Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tis the Season

I am starting to get nervous about checking the mail everyday. It's reminiscent of the spring I applied to college, and then the one when I applied to graduate school, and then again, when I applied to law school. In some ways this is more intense because it concerns my children. My children who I would like to attend preschool.

If you would have told me that checking my mail for Sadie's preschool admissions letters would feel like college admissions, I would have suggested that maybe you had huffed too much cough syrup this cold & flu season.

"That's insane. She's not even three."

Right. And, the situation we find ourselves is this: We would like to continue to live in the city. Our local public school is about as safe and cheery as Pontiac Prison so we have to look for alternatives. If you will recall, the housing market is less than robust, so selling our house to get into a desirable district will only happen if we take a huge loss on our house. Because that is unappealing for a variety of obvious reasons, we have spent the better part of the past 4 months looking at private schools. That shouldn't be too hard, right?

Because we don't want to be dependent on a plan that requires us to move, we have concentrated on schools that go through at least 8th grade. That buys us plenty of time to figure out any address changes. We even looked at 2 that go through high school, which is appealing since it means I don't ever have to do those stupid essays describing my children. The first time we worked on the essays and aplications, it was fun: "Pick three words to describe your daughter."

I wanted to pick "inscrutable, obsequious, and persepacious." Jeff nixed it because it was clear I didn't know what those words meant and they probably didn't apply the Sadie anyway. The novelty of the admissions questionnaires quickly waned as we ended up applying to six schools. It's not clear to me which, if any, Sadie will get into.

And that's the thing. It's one thing to reject me for a PhD program (I am looking at you Princeton, University of Texas, University of Georgia, and Berkeley) or a law program (I am still looking at you University of Texas, and also staring down Northwestern, Stanford, Notre Dame (WTF?), and Duke), but it's another to reject my baby girl. Because, I know it's a numbers game and I know these schools need plenty of mega-rich families to fund the youngsters trips to Mackinac Island and Paris, but it will feel like rejection if Sadie can't get into a Montessori school within 10 miles of our house. So sorry we can't contribute 50,000 to the auction, but could my daughter still come and play for a few hours everyday?

By the time this spring is over, we will have done 6 tours, 6 parent interviews, 6 playdates and 3 coffees at various schools across the city. We can't bankroll a silent auction or donate an arts wing, but we can offer 2 freakishly genius kids (see above: Sadie has figured out to wear her gloves if she wants to play in the snow-- genius), 1 neurotic mom with some time on her hands (for volunteering in the organic food-peanut-free cafeteria), 1 stable and capable father, and a promise never to dispute any grades that either of my children earn on their report cards. I also promise I won't be one of those annoying parents that does all of her children's projects and homework. That being said, I do have some great ideas for a science project that I have been sketching in my free time.

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