Monday, June 11, 2007

Planning for School

My daughter was finally accepted into the school of our choice (yeah!). Boy, no one prepares you for the stress of figuring out the best school for your child, and then how to get your child into that school. At a time when most parents are just trying to survive sleepless nights, the reality is they should be looking at the various school and child care options available at least a year in advance.

And then we have the added diversity issues: how does the school handle gay families, holidays, and children of color (our daughter is hispanic/native american)? One supposedly great private school in our area of town fell all over itself being proud of all the gay families it had. They didn't have much to say when we asked about how many children of color they had (the pictures in the classrooms were almost all white kids). Our daughter already has 2 white moms, we know we have a responsibility to expose her to a lot of diversity--starting with where she goes to school.

Our family missed out on the first go-round of getting little Maggie into a Montessori program, so we ended up waiting almost a year later until we got her in. Of course, I believe we were supposed to miss out on that first opportunity so she can end up where we now want her in school.

In that year where we missed getting Maggie into a Montessori program, I went around to a couple of the nicer-looking childcare facilities to see what they were like. 3 facilities later, I was horrified by what I saw. Kids terrified of the "teachers." One place was feeding 5-6 kids in a circle with the same spoon and bowl for all the children. Nope, I wasn't ready for that, so another year of nanny help was in order (whether we could afford it or not).

What started as a plan for let's keep Maggie home for one year and then find some type of childcare program, quickly turned into 2 1/2 years (not in the budget).

It's scary as a parent to turn your child over to others for care. You don't hear many people talk about it.

So, off to School Round 2:
I have to say, going through the interviews, school tours, the pressure to make decisions about various schools, and what feels like a major life decision, has added gray hair to my already graying head. This was definitely much harder and more stressful than my own college admission process.

I know many of you probably think I just need to lighten up. I can't. It's our only child, and we want the best for her, and I hope somehow we deliver her the best we can provide. This parenting stuff is hard, folks.

The message here: if you are new with a baby, or thinking of baby, also start slowly thinking out your childcare and school plan.

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