Sunday, April 3, 2016

Playing Chess

I still haven't sorted out the financial piece regarding the preschool.  The school's been closed for spring break, so I'm hoping to get that squared away tomorrow.  They sent me reams of paperwork, which I need to sit down and complete before tomorrow.  Unfortunately, although I haven't worked in a week, I also have not accomplished anything--we have been the house of sick:  both kids were terribly ill this week, one with a random virus and the other with the flu.  It's been exhausting, and I haven't slept through the night in forever.

On the bright side, SB, who has been in pull-ups at night for the last year, up and decided she was too big to wear them any more.  I was worried, because she had woken up dry exactly never.  I mean, NEVER.  But she insisted she could do it, so I let her try, and. . .she's woken up dry for the last 4 nights in a row.  I am amazed.  It literally was like she just had to put her mind to it.  We've limited liquids after dinner, but otherwise made no changes.  It's pretty remarkable to think that she could do it if she just tried hard enough.  I totally thought it was developmental.  Huh.

And now on to the core subject of this post (the rambling is due to the sleep deprivation):  We just received our school lottery results for next year.  We did fairly poorly this year.  Last year we had really good lottery numbers and got into a couple of schools, but this year, not so much.  It's not even just that we didn't get in anywhere; we also have high lottery numbers on the wait lists, unlike last year.  In other words, there is little hope we'll get in anywhere decent.  Now we have to make hard choices.  Miss M could continue at the current bilingual school, but I've lost all faith in the administration after our experiences with SB.  Plus, it's been a weird year socially for Miss M.  Part of it is that her class is boy-heavy, and she'd been in an all-girls school before this.  She is bothered by how "poorly behaved" the boys are.  I say it with quotes, because I think from her description that the boys are acting like normal 5-6 year old boys, and she just doesn't know what that's like.  But she finds it distracting.  Plus, she's. . .I don't know how to say it. . .Mature? for her age?  She's a kid who's lived on three continents and had a wide array of life experiences that have given her an unusual perspective for a six year old.  I didn't think that would matter in kindergarten, but I think I was wrong.

But anyway, we didn't get into another bilingual school.  To be fair, I only lotteried for a few really great schools that I thought we'd leave our current school for, because the lottery stuff was all due before all of this stuff happened with SB.  At that point, I thought we could make it through the year.  The teacher she'd have next year is pretty amazing.  Sigh.  The only realistic option is for us to enroll Miss M in our local school that we have a right to attend (it's a very good school, but not bilingual, and it's overcrowded).  SB will likely get a spot there, as well, because they give siblings preference.

There are two flies in this ointment:  One, it means we would pull both of them from bilingual school.  They both have great Spanish, and multiple teachers at the school (not SB's, obviously, but others who know them both and know that we've been thinking about leaving) have implored us to ensure they stay in bilingual schools.  And two, in order to ensure that SB gets a spot anywhere at all in public preschool, we'd have to ensure that Miss M actually attends our local school.  SB only gets the preference if Miss M actually attends.

Although I'm not holding out much hope that Miss M or SB will get into a bilingual school from a wait list, we applied to one private bilinguals school for Miss M when it became clear that socially her current school was a weird fit.  This private school is very expensive, and we would need some grace for it to all work out there, but it's really a perfect school for her.  It really felt like her tribe.  She was wait listed, but after she was wait listed, the director set up an appointment with us, and told us how much they liked her, and that if a spot opened up, it is almost certainly hers.  They had no available spaces this year, but know that one of their current students may be leaving.  They won't know for sure for another couple of months, though.  They've told us what a "leader" they feel she is, and encouraged us to "hang in there" and wait for them.  There is the slimmest of chances that the planets will align for this to happen, but if it did, SB would lose her spot at our most realistic public preschool slot.  There is also the slimmest of chances that Miss M could get into a good public school bilingual program, and the most likely scenario with those would be that even sibling preference would not help SB, because competition for those schools is so fierce.

If either of those last scenarios were to happen, we'd have two options for SB:  hold out for one of the schools where we are wait listed, or go private.  As much as I'd love to, we can't swing two private school tuitions.  It would be $60,000 or so for one year, and that's just not in the cards.  As for the schools where we are wait listed, for SB our most promising options are unfortunately Montessori.  I like Montessori, but I don't think it's the right program for SB.  I applied because. . .well, some less than ideal options are better than no options.  The schools do Montessori well, but my concern is that SB needs external structure.  Internally, she doesn't have a whole lot of self-discipline.  I think it would probably be a disaster, and this really needs to be a year where she grows in a lot of ways.

It's so hard to know.  SB did very well at her preschool in South America.  It's hard to know how much of what we are experiencing is her age, how much of it is her personality/inflexibility, how much of it is how she's been treated while at school and how she has internalized that, how much of it is how we are parenting her at home. . .but we are in a hard space.  She is really down on herself, and I feel like we have to put an end to this negative spiral and get her back to a positive place.  That's going to be key.

So we are moving the pieces around the board, trying to figure out the best way forward.  So far, I don't like any of our moves.

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