Today’s forecast is for 87 degrees. It is currently 87% humidity. You have got to be fucking kidding me. It has been excruciatingly hot for, like, all of my pregnancy. This is incredibly unfair. Do you know how hot it is on the subway platform when it’s close to 90 on the street? I am furious.
Of course, these incredibly ridiculous temperatures mean that I will not, as I had planned, be going to drop Lucy off at school this morning. Let me backtrack for a moment and give a little bird’s eye view of how pre-K has been progressing.
Week 1: we receive list of things to send in on first day of school over the summer. I am my usual meticulous self and prepare these in advance. They are as follows: one canvas bag with blanket and shoebox with complete change of clothes, all marked clearly with child’s name. This is the sum of the instructions, and so Lucy is sent off to school with a canvas bag holding a blanket and also the shoebox with a complete change of clothes, name marked on the tag of each article except for socks, on which her name is written on the sole of each sock. I settle in to await furniture deliver. C returns with the shoebox of clothes and canvas bag. The shoebox is the wrong size (adult instead of child’s) and the clothes have, written directly on the fabric in orange marker, my child’s name. Ok, whatever, I’m not thrilled that her clothes have been basically ruined when they already had her name on them but I purposefully sent crap clothes anyway. The shoebox, well, I suppose I should’ve known they meant child-size and not adult but still, it would have been nice had they specified. I’m smarting a little from feelings of inadequacy over sending the wrong stuff, but it’s early, everything will be ok. Day 2, C drops her off with the canvas bag again, which is sent home, and is notified that Lucy should be carrying a backpack. Fine, we have one of those too, which I would’ve sent her with that morning had we been told The Day Before or, better yet, over the summer when we were initially told what the students would need. We do not send in the canvas bag again on Friday because it was sent home in the first place. Lucy’s blanket comes home in a plastic bag with her name written on it. No further instructions.
Week 2: We send blanket back in plastic bag because, my crystal ball being broken, I assume this is the actual procedure. Blanket comes home on Friday in same plastic bag. Likewise, I send Lucy’s lunch in 2, incredibly easy to open containers that she has little trouble with at home. We receive back a letter stating that she may not bring them in anymore because she cannot open them without assistance. Fume, fume, buy Ziploc bags to avoid confrontation. Instruct child to bring them home at end of day so I may wash them. This happens about 10% of the time.
Week 3: Blanket goes to school in same bag again. Comes home in same bag. We think we’ve mastered the blanket drill.
Week 4: Blanket returns to school in plastic bag. C is informed that we need to send in canvas bag. Friday comes around and I tuck a canvas bag into the backpack. Blanket comes home in a paper bag. I am baffled.
Week 5: Which brings us to this week. On Monday I send in an entirely different canvas bag, Lucy’s swim bag in fact, which she lovingly painted. This bag did not come home. Curious. On Tuesday, I go with C to pick Lucy up and we are informed that she has extra homework because ‘somehow her homework book went home with someone else last week.’ Ahhhhh, this one can’t be pinned on me, can it? Wednesday we send in check for Lucy’s gym class and C is informed that her field trip money is due as well. Well, according to the sheet sent home, it is not in fact due until the 10th. ‘I don’t argue with Ms. C,’ sayeth my husband. In addition, on Wednesday I send Lucy’s lunch in brand new Laptop Lunchbox. I must not only test her on her ability to open said lunch kit but also must explain that her school will not allow her to continue to carry it if she cannot get it open on her own so to be sure not to make it seem harder to open than it is. So far no letters, but we’ll see how today goes. She seems to think that if she’s having a hard time, she can just raise her hand for help. I marvel at the innocence of youth.
Which brings us to today. I kept Lucy home yesterday due to a spate of coughing coupled with a truly horrible night’s sleep so I was unable to take in the check for said field trip. Unfortunately, I am precluded by the humidity level (read: I damn near pass out on the subway platform when it’s this humid. Every single time) from accompanying my beloveds this morning, something I was greatly looking forward to since I have no problem whatsoever arguing with Ms. C, especially when it comes down to compliance with rules that may affect my child. I sent in the check with a copy of the original trip notice just in case, though I will certainly make that trip to the school should there be any issue with Lucy going on this trip.
I have never in my entire life had so much trouble with something like this. I handled financial reporting on a multi-million dollar government grant without compliance issues, for crap’s sake. I cannot even fathom that my kid’s preschool has rules so arcane that I can’t figure them out. Seriously, I’ve gone from feeling chastised, to feeling picked on, to feeling like I’m dealing with idiots, to wondering if I can take so many more months of this.
I’m not thrilled about the homework thing either, but so far Lucy doesn’t seem to resent having homework so I’m leaving it alone. I know it’s supposed to be so good for kids to get this introduction to school and whatnot, and Lucy really loves going to school, but I can’t help but feel like this entire situation is more about rules and figuring out how to follow them than my child having an opportunity to experience formal learning while meeting new kids. I’m simply not sold on the necessity of pre-K for children. It’s great to have time to get stuff done without interruption (beyond great, actually. I don’t know how I’d survive without it anymore) but I don’t know what we’re really getting out of the experience. I’m not convinced that Lucy hasn’t learned just as much with C and me. I guess this is what school is about nowadays, and we have to either homeschool or do our best to supplement with creative and experiential learning when we can. It just seems so…honestly, I can’t get my head around homework twice a week for 4 year olds. It seems like, well, here we are trying to get Lucy ready to help out for when the baby gets here, encouraging her to become more independent and realize how many things she can do on her own. And then she goes to school, which reinforces these ideas. And then she gets home and has homework, and then clean-up time, and then dinner and then bed. And that’s it. There’s no time for kid stuff, and it has to be hard to have all of this growing up happening at one time. It’s a real adjustment for me, and I’m 34. I can’t imagine how tough it must be for a 4 year old to go through so many changes in the course of a year. I guess one could argue that we could’ve started her at preschool earlier and gone through some of the changes then, but I just don’t know. I don’t think we’d have started her in pre-K if she wasn’t only a few months away from turning 5. I certainly don’t think I’ll be in any bigger of a rush to start Baby X in preschool earlier either.
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