August 30, 2013

I hate breastfeeding

I know.  I might be doing something wrong.

My son may have a crappy latch so I'm not getting the oxytocin rush I'm supposed to.

I may be too "busy" to really sit down and enjoy it.

I may be "detached" from my son because I went to work too early.

But you know what - I hated it with my other son too and he had a great latch and I stayed home with him till he was 9 months old.

I know it is so important.  I'm doing it.  I'm committed to at least a year and hopefully beyond (particularly since our kids appear to be allergic to soy AND dairy - so their milk options are limited).

I am a little jealous over blissed out mamas who stroke their baby's head and have a shot of ecstasy when they let down.

We're doing a little bit of relationship housekeeping right now and are finding the book, "Wired for Love" really interesting.  The techniques are really helpful and it nails some of the issues we have (particularly the challenges we have with two kids and little sleep).  One thing it points out is that the attachments that each partner has with their own parents from childhood greatly affects how they function in their own families.

My parents did pretty much the opposite of attachment parenting and Bubbs' mom was a super attachment parenting mom.  The book points out that any relationship with one partner who had a crappy attachment to their parents will be a challenge.  I recognize that a lot of my relationship issues stem from this detachment and have worked on them for the last few years (which is why we're psychotic about our commitment to attachment parenting).  That doesn't mean that even though I have figured out how not to let it affect other people it isn't still a part of who I am. 

So, since according to the book's theory, I am an island.  This means that I am used to self soothing and can't look to other's for help, I like and need alone time, etc.  So...I'm thinking that maybe I hate breastfeeding because it forces closeness that I am uncomfortable with?  Or because I need alone time, but instead I'm feeding the baby and feel a responsibility to give even more during this one quiet time of my day?

I'm pretty insanely attached to my kids - even if I don't love or feel naturally about all of AP, I do it anyway, and it works :) 

So, I hate breastfeeding.  I'm doing it anyway.  And my kids will never appreciate me for it :)

August 18, 2013

We might be too cool for school - Part 2

Meanwhile, I'm getting calls from all these hard to get into schools that I applied to years ago.  They had a spot if we wanted one, but they were ALL full time and way out of our budget.  I had to turn them down.

I had a few friends in co-ops, so I started looking into those.  They were all mostly full, but one had an afternoon spot.  The commitment was HUGE (1 working day per week, two night time meetings per month plus other duties, etc), BUT the cost was so little, I figured I would work my work day a little differently to do my work day and it would all be fine.

I toured this sweet little school and while the facilities were great, the yard was HUGE, the kids seemed happy, and I knew that even if it wasn't perfect, I would be there 1 of the days per week and he was only there part-time - he could get what he needed (and we needed from it).  It seemed like the perfect solution.

I signed him up right then and there.

Then I found out they were having summer camp, so I signed him up for summer camp too!

I won't go into all the details, but for the first week, I went with him almost every day (it is only three hours).  I had to constantly mediate between kids refusing to play with him, pretending to shoot him, and very quietly being VERY mean.  I had to watch him standing alone on the playground and no adult ask him if he needed something. 

I didn't feel quite right, but rather than run, like I felt I did before, I decided to talk to the teachers.  So I talked to both teachers about the exclusion behavior I saw and how TT might need a bit more love until he found friends.  I felt a bit brushed off here too.

The following Monday, I made bubbs come with me.  The main bully's mom was the "teacher" in the big inside play room and TT seemed nervous. He said, "The sad boy is in here.  Where can i play?"  He went on to explain that that boy is the mean and nervous boy who hits with walkie talkies.

We went to circle time and a boy came up to us whipping a jumprope around yelling, "I'm a hunter and I hunt people to kill!"

TT flinched every time a kid would come to sit next to him at circle.

When I asked him where he would play first, he said,  "I don't know, the sad boy is inside and the mean boys are outside."

We tried to help him find other toys to play with while giving each other looks with big eyes and I could see steam starting to fly from bubbs' ears.  He found his favorite plastic bin of african animals and took out all the lions and tigers (he's OBSESSED with the Lion King).  He found a little open-topped cube made of play mats and got inside, then started lining all the lions and tigers up on the edge of it.  I asked him, are you making an animal parade? 

"No, mama, these are my lions to protect me from the boys."

Tim and I gave each other a look.  I asked T, "Do you want to go home?" 

He said yes, we grabbed his stuff, told his teacher we were leaving and we left.

We are not sending our 3 year old to Lord of the Flies preschool.  

Fuck this.

Fuck preschool, fuck people who say that my kid will eventually have to learn to be around mean kids. 

That is bullshit.

Everyone I know that didn't love school (and most of my friends now are people who suffered at the hands of bullies their entire lives until college), found great like-minded people in college.  Why would I make my kid SUFFER because he needs to get used to being scared and bullied?  Why not just protect him and choose schools that don't allow that sort of thing?

So, I think our life just got way more expensive.  I'm starting my search now.  Small class size, commitment to a community value of loving others, a non-exclusion policy, dedicated educated low turnover in teachers.

I only have two years until Kindergarten too.  I'm starting that search now.

None of this makes me want to move to the burbs because at least here we have options.   We may be in debt or poor, but we have options.

We might be too cool for school

So anyone in San Francisco knows that there is BIG preschool drama.  Swearing I wouldn't get swept up into it, I applied to a bunch of preschools when T was about 13 months old.  Paying the $50-$75 application fees, writing essays, printing family photos, and mailing them off with cute anecdotes about how TT loves to play train.

Then we got our Au Pair and our needs changed dramatically.  One, we had WAY less money to spend on childcare.  Two, we didn't NEED full time child care.  Most of the places I had applied were for full-time slots.

I got a call back in May that one of my favorite schools had a spot open.  I took it immediately.  It would be a bit more pricy than where he is now, but he could stay there for two years, it was in a BEAUTIFUL park, there were nature walks, it was Reggio Emilia, and all was good.  It was full time, but since it was a public preschool, the cost was about the same as part-time.

Then we went on a tour (I had already done one, but I wanted to bring Bubbs and my mom).  A little boy was crying in the class, hysterically, and the teachers were not being particularly loving.  In fact, they seemed annoyed and told the director he was just sick.

Then, when I asked about the chance of the school lunches getting a makeover like the rest of the district, the director seemed annoyed and told me that it wasn't AS bad for the kids as the other lunches so, no, it would not get fixed.  There were bologna sandwiches, pancakes, and chocolate cookies on the menu - how is that not bad?  Did she not see the same research I have on health of children and behavior linked to diet?

We left though, and I thought, you know, I'll just get involved and change things.

Then TT and I went to visit the school and drop off his paperwork.

I took him to see the playground through the fence.  Two girls walked up to us and talked to us for about 20 minutes.  They were adorable.  Then they started talking about the mean teacher who yelled when you didn't sleep (the school claims that non-nappers can read books with a teacher quietly), and that their parents had told them that she just wasn't that good with kids.  Also, in this entire time I'm talking to these kids, not ONE teacher or adult comes to see who I am and why I'm talking to them!

I got a bad feeling.  So, I called the director.  Twice.  My husband called once.  And we NEVER got a call back.

So...I started my hunt for other options...We had already told his current school that he was going to be ending his time there on the start date of this preschool.  I didn't want to get his poor teacher involved in my personal preschool crisis, so I didn't tell her things would be changing...