Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jumping through hoops

This is a post all about my kids, so skip ahead if you're just here for triathlon. Yesterday I had a final pre-admission meeting at the schools today to see about getting entry for my daughters Catherine and Elisabeth to therapeutic preschool.

Catherine isn't eligible! She tested out, at a 30-36 month age level in most areas, and up to a 4-year-old level in some skills. Which is ultimately very, very, very good news for a 28-week, 2-pound-4-ounce preemie to come through it all essentially unscathed, except needing glasses. (You should have seen her on the playground yesterday - she attracted a whole circle of older girls around her, fawning over her and trying to adopt her as their pet.)

Elisabeth is going to have 2.5 hours of preschool 5 days per week, 1 PM to 3:30 PM each weekday afternoon. Out of that she will be pulled out for an hour of Occupational Therapy and 2 hours of Speech Therapy every week.

The admissions process has been awful - OVER THREE MONTHS time and paperwork and meetings and jumping through their hoops to establish official residency. We're still not certain if we are through those obstacles - according to the local tax collectors, my husband and I can't have different official residences unless we're legally separated. Oh, thanks a bunch, that's very helpful. Honestly, the process would be easier if we were divorced and had a custody agreement! Anyway, he has to change residency and file income tax in this state for Elisabeth to be eligible to enroll, and it's touch and go whether we will have all that paperwork completed on time to their satisfaction.

But I like the teachers and therapists very much, they seem genuinely interested in her and interact with her very well. So I think in the long run it will be a good thing for Elisabeth. I hope she likes it and benefits from it. On the playground today Elisabeth just stood back by herself and watched all the other kids and was quite shy, so I think it should do her a lot of good to be around other kids more.

My other "problem" will be figuring out what to do with Catherine during the 2.5 hours that Elisabeth is in school each day! The school is 11 miles away. We could drive home and drive back and have about 1:30 at home; we could go out in the jogstroller or on the bike with the kid-carrier; we could go together to the YMCA (but they have no child care during those hours, so I wouldn't get much of a workout, but we could play in the pool), we could shop; go to the library; maybe get a haircut occasionally; I don't know what else!! I had thought I might be able to put her in a highly-regarded preschool at a local church, and get a couple free hours in which to train, but they only have morning programs, which doesn't really help at all and would simply add another layer of running around. We'll see.

There's always the McDonald's playground, right?


21st Century Mom said...

The problem with the McDonald's playground is that your kid will be begging for a happy meal.

11 miles isn't that far. I vote drive home and play with playdoh or go for a run or a ride.

Good luck getting Elisabeth into the school.

Flatman said...

mmmm....french fries....

crazy tri mama said...

I totally sympathize with the whole situation; as a mom and as a therapist. Keep jumping the hoops and you won't need additional training time!

jbmmommy said...

I'm glad that Catherine did so well with the testing, us preemies may start out small- but we're tough. I'm sure both girls will enjoy their new experiences, school and therapy for Elisabeth will be so much fun, I'm sorry it's been so tough to get the help needed. I'm sure you and Catherine will find plenty of things to do, some days the drive home will be good and an occasional McDonald's trip is fun. Good luck!

soozey said...

Great news about school, I have a feeling it will work out and be a great experience for all of you! My 3 yr old twins just started preschool, it is an odd feeling to leave the school without them. It seems different than the Y nursery or a babysitter, like they really are growing up. Of course, we call them "the babies" (as in, "I'll take the babies to the store" or "Mom can I go have breakfast before the babies wake up") so we need to accept that they are now 3 years old...but it's hard! I enjoy your site so much...thanks.

stronger said...

As a twin I never had to play without my sister. I never felt the anxiety of entering school alone because my sister was always there- with me every step of the way. I didn't know any other way.

Will Catherine start to show more independence without her sister? Will she feel jealous of Elisabeth's extra mommy time? Will Elisabeth felt left behind?

I think it will be interesting to see how the girls react and adapt to being separated those few hours.

triathlonmom said...

I had a friend who "talked-up" her stronger twins DIS-ablilities so that they could both get resourses. That meant full-time preschool for both kids at one of the best schools in the city, for free. I guess it's too late for that now.
You'll have a blast with just Catherine. I vote for hanging out at the playground, until you find someone who lives nearby to have playdates with.

jeanne said...

i'm so glad elisabeth is going to get what she needs, but what a crappy time for a little one! and yes, all the mother's morning out programs are, um, in the morning!! i'd see if there were ANY preschool programs that have afternoon programs, but i already know there aren't. babysitter?

and yes, the process is a freakin' nightmare. i used to be one of the ones on the other side...we hated it too.