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November 16, 2011


PreSchool Alternative in NYC?

I am firmly in denial that I have to start thinking of preschool in solid terms.  I mean, I *think* about it.  I practically obsess about it in my head; running the numbers and thinking of the gains and what does it all really mean for what price.  Oh, I think about it a lot.
But I haven’t actually done anything about it.  Like, put my name on a list anywhere.  

Forget about preschool for a moment–what I should have done is put my kid’s names down on a list for PreK.  I should have done that when they were born.  You know, for PreK. 
PreK is when the free stuff starts in NYC.  But only some elementary schools have PreK and not all are good.  So, you can imagine the competition (actually you probably can’t imagine unless you are living here with kids.  It’s freeking insane and besides rent, it’s pretty much all people talk about).

However, we are lesbians with twins.  No one would ever, ever, ever admit it–but I know for a fact that we will get bumped up those lists because of the ‘diversity’ factor.  True story.
That doesn’t mean I should keep procrastinating, but it does make me feel a teensy bit better knowing that finally I’ve got the edge on the straight white couple.

OK, back to preschool.  The cost is insane.  I don’t know how much preschool costs average around the country and beyond (do tell!) but here in NYC, the average cost is roughly $1500-$2000 per MONTH.
Ahem, times two for twins.  Although some are generous with a 5% sibling discount.  Five percent, yee haw.
The highest priced preschool in NYC is $30K.  For a 3 year old to finger paint? Seriously??

Let’s assume we get a spot for two kids in a (cough) reasonably priced preschool in our neighborhood.  Just your average 1/2 day program.  
I still can’t go back to work full time because of the drop off and pick up times.  Or, if I did go back to work full time, I would still have to pay for a nanny.
It kills me either way because for ‘what’ I do workwise (for those of you who have been reading awhile I am most decidedly NOT the career-driven one of this couple) does not make me much money.
Going back into the workforce gives me a lot of anxiety.  I don’t even know what I’m going to do next. But that bit of panic is all for another post.

We could keep them out of preschool until they turn 4 and can go to (free) PreK.  There are plenty of classes and activities to keep them busy and happy.  This city is full of possibilities and learning opportunities–many of them for free.  It would be a lot of work and I would really have to buckle down with my planning and scheduling, but a homeschool preschool could be a possibility.

The other option–one which we will know more about in April–is living abroad for a year and renting out our (furnished) apartment.  Chicken has the strong possibility of being able to work remotely and so we would keep her income, plus the rent from our apartment and we would live in a moderately priced country (Costa Rica?  Argentina? Thailand? Malaysia?) with a great alternative preschool.
This is one of the reasons we choose where we are going in Costa Rica this winter–the awesome Waldorf preschool ($160/month) and the low cost of living.  The ability for the boys (and us) to learn another language is also HIGH on my list.  
I would prefer that language be Spanish as it’s the most beneficial (or maybe Chinese) but I also wouldn’t pass up a year in Thailand if that presented itself.

So that’s where we are.  Homeschooling or leaving the country.
How did this happen?



Just in the last week or so, Grunter’s speech has been making leaps and bounds.  W2 seems to be taking it all in and will say something (or try) if you ask/prompt him, but he is not as verbal as Grunter (even though he started off being more so).
Being able to pet the cat is their goal of the day.  I swear we lift them out of the crib and they chime “cat!” We have a rather shy and skittish cat who is not too keen on letting them near.  Lately the boys (especially Grunter) have learned to be quiet, calm, gentle and slow and then….maybe…..he can get near enough the cat for a quick stroke of fur.
This past weekend, while I was sick in bed most of the day, the cat was laying on me when Grunter came to nurse.  He approached very slowly and the cat let him not only pet, but HUG him.  While his head was resting on the cat’s belly, I asked him if he heard the noise the cat was making?  He smiled and said ‘Si’ (they don’t say ‘yes’) and I said, he’s purring.  He makes that sound because he’s happy.  
Clear as a bell Grunter said “Happy!” and his whole face lit up with a smile.
Now he goes about his day and randomly will tell us he’s happy.  Today I saw him ‘clapping’ the hands of one of his dolls and saying “happy!”

Tonight as I was leaving their bedroom Grunter yelled out “Mommy”.  He has only started calling me Mommy and Chicken Mama in the past few weeks.  Something clicked and he knows which one of us gets which name.  Since that lightbulb went off–I hear Mommy! all day long.  This can be good and bad!
But it’s usual for him to want me to come back just one more time….
He stood up in his crib and reached out to hug and kiss me in the darkness.  Then I asked W2 if he wanted to give me another hug and kiss goodnight.  He replied by moving his face over to the crib slats and making giggly kissy noises.  I responded by kneeling down and kissing them both through the crib slats which they think is hysterical (and it’s beyond cute).
Then they both blew my kisses and sang out “ciao! night night!”

These are the moments that I live for.  During the first year, which was so very dark and difficult–these were the days I was waiting for.  Well worth the wait.