Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Preschool Interview + Pre-Surgery Interview = FUN DAY!

So. We got Bella enrolled in a private preschool near our office; one with a good reputation, whose curriculum we were happy with. "Private" wasn't really a criteria, per se, but I spent hours and hours researching all the Pre-K programs within a 30-mile radius, and the "regular" places that called themselves preschools really seemed to be nothing more than glorified daycare centers. The place that we chose is a Christian school, and it has a definite schooling program--the children study phonics 3 days a week, and numbers the other two, as well as a variety of social, artistic, and Bible studies. The director says that by the end of K-4, all the children will be reading. And since Bella, by virtue of her late October birthday, will not be allowed to start public school kindergarten until 2008, I'd prefer her time in preschool be spent learning.

Bella is beyond psyched at getting to go to school--I mean, seriously, she's been bouncing off the walls all day, chattering nonstop about it. When we walked into the director's office for our interview, she marched right up to the director, big grin on her face, and proclaimed, "My name is Isabella! And this (indicating me) is Mommy, and her name is Belinda! And this (indicating Alex) is Daddy, and his name is Alex! What is YOUR name?" I swear, the woman did one of those cartoon double-takes.

Even though we are a Christian family, I had my concerns about a "Christian" school. This school shares the name of our chosen denomination, but the similarity to our own church ends soon after that. My major concern was discipline--all too often you find people and institutions espousing corporal punishment in Jesus' name, and that bothers me. A lot. I'm not going to get into a whole spanking/non-spanking debate here, but I do believe that the "spare the rod, spoil the child" verse from Proverbs is one of the most mis-interpreted verses in the Bible (take this, of course, with a grain of salt, since this is MY interpretation). I feel that this "rod" is a reference to the shepherd's crook, or staff, which was used not in a punitive manner, but rather to gently guide errant sheep by way of blocking their path, directing them onto the right way, and occasionally tapping them to get their attention, and if need be, using the crook on the end to "hook" a sheep to keep it from danger. That's my take.

So it was with a great vested interest that I scoured the application/contract for the new school, and was hugely relieved to find my concern specifically addressed under the section on discipline thusly: "Corporal correction: We will NOT administer corporal correction to your child." *WHEW*. That would have queered the whole deal, as far as I was concerned. And the next issue very nearly did, but we're going with it for now.

You may have already guessed this next "issue." Yep, the dreaded Dress Code. K-3 students do not have to wear the official (and aesthetically hideous) uniform of the school, but they do have to adhere to a dress code. Which means dresses or skirts every day for girls. NO PANTS. Ever. And of course, no shorts, and no dresses or skirts whose hems fall above the knee. I gotta admit, this caught me off-guard, since we're dealing with three-year-olds. Who, exactly, would they be distracting by wearing pants or skirts with bloomers or even (*gasp*) shorts? Or, is it a matter of just getting the students used to this style of dress before they advance to the upper grades? I have no idea, but it rubs me rather the wrong way. Not to be able to wear cool, comfortable clothes when you live in the heat of Arkansas just seems wrong, especially for such little ones. BUT, it is what it is, and it's the price we're having to pay for a good scholastic experience, is what I figure. We can tough it out for two years of Pre-K, and as for Bella, she LOVES dresses, and is totally stoked that she gets to wear a dress to school EVERY SINGLE DAY OH MY GOSH IT'S A DREAM COME TRUE AND SHE IS A PRINCESS!

Now, here's my immediate concern on this issue: Where in the world do you FIND dresses or skirts for little-bitty girls that are that length? Almost everything I see (and certainly everything Bella already has) that is casual enough to play in for that age-range is short, usually with bloomers or shorts that match for underneath. JenB gave us a beautiful green flowered dress a few months ago that will be perfect (especially since it will actually fit now), as it is a long, sweeping affair that makes Bella want to twirl until she hurls. Is that a Canadian phenomenon, the long, pretty dresses? Moms, if you have ideas on this, let me know. Starting next year, she'll have to wear the glorious stiff, ugly jumper, but after that it's on to public school and wardrobe relief. I'm thinking, possibly, of some Naartjie combinations of dresses with capri-pants underneath...which is probably stretching the rules, but what can I say--I'm a rebel. I'm already planning a pants-based outfit for her for dress-up day.

OH--and the funniest part of the dress code for Pre-K girls? "No pantsuits." No PANTSUITS? I ask you, WHERE in the WORLD are people finding PANTSUITS for PRESCHOOLERS? This just slays me. I am, of course, envisioning tiny polyester ensembles in pastel colors, with metal buttons and Sans-A-Belt slacks.

And we saw the surgeon today to talk about my traitorous body, and what we're going to do to it. I have to say, my surgeon is a sweetheart, and very kind, and very anxious to end my pain. So the hysterectomy will happen soon, and I am aswirl with confusion and anxiety and sadness and regret and fear and trepidation...and a little bit of relief. He assures me that, even though this surgery will undoubtedly leave behind microscopic traces of endometriosis, that suffering through at least 6 months without estrogen replacement following the surgery will cause the remaining endo to basically shrivel up and die. This runs counter to what I thought I knew, so I'm doing some further research and trying hard to believe this. And there is a new drug, whose name escapes me at the moment, which is supposed to protect against osteoporosis and breast cancer, but without the risk of estrogen replacement...could be that I could take that indefinitely, if I can stand the hot-flashes.

Thank you to all you lovely people who have responded to my plea for recipes; I'm organizing them and copying them to a central location, and they're so lovely that I'm thinking I just might have to journal them on flickr as I make them (or as Alex makes them, as the case may be).

And speaking of Alex, he has posted pictures of his potato-cannon masterpiece on his rarely-updated blog, and I also have them up on the flickr site, with notes. Stop by and admire his handiwork. It shoots potatoes. Really far.

Oh, and my California peeps? If you are close to a Naartjie store, hit up the sales for me, wouldja? Size 4. I'm good for it--have PayPal, will be grateful!


  1. Melissa, I don't wanna name it here--email me.

  2. Oh boy, my niece is getting registered and doing orientation taday for kinderagrten. Her mom is having a hard time with this as she wanted to homeschool, but her husband won't let her. I won't go there right now.

    I went to christian school through the third grade and would not have wanted to have been a senior there. We homeschooled my remaining years of school, which gave me the ability to do all the animal showing I did.

    I hate uniforms at the schools here, they look so dorky. I always felt christian schools took it to the extreme. There is a christian college in Florida where all the girls have to wear dresses and stockings, no pants or shorts are ever allowed.

  3. Man, I was giggling picture both boys and girls that age dressed in the kinds of hideous clothes we had in the 70's.

    Hee hee.

    That will sustain me for quite some time!

  4. I looked up the Naartjie...makes me wish we were doing public school, so I could dress my kids so colorfully everyday.

    Our school has uniforms and a HAIR code, which gets all over me. My boys' hair is gloriously shaggy and long right now, and it kills me to think we are going to have to shear it off next week.

    However, I tell myself that there is bound to be something at every school to make me bristle. Hair and dress codes are small stuff compared to the thought of anyone laying a hand on my children, particularly in the name of God.

    Glad you found a loving place for Bella.

  5. In my corner of Canada there are no pretty dresses, only endless pairs of pants and shorts. As a a matter of fact there are no girls. Someone needs to do something about this.

    signed: A Canadaian with sons, uncles, brothers and brothers-in-law and NO WOMEN ANYWHERE IN SIGHT.

  6. I had a TVH three years ago (has it been that long? Gosh!) and felt very much the same as you do about the whole thing. I had no choice, the uterus was completely prolapsed and descended to where it caused horrible pain twice a month for a week at a time. Still it was scarey and sad at the time.

    I'm so glad I actually did it though! I feel SO much better and the freedom is wonderful. Take it easy on yourself for the first few months, don't expect to be 'normal' right away. Then get ready to enjoy the new you!

    Caffienated Librarian directed me here. SO glad she did!

  7. ask and ye shall receive links to modest clothing for children.


  8. gI suffered from endometriosis in high school, and I think anything you have to do to end it is worth it. Good luck.

  9. They're just trying to crack down on preschool gang activity by not allowing the wee ones to wear their gang sign.


  10. Wow, the only place I can think of off the top of my head is hanna andersson. They have the whole play dress/day dress line.

    And my daughter would think she had died and gone to heaven if she got to wear dresses everyday.

  11. Well, I've been teaching preschool for 25 years this Sept (does that make me too old to be here?) Go as cheaply as possible with the clothing because if preschoolers aren't getting a little messy they absolutely can not be learning! I reccomend second hand store shopping.

    Since Bella is soooooo verbal and outgoing the biggest problem you will face is boredom when she finally gets to Public School....

    Went through menopause at 22, had the surgery while still on a hormonal rollercoaster. While the ride was wild, I have to say that surgery was the best thing that happened to me. No more migraines, no more pain. I don't want too minimize the no more children aspect to you, but there are benefits to the surgery itself.

    I'm a good parent advocate. Feel free to contact me if you have preschooler questions

  12. You have to wonder about anyone sitting around and saying "And nix the pantsuits too! We can't be letting them wear pantsuits!".

  13. Try Land;s End--they make supercharming, straightforward little jersey dresses in solids (for pairing with HIDEOUSLY expensive but adorable Hanna Anderssen tights) and sweet, non-childish patterns. Perfect for children who actually want to move freely in their clothing.

    Also, the aforementioned Hanna dresses are rocking. I'd try eBay for both.

  14. Belinda,

    We have a Naartjie in Portland - and we're tax free. Let me know if you'd like me to scoot over there!

    - Rhi

  15. Oh, Rhi--anytime you're in the neighborhood and see something cute on sale, I'll happily shoot you some funds! I haven't bought anything from there in several months (it's kind of a pain, because you can't really order off the site, you have to phone a store and ASK if they have the item in question, and then they send it to you), but they used to always have some fantastic stuff on sale at great prices. I just love the whole dresses-over-capri-pants look!

    Anon--thanks for the Land's End tip; I always forget that they have kids' clothes.

    dixie--I KNOW! Pantsuits?? They also used the word "slacks" in their list of verboten girl-wardrobe, which also cracked me up. Slacks. "Bella, honey, go put your SLACKS on." Please.

    kel--you mean my MIGRAINES could stop? Wow. And we don't have anything in the way of children's resale stores around here, but I certainly have no compunctions against hitting up eBay!

    chris--I actually looked at the Hanna site today. When I regained consciousness from the prices, I thought perhaps I would check eBay for Hanna!

    dan--I am SO sending her to school in a bandana.

    dorothy--when you're right, you're right. Took 'em 20 years to get me diagnosed, and I was like, "What--you mean everyone doesn't roll around on the floor drooling and screaming from pain once a month?" I had no idea.

    margalit--I STILL haven't gotten through all those links, thanks! Lots of them start at size 7, but I found lots of leeeetle girl stuff, too.

    SFMama--Thank you for the encouragement. That is exactly the way I need to be thinking right now!

    andrea--who scared off all the women? I was wanting to come visit up there, but will they let me in?

    k--I LOVE Naartjie. A mom on a "baby list" I've been on since pregnancy (see my sidebar) discovered them, and I've never been the same! And yes, the "hair code" niggled at me too, because it disallowed "very short" hair for girls! What the--? You would think that long, coifed hair would be considered prideful and vain, and that having it short would be desirable in this weird "females cannot look attractive" environment, but I guess not. I could not reconcile the dress code with the hair code at ALL.

    Mr. Fab--I was a kid in the 70's, and I DID wear those hideous clothes. Didn't you? You're only 4 years older than me, you must have.

    Kim--OH, to homeschool Bella would be my DREAM. But then, if you could have seen how positively ecstatic she got at the idea of SCHOOL, with other CHILDREN...I just hope that that attitude never changes, or that if it does, we will be in a position to give her what she needs educationally. And YOU turned out fantastic, however you were educated!

  16. I had to laugh when I read about your daughter introducing you all. My four-year-old is the same way!

    "Hi, I'm D, this is my mommy. Her name is Kimberly. This is my sister J. And this is our baby sister R. R. P. She's zero years old." (Except, you know, putting in our whole names for the initals.)

    To perfect strangers! Everywhere we go!

    PS glad you found a great place for her to go! D would LOVE to go to school now but we can't afford the preschools around here. Bleh. And I'm being selfish, keeping her to myself for One! More! Year! :)

  17. Kimberly, I know--the tuition, while not exorbitant, is going to be a burden on our finances for sure. I shouldn't complain, because it comes out to about the same as what full-time daycare would be, and so many parents have to pay that from Day ONE. Bella's daycare experience to date has been 4 hours a day, which cost us--brace yourself--$45/week. I KNOW--AMAZING. So, we're making a significant jump up in that expense. And yes, it was our whole names in the intros--first, middle, last! And yes, she does it in grocery stores, everywhere!

  18. Um yeah, that school in Florida???? I went there and my Dad runs it! LOL

  19. I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you with your upcoming surgery and all that it encompasses. Two of my very best friends suffer from the disease, so I know a little about it. I wish you all the best and will continue to keep you in my prayers!!

  20. Belinda,

    I've got a ton of girls dresses - Hannas, Land's End and gymboree - in what is probably your daughter's size. Shoot me an email and I'd be glad to mail some of them to you.