and hearing) without adding MORE to our calendar. We started with 2 mornings a week at 3 y.o. and the next year, did the MWF morning thing to prep for kindergarten.

In retrospect, it was so good for her and for her confidence in self-advocacy (I'm thinking of Squirt's self-safety) and it was FUN! Bubbles, fingerpaints, and all kinds of other fun and messy stuff that I'd NEVER have done with her here at home. HECK, even window crayons are a stretch for this mess-disliking momma.

Mahmee said...

We initially tried a preschool near our home when Sparkly was three. It was more of a daycare but, our goal with preschool was to help Sparkly learn that spending some time away from me a couple of days a week would be OK and end well. We ended up pulling her after a couple of months due to issues with another child there who was aggressive and regularly hurt the other kids. So, that completely backfired.
Then, we were referred to a preschool that my physician utilized (which happened to be in a very diverse area). It was a great program with an emergent and constructivist curriculum that seemed to scream Sparkly's name. For me, it was more about a school that could address her individual needs and had sensitivity to the emotional issues adopted children deal with. It wasn't so much about the area being diverse.
It took us another school year to get in and it was a half hour drive each way but well worth it. I volunteered in class each week to help her with the transition. I kept in touch with some of the families of her preschool classmates and organized play dates after they had all graduated to help bridge that gap to kindergarten (at a school where she knew no one). She's still good friends with one of the children she met in preschool...4 years later. I volunteered regularly in her kindergarten class which helped her through the newness of that. I'm happy I was able to have the opportunity to do those things. She still struggles with separation and change. And...I'm still volunteering to help her through it! :-)

Lisa researching adoption said...

Poor kid! I hope she's feeling all better now. All day pajama fashion shows are my favorite!