Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I recently spent two solid days in a state of near-complete inertness while an evil stomach bug ravaged my body, rendering me capable of only two activities - mumbling incoherently or thrusting my head into a large red plastic bucket to empty the contents of my gut. Oy - that was descriptive. Sorry.

Anyway, at the very least, said virus and accompanying downtime allowed me some rare moments to gather some words for this here long-neglected bloggity.

So after shelling out for a new desperately needed haircut AND highlights on Saturday, I was feeling pretty snazzy 'til the puking began. On Sunday my husband and sister–in-law took the boys to a long-anticipated playdate with their little cousin in Orange County while I laid at home trying to keep down thimbles of Gatorade. Aside from being at work, it was the longest I'd ever been away from my boys. The fact that I was only semi-conscious made it far more bearable.

Illness not withstanding, life is trucking merrily along these days. The working mom world does not seem nearly as daunting as it did a few months ago, but I've come to realize that that's always the case. Griffin is almost seven months old, packing on the pounds (17-something at last count, but he has a check-up next week) and enjoying his solids (favorites are carrots, squash and anything involving rice cereal). He's just SO mellow, it blows me away. Never cries. Seriously. Sure, maybe he'll wail for a moment at night when he wakes up hungry and clambering for boob - which he does, multiple times per night. The plan for last weekend was to begin sleep training, but then the whole barfing thing started. This weekend is my birthday and I would really love to celebrate by getting a full night's sleep, without a baby in my bed. Yep - he loves our bed. We moved his mini crib into Carter's room last week in hopes that some distance would help, since he wouldn't be three feet away smelling my awesome mommy smell all night. It seems to have helped a little, but he's still up every few hours, yelling for boob.

Carter was mercifully easy to sleep train - we did that dreamfeeds method (Sleep-Easy Solution? No-Cry Sleep Solution? Never did read the book - just got a five-minute synopsis from a friend and that was enough) and he was sleeping through the night by six months-ish. Little G (Griffin Schmiffin, Finnster Binnster) is a different story - he doesn't seem to follow a pattern like Carter, who awoke religiously at 11 and 2 to nurse, making it easy to anticipate and gradually phase out the night feeds. Griffin is all over the place at night. I'm beginning to wonder if he is uncomfortable in his little mini crib and if I should upgrade to a big boy crib, or get a new mattress. OR perhaps just let him cry it out one night and fall asleep on his own in his crib, which he's done OH, maybe three times ever. It seems that it's going to come to moving a sleeping Carter into the living room to camp on the floor with Daddy while I sleep-train Griffin myself. Ugh - and I wonder why I've been putting this off. Truthfully, there is something wonderfully snuggly about sleeping with your kids, isn't there? Then I wake up in the morning in some wonky position with my arm flung haphazardly across a pillow so as not to squish the baby, my shoulders in knots, and I think OH YEAH, this is why you have your own bed. Huh.

On a competely different note, our little family is currently faced with an extremely difficult and daunting decision. See, I work for a big old movie studio in Los Angeles, and we have one of those insanely awesome corporate daycares, run by Bright Horizons. I call it the Harvard of Preschools, because it's absolutely top of the line kickass incredible in every way. It also has a three year waiting list...which we have been on, for three years and a couple of months.

Last week I got an email that Carter had been accepted to a spot in the Preschool program, beginning in July. Well, hot damn! I should be totally psyched, right? Erm, no. Instead, I find myself RIDDLED with anxiety. I abhor change. Loathe it. And so does my little boy (though perhaps that's less due to genetics and more due to being two). I just keep thinking about how upset he'll be to leave his little school, his little friends, the teachers and toys that he knows. He's been at his current preschool (next door to Griffin's infant/toddler center and part of the same facility) since his second birthday over SEVEN months ago, and he just recently stopped whining and clinging to me every morning at drop-off. After SEVEN months. And that was just moving from one building that he'd known his whole life to another - right - next - door. He even knew the preschool teachers already, and had older friends who had already transitioned over.

SIGH. So there's one thing - the heartache of having my little boy adjust to a new reality every day.

Then there's the price - almost twice what we currently pay. Ouch. But that's not a deal-breaker. I know from reading Erica's preschool post and the subsequent comments that the cost ($1,178) is actually - shockingly - not bad. And we are willing to pay it to give him this experience.

Then there's the logistical nightmare of two kids at two different centers. Even with two kids at the same school I am rarely rolling into the office before 9:30 these days, and I leave at 5:45 to pick them up, then race home to fix dinner and do the whole nightly routine. Fortunately, the WB Children's Center (for that is its fancy name) is just a few blocks away from our current location, but it is still a solid extra 15 minutes both AM and PM (if not more), which means we'll now get home at 6:45 or 7 instead of 6:30. Lordy. Griffin (who is also on the waiting list) will get sibling priority once Carter is enrolled, but still probably won't get in til Summer 2013 (unless a parent from the Toddler A group is laid off sometime sooner, and HOW AWFUL is it that I am secretly hoping that occurs?!).

Lastly, there's my massive guilt in telling my current location that we're moving Carter. Although the owner can be a cantankerous and overbearing little person, with whom I've certainly had my differences (um, no, I am not rushing to the pediatrician EVERY SINGLE TIME my child has a fever to get you a damn NOTE before he can come back, crazypants), I do believe that she cares about my boys, and even respects my wacky crunchy views on stuff. Plus, I still try to go visit Griffin every day at lunchtime, since it's only a few minutes down the road. That said, dealing with her inevitable guilt trips about pulling Carter is not something I am looking forward to. And before you say she won't, I once heard her saying to a mother who had just LOST HER JOB and had to pull her kids out "It's such a shame - he was doing so well. He will miss it here so much..." Nice, lady. I think my best bet here is to tell a wee little white lie and say that the company subsidizes the cost of their Children's Center (which they do - a little. A very, very little). Other good ammunition - my company's daycare is open til 7, instead of 6pm like almost every other place in town. You know, so you can STAY AT YOUR DESK and WORK YOURSELF TO DEATH for just a lil' longer every evening before you are mercifully released to your children. Yeehah!

So there you have it. Those are all my anxieties, all the things giving me pause. Oh wait - not all. There's Parker. GAH! For some reason this one's like a knife through the heart for me. Parker is Carter's best friend. They adore each other, have known each other their whole lives and have been chasing each other around since they could crawl. I joke with Parker's dad that we're future in-laws (yes, that's MISS Parker). Every day when we drive home and I ask what he did that day, it's almost always the same - "I played with Parker with the orange ball." Or the legos. Or whatever. Parker is two weeks older than Carter, so they transitioned from the toddler center to the preschool at the same time, which made the change somewhat bearable for him. But at his new school, she won't be there. No Parker. KILLS ME.

Yes, yes - we'll have to arrange playdates. It will happen. It must. And I fully intend to enroll Carter in Parker's Sunday Gymboree class, just so they can hang out, to ease the transition.

Okay - so those are my worries. And yet, despite it all, today I emailed the lady telling her we would accept Carter's spot for this July. You see, I took my husband there for a tour last week. He'd never seen the place, as he wasn't with me on my initial tour THREE YEARS AGO, when Carter was a lima bean in my belly. And despite all of my worries, all of my anxiety, there was no denying that there's something magical about the place. The real turning point came when the tour lady asked me what Carter did all day in his current program, and I had NO IDEA. I couldn't give her an answer. Because I don't know, and that SUCKS. My brilliant little boy is counting to 100, knows all his letters and the sounds they make, and can identify some words on sight, so I know he's learning - but beyond that, I don't really know what he does all day. Aside from a dinky one-sheet of "March (or April, or May) Lessons" that they send home in his bag once a month (of which more than half is the same stuff from the month prior) and the collection of artwork/projects he brings home, I couldn't tell you what they are working on. There are no parent-teacher meetings. There is no communication. Sometimes Carter will be fussy on the way home, and it will take me specifically asking the next day to find out that he'd refused to nap all day. Or that he didn't want to eat his fruit. Or yadda yadda insert-whatever-here. They can't even tell me these basic things about my child, let alone have conferences and write journals about his development (which my company's school does). And even though I'm comfortable there, and he's happy there, and I really, REALLY don't want to rock the boat, I know that that's not okay.

So here we go. Clearly this has been weighing on me, and I'm still shaky with my decision. But we're jumping. Wish us luck.