Monday, July 19, 2010

Controversial For Controversial’s Sake

I’m rusty. Summer is by far my least favorite season, but it is my busiest, which means blogs are neglected. The girls have a demanding schedule of playgrounds and zoos and walks. And while I enjoy these activities, I find it all exhausting and way too hot. Unlike most people in the world, I cannot wait for summer to end. Bring on the fall, and its sweaters and turtlenecks and chilly weather. Bring on the comfort food meals and early sunsets. And, yes, bring on the snow. Nothing makes me happy like sunset at 4:30. For me, summer is something endured. Well, June is fine, but July and August I wish I could fast forward. I am excited that July is winding down. Yes, I know that I’m in the minority here, but what can I say. I live happily in the fringes.

And now, a bullet list:

Pre-School: Much to the consternation of several friends and countless experts, my two three-year-olds will not be attending preschool this year. This is for several reasons, some of which may ruffle some people’s feathers, so let’s go with the least controversial reason: It is way too expensive for way too little. Three mornings a week, of basically structured play and socialization, from September till June, runs 12K per child. (Which adds up to 24K, or, in pretax dollars, about 48K.) This is for just THREE mornings a week, which basically means I would be paying all that money to drop the girls off and go, say, to the gym and then pick them up again. It doesn’t even include meals. And this is one of the cheaper options: Most schools run way more than that. Five days a week at this place runs 5K more per child. When they are four, they will attend Pre K, so until then, they are attending the preschool of my kitchen table and socializing with their frousins and cousins.

Kindergarten: And as long as we are talking about school, we are not going to separate the girls when they are in kindergarten. They will be in the same class. And we will keep them in the same class for as long as they want. I have read lots of studies and literature on how this may be detrimental to their social development, but I respectfully disagree. I have no intention to ever sever the bond my girls have. I respect people who want to do it, but for us, it is not the right move. It will happen organically, perhaps, or maybe they will be super close their entire academic lives. If one wants her own class some day, then we will cross that bridge when we get there. But as far as I am concerned, they are in the same class for as long as possible. I am glad Nicole agrees with me on this.

China: My brother and his family are moving to China in less than a month and I am devastated. I don’t want them to go. Selfish, I know, but I cannot bear to think of my niece and nephew that far away. I start to panic when I think about it. I want to visit them in China, but I am not sure how possible me and two girls on a plane for 1,000 hours really is. I would have to stay a while, as a trip to China isn’t exactly a long weekend. I am hoping Nicole might have to go to Hong Kong (where they will be is about 45 minutes away from HK) for work and we can all go together. That is a slim, far-off possibility. But I need to think abut things like that because when I think about them leaving, I get a pit in my stomach. It is almost too much for my brain to comprehend. So right now I am NOT thinking about it, which means their upcoming departure will certainly smack me like a bucket of cold water.

Bats: In our house in Massachusetts. Yes, in our house. We saw the first one in the girls room, which is beyond horrifying. It flew across the room and Nicole caught it with her bare hands. Well, with her bare hands wrapped around a towel. Six bats later, we high-tailed it to a hotel for the night. I am still haunted by the supersonic screech of the bats. Turns out bats can get into holes the size of a pencil. We had some nesting in the eaves and the baby bats followed the wrong drafts and ended up in the house. Their moms came to find them, which resulted in the Night of Bats Everywhere. We had to pay a bat removal company thousands to fill up the holes and get them out. Nicole had to get her rabies vaccination, since she had contact with the bats and apparently bats can leak rabies through their membranes. So you don’t need to get bit or scratched: You just need to touch one. Nicole was fairly certain she didn’t touch any with her skin but since the end result of rabies is death, we decided that rabies shots was in order. Less than one half of one percent of all bats carry rabies but why take the chance. I am happy to report we are bat free (knock wood) and Nicole is still alive. Win/win.

Bears: In other nature news, Nicole made eye contact with a bear on our back steps. Let me repeat that: A bear. On our steps. She called me over to see, but in my frantic efforts to get the camera, I missed the bear. He trampled some ferns and left one big print as evidence. We found out they are nocturnal, so I don’t need to worry so much during the day that they are lurking around ready to snatch the girls. I am sad that I missed him, but Nicole thinks we will see him again, which is both exciting and scary at the same time.

How Does Our Garden Grow: It grows well. We have planted hostas and day lilies and butterfly bushes and basil and black-eyed susans and hydrangeas. We also planted a blueberry bush, but the fruit was already eaten by some animal or bird. I never, ever pictured myself a person who looks forward to gardening and walking around nurseries, but here I am, looking forward to gardening and walking around nurseries. Nicole has a rather organized and complex plan the entire yard that will take years to execute, but I am fine with that. It is nice to see little swatches of cultivated plants and flowers and every weekend I am excited to see what grew or bloomed or blossomed.

Pictured above, the girls, getting bigger and bigger by the minute. And the bear paw print, to the right of Nicole’s hand.


Malea said...

Here's my unsolicited assvice try to find a pre-school co-op.There popular in Brooklyn, inexpensive,but parents have to put in hours too.Class has about 4-5 kids usually.

I would highly recommend some type of program,because kids put in pre-school/pre-k cold turkey have a rough time adjusting to the lack of one on one attention given while they were at home/nanny.And it's possible to be kicked out if a child creates enough of a disturbance or hostile toward other kids ime.Their teacher will not be a parent they are familiar with.

I met a 2yr girl 2 weeks ago that was very impressive in her academics and a 2yr boy who was waaaaaay behind.The difference is one prepared their child for independence and the other says your only a kid once.Well he is one big infant if you ask me.

Lastly,separation. The girls can still be close and yet have their OWN identity by being separated.

We had a 'customer' of identical twin women.We called them the za*nax twins and guess These women couldn't have a thought without the other.We think they shared a brain!Seriously,not the simplest decision could be made without the other twin.Over drawn is overdrawn,how hard is that to understand.They were 43 yrs old and didn't date unless they both had a date and they went together.

The bats moving in was too funny!Your description was like an epi of The Munsters.

Briar said...

Just to know - some preschools will not take a full time 4 year old who has not had experience separating in prior years. In other words, you could have the exact same problem next year with half days.

I am curious whether twin parents get to decide what class their kids go in in public school or something that made you declare this. Parents do not get to decide that in my school and twins are never kept together past kindergarten. And honestly, having taught dozens and dozens of twins, I don't think I've seen any where the two were the exact same kind of learners. We do a painstaking job of choosing the right teacher for the right kid based on personality and learning style. Totally don't know about public school.

Would love to have a playdate sometime soon - our house is almost back to normal.

Alison aka Baby B said...

I don't think all twins should be separated, nor do I think all twins shouldn't be separated. I'm an identical twin, and it was REALLY pushed at our (public) elementary school that we MUST BE SEPARATED or else HOW would we develop normally?? Our parents had to go through the same business each year to get us in the same class, despite the fact that each year we proved the situation to be non-problematic. The year we were separated was interesting, particularly for our mom. She got to observe differences in our education. For example, I learned my "times tables" and my sister learned to sew... Yeah. We had completely different curricula, schedules, etc. Maybe in a different school, the situation would have been different. Anyway, we were in the same class for multiple years and no harm was done. We love each other, but we certainly are not co-dependent.

K J and the kids said...

I really like your thought on keeping the girls together in school. I have read all of the don't(s) too. I just figured I wouldn't have a choice and would let the school put them in a class. Now I have put them in different swimming lesson classes this year, not by choice....the classes were full. They actually did better not being together. They play too much.
So if this was the problem in school I might choose to seperate them for that reason.
Thanks for giving me something to think about.

I can't believe how grand your yard looks in that picture with Nicole watering. WOW ! The girls are getting bigger and are just as cute as can be.

I'm sorry pre school is so damn expensive. I TOTALLY take for granted that I have a lady down the street who charges me 50.00 a month per kid. which is still 2-3 days a week for 2 hours....but still. I can walk. She teaches them. There is interaction. What else do I want :)
I hope you are able to find something that fits you all perfectly next year. You have beautiful and smart girls....they will be just fine.

teeveezed said...

Here in Oz we don't separate twins, at least in the Western bit I live in, in primary school. In high school this does tend to happen, as students choose what they want to study, more naturally than by design.

Whatever decisions you and Nicole make are the ones which will best benefit your children. :)

Rebecca said...

I feel the same way about summer. (Of course, I live in Texas, so I don't have to deal with (much) snow, which I also don't like.) It's not the weather so much as the lack of structure. I like structure. I'm 100% with you in "bring on the fall".

Hope said...

at the risk of opening a huge can of worms, have you considered a nursery school that is run out of a church or synagogue building? The schools aren't always run by the religious group, sometimes they just rent the space from the church or temple. They also tend to be a lot cheaper than a privately run school. The YMCA also usually has good programs, but they are probably completely over booked.

I know you had little success for the "gentle separation" class, so I think it is pretty important to get them into some sort of nursery program. Two or three half days a week would be good for both you and the girls- I know you probably will not be able to get a lot done while they are there, but take it as "me" time

Jeannine said...

I agree with Hope. We did a Mommy and me (us) at our church preschool this past year and will do a two morning a week (three hours a day) drop off preschool there this fall. Our school, while affilated with our (Catholic) church, does not teach any Catholic doctrine, but does have a Christian philosphy (we celebrate Christmas there, not just winter). It is a private school in an affluent suburb of Los Angeles, and I'll be paying less than $5,000 total for my twins to go this year. They gave me a tuition break last year since I had twins and are offering a small one this year too. Check it out - it would really be good for all of you to try a gradual approach to preschool rather than just going full throtle next year. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

43rd Street co-op nursery school.

Shelli said...

total summer hater here, too - the ONLY advantage, in my book, is NOT having to stuff children into warming devices before leaving the house.

I was going to say - I guess it depends on the preschool, but some offer more, for less. Again, "location, location, location."

So how about some socializing up in Harlem? ;)

Anonymous said...

I am 100% with you on the hate summer comment. I can't wait for it to be over. Fall and winter and the absolute best!!