Category Archives: school

And, I repeat: WTF?

By now, perhaps you have heard that Michael Jackson died.  If you have not, I would like to know what rock you have been under and whether there is any room there for me.

Los Angeles, the city that for better or worse I currently call home, is hosting a memorial service for the King of Pop today.  People have been going slightly insane trying to score tickets for this thing, which is expected to draw a hell of a lot more people than will fit into the Staples Center.  There are overflow plans and there are security plans, the second of which will be funded by the City of Los Angeles.

Now, I couldn’t give two craps and a hula hoop about Jackson when he was alive, other than to be sad at what a talented child turned into, but I’ll tell you what I do care about.  The Los Angeles Unified School District.  And the Fire Department.  And the Police Department.  And [insert here any one of numerous public services funded by my tax dollars].

Los Angeles, along with the rest of the State of California, is completely broke.  Bankrupt.  Belly-up, busted, in the red, and gone to the wall.  The city is struggling, cutting back on essential services, and raining pink slips on teachers like confetti.  And we’re paying for the fucking security at a memorial service for a singer?

Once again, Los Angeles proves it knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Here’s another blogger on this topic.

Because I know you really want to know

            Since I know you are all waiting with bated breath to learn the results of our preschool search, I bring you the following PSA.  J has been on the ground in LA for a week now, and he has ferreted out a preschool.  Actually, I ferreted several out and lined up appointments for him, neatly spaced in one-and-a-half-hour slots with an extra half-hour for lunch.  There were a few that had spaces available, and after careful consideration, we have chosen one and we have put down a deposit.

            It is a synagogue preschool, which means no more Christmas plays or Easter hat parades, although I have a sneaking suspicion I will be attending a Purim carnival or two.  That suits me just fine; if the kids are going to be learning about a religion, I vote for it to be ours. 

            The director impressed us with her concern for children’s developmental level and her understanding that children do not all fit a single mold.  Zachary will start the week we move.  Twice a week, Benjamin will be in a transitional class, which means I need to be there, too, even though I am pretty sure he won’t notice my presence if there are toys and other children around.

So, you can all rest easy tonight, knowing all we have left to sort out is housing, transportation, and sunscreen.

            Every now and then, I get tagged for memes.  I want to comply, really I do.  I am a rule-follower by nature.  But, I never seem to like the posts I put together out of memes.  So, if you have tagged me and I have not come through, please do not curse me with seven-years bad luck and please forgive me.

            I do, however, make a point to acknowledge all the kindness I am shown here on the internet.  Sheila, over at My Memories, has given me this lovely piece of bling:

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It is really a wonderful award because it goes out to “the blogs that you’ve discovered that you can’t possibly live without. They make you laugh, cry, think and feel connected every time you read a post. They give you a thrill as you see them loading into your browser and you get an equally satisfying thrill when you see that they have commented on your blog.”  It originates over here, and recipients are to go and link to those they are giving the award to.  Thank you so very much, Sheila, for passing on an award you so richly deserved.

            Now, for the fun part.  I decided I had to limit it to two blogs, but I read about 100.  It was tough going, but I chose two blogs to which I really am addicted, to the point that I shove all other posts out of the way when I see them come up in my Google Reader:

            Flutter, because you are honest and raw but still snarky;

            And Becky, at Mommy Wants Vodka, because I think I have a crush on your snarkiness.

            Does anybody notice a trend, here?

            You may notice that, now and again, I get these awards, but I never pass them along to Julie.  This is odd, you may think, as I clearly read her blog every day and engage with it on a rather intense level, not to mention my joy every time I get one of her very thoughtful comments.  The problem is, none of these awards ever seen to sum up the way I feel about Julie’s blog.  I could invent one of my own, but we all know how technologically adept I am.  So, to Julie I award the first (and perhaps only) “People who say you are thinking too much are clearly not thinking enough” award.  And, Julie?  If you can figure out a way to fit that on a button, please feel free to pass it along.

             That’s it. Back tomorrow with weight and substance and all the good, dark stuff you have come to dread expect at this here blog.

Schooled

            It wasn’t the first time I had heard it.  It wasn’t the twelfth time I had heard it.  I have heard it so much over the last week that it runs like a cartoon jingle through my mind while I wash the dishes and unexpectedly pops out of my mouth when my husband and I are discussing Nietzsche over a glass of port after the kids are in bed.*  I recite it like a mantra twenty times while brushing my teeth, although I do suspect it has the opposite effect of an actual mantra.

            Because I know it is true, I start making calls at 5 PM, which is surely not the ideal time to try to have a phone conversation around my house, but since Los Angeles is eight hours behind us… well, you do the math.  I spend every spare minute during the day on the computer: researching preschools, sending emails, and creating a spreadsheet of relevant information and actions taken.  I make note of places to call once they are open for business, and I call while the children are injuring entertaining one another, later while J is bathing them, and even later, long after I ought to be in bed. 

Because we know it is true, we have expanded our search to include neighborhoods we otherwise would not be considering.  J wants to limit his commute.  I want fresh air, mostly because we have kind of a lousy track record with lung disease in my family.  (For the record, I think when your non-smoking mother dies of lung cancer in her thirties, you get a free pass on neuroses about air quality.)  But, we also know the kids need to get into a preschool, and we know how tight that market is in Los Angeles.

So do the schools, which is why I have heard it before.  And probably will again.  Yet, something about the way she said it this time, something about her admonishing tone, well, it kinda rubbed me the wrong way.

            “You’re going to have a really hard time finding any place that has room for a four-year-old.”  Really?  Is that so?  Oh, I hadn’t realized that.  Now, of course, I am aware, and will act accordingly.  If you could just tell me what exactly I ought to do to act accordingly.

            I know, I know: I was completely negligent.  I should have signed the child up for your preschool when he was still just a gleam in my reproductive endocrinologist’s eye.  Unfortunately, that was three houses, two states, and a country or two ago.  I had no idea I would be moving to LA.  And, your tone of voice has made crystal clear to me just what you think of parents who fail to enroll their children in preschool until they have a vague sense of where they will be living.  But, now that I have been properly chastised, what precisely would you suggest I do?

            Shall we stay in London, permanent expats held captive by the competitive preschool market?  Or perhaps go to Philadelphia, as originally planned, despite the fact that J has already told the company we will move?  Or, perhaps I should pack Zachary up and send him off to college, since I think UCLA is still accepting applications.

            Now, other schools I have spoken to have been apologetic.  Or, they have tried to be helpful.  Or, sympathetic.  Or, at the very least, they have restrained themselves from passing judgment, perhaps understanding that it is not Zachary’s fault his mother failed to foresee this move in 2003.  A few schools have even told us that there are spots and that J can come visit the school when he is in LA in a few weeks.  We have no idea what these schools are like, so I keep calling, trying to maximize his school-visiting efficiency by determining which schools may have spots, and that is why I found myself on the phone with the Judge Judy of the preschool world, who informed me, “You’re going to have a really hard time finding any place that has room for a four-year-old.”

            I tried, I really did, to keep my tone light and joking, but I suspect some of my frustration may have seeped through.

            “Well, I can’t keep him out of school till kindergarten, now can I?  So I guess I’ll just have to keep calling schools.”  And I got off as quickly as I could, because I was only in the Ls, and I wanted to make it through the Ms before getting ready for bed.


* Note: we have actually only twice ever discussed Nietzsche, and I am pretty sure it was long before we had children.  But it sounds good, doesn’t it?

Desperately Seeking Emily

       Where, oh where, has Emily gone?  She is not posting much.  She is not commenting much.  Is she even reading?

        Emily, if you are wondering, is applying to preschools.  Zachary is three, and this is the third time I have had to research and apply to preschools.  The first time, I spent days and weeks researching and visiting schools in Philadelphia that he never attended because we moved to London.  The second time, I scrambled frantically to visit preschools in London while we were still getting over jetlag and I was 7 months pregnant.  I could not apply in advance because we did not know where we would be living until a few weeks before the move (that’s how the rental market here works).  I sighed a huge sigh of relief when a few of the schools still had spaces.

          Now, we are moving mid-school-year.  He will probably miss a few months of preschool this year, but I am sure we will find a summer camp (note to self: find summer camp).  Many of the preschools have already finished accepting applications for September 2008.  Yet, here I am, oceans and continents away, calling at nine AM Pacific (which is 5 PM GMT, so the kids are busy tearing the heads off chickens or mixing the trash and recycling together while I am on the phone), hoping to find people actually in the office in the week between Christmas and New Years.  Then, we fill out applications.  Last night found me writing essays at 11 o’clock at night.  Yes, I was writing essays for my three-year-old and my seventeen-month-old to get into preschool.

          Some of you have asked how long a move this one is.  Technically, it is a permanent move.  The move to London was only two years, and we have an expiring visa to prove it.  L.A. is permanent, which means we live there indefinitely.  In reality, we can probably count on at least five years.  Which means I need to take the schools seriously this time, because this will be Zachary’s last and Benjamin’s only preschool.

          So, where is Emily?  She is reading as much as she can, and she promises she will indeed get to all of your posts (both Ashers had great Christmases, the Poo is sick, Flutter is marrying into a very nice family, De has a broad-winged hawk in the oak tree — see, I am reading).  But, she is not commenting, because that would take time away from writing her application essays, a job she thought she had finished when she got into grad school the last time.