image1Next year Annabelle will be in pre-kindergarten, her last year of preschool before kindergarten. I can’t believe how fast time is flying by! When we moved to Indianapolis I started her in preschool at 2 years and 2 months at the YMCA. She was the youngest in the class and it showed in her shy behavior, small vocabulary, and short attention span on following classroom instruction. Plus, in a class with mostly 3-5 year olds, she was one of the only tots in diapers! She was essentially still a baby. I was happy the ‘Y’ made an exception for us so I could get her started in a routine and back into a social environment after taking an 8 month break from daycare.

Geez, it feels like I just blinked and here we are closing out our second year of preschool at the YMCA soon. A couple months ago we made a bittersweet decision to send Annabelle to pre-K at our church next year, which has a really wonderful preschool to junior high school where we plan to send her for elementary. I say it’s bittersweet because although new horizons are always exciting, Annabelle has really flourished in these last two years at the Y. She’s an inquisitive little learner, a motor mouth when she’s comfortable, a budding little artist, and she absolutely loves her teacher, Mrs. Stephanie.

A couple weeks ago Mrs. Stephanie asked if Annabelle was enrolled for next year and I said no, that we were sending her to pre-k at our church. She seemed to be taken aback by this news, and said with what seemed like a heavy heart; “Oh, we’re really going to miss her. She’s been with us since she was a baby. She’s doing so many new things, especially lately. I’ve enjoyed watching her development.”

I literally felt a lump form in my throat. It really touched me that her teacher cares about her so much. I told this to Jeff and he’d hate for me to say this, but he got a little emotional hearing her reaction. I think it’s special when your kid bonds to a teacher and it definitely made us second guess our pre-k decision.

Baby boy goes to preschool

image2To further complicate matters, we signed Leo up for preschool at the Y starting in August! I cannot believe he’s practically preschool aged already, even though he’ll be starting a couple months shy of his second birthday. He was greenlighted to attend school early because the Y preschool director figured he spends enough time at child watch while I go to the gym, so he should be socially ready to start in their new 2-3 year old group in preschool.

At first I was thrilled at the idea of them both being at school at the same time each day. OMG, just think of what I could do all by myself! Work out, of course! Clean my whole house at once, YES, hasn’t happened in years! Begin writing my best-selling novel, oh what I wouldn’t give!!! WHAHOO! This is the moment I’ve been living for as a mother – solitude!!! Haha, just kidding. Well…

But of course there’s a hiccup.

I dragged my feet too long with pre-k sign ups at our new school and morning pre-k is full, leaving only an afternoon slot available. Oh no! This means Annabelle and Leo will be on opposite schedules now. I drop him off and have Annabelle. I pick him up and drop her off. I have no solitude. HICCUP.

image3The more I think about it, the more my shoulders slump on how this new schedule is going to work out. I have two places for pick up and drop off. The kids will spend most of their days apart, and since afternoon pre-k begins at 12:45 and ends at 3:15 that leaves very little time in the AM and in the late afternoon before our favorite play date destinations like the zoo or the Children’s Museum close. Weekend trips to these family staples with the crowds is pretty much a nightmare that I don’t care to endure. I also don’t love how our new school only has 2 ½ hours of school vs. the 4 hours she’s used to at the YMCA. And I should mention the schools are in different school systems, which means different school breaks, ahh!!!

What’s one more year?

I’ve begun to seriously consider moving her back to the Y for pre-k and having them go to the same school. It makes it way easier on me to have one place to go, plus she’ll go four hours a day and be done at 1. That still leaves plenty of time in the afternoon for play dates. I figure in one more year she will be in school full-time for the next 18 years. Maybe I should enjoy having another year of flexibility, play dates, and ease, before things get harry!

The plan is still to send her to our church for kindergarten and beyond, so I don’t feel like I’m turning my back on this new experience, just putting it off a little longer.

I’m not going to lie that having time each day to do things I need or WANT to do sans children is very desirable. Hell, I’m only finding time like once a month to write a freaking blog post! I’m never going to fulfill my pie in the sky dream of being a real writer (an author!) at the rate I’m going!

I haven’t made any changes to our current plans yet, but this blog post sort of helped me hash out some things I’ve had on my mind. Ultimately, either path we take will be a good one for Annabelle. That’s not a question. So really, it’s sort of about finding the right balance for the whole family now, and I think I know where that path leads.

I’m pretty confident I’m not the only mama that frets about preschool, the logistics of shuttling kids to different schools, and the much coveted ‘me’ time that is so rare for moms. Looking forward to building a smooth schedule that works for everyone next year.

And just so you know, I’m taking topic suggestions for my novel, so hit me!! Should I go all hilarious mommy short stories, or more ‘Fifty Shades’ romance novel?

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