I apologise to my loyal fans – we have had a stress-filled week, coupled with massive colds hitting the Tiny Tyrant and myself.
We spent much of the last few days like this:
Add this to the fact that our beloved TT is cutting her last three molars simultaneously (no seriously, I can see the spikes poking under the gums in all cases poor wee bugger) it’s been goddamned tough.
Anyone who comes to visit us from the U.K. – bring Calpol. Also teabags. And Aquafresh. But mainly Calpol. I ventured to CVS yesterday and bought four bottles of Tylenol (two baby and two child) Grape for both, Cherry for TT and Strawberry for #1 Son (Calpol is strawberry flavoured but #1 Son was unconvinced and wants the grape too) Interestingly, I was able to buy all four bottles, and they have a higher concentration of active ingredient in them, with no issues. In the U.K. that would not have been allowed!
So. School for #1 Son.
After all the paperwork palava, we found out on Wednesday afternoon that he had not been accepted into our first choice school dammit.
It’s a mile and a half away, there’s no school buses and no public transport. He needs to be there by 08:10 on a standard day. The school website actually states “children are expected to either walk or be driven by caregivers”
In the words of the hus-creature ‘we will make it work’
I then decided to check that he could start on Wednesday August 30 along with all the other Kindergartners. He can, she also mentioned in passing that there might be a meet and greet on Thursday and the Principal would confirm.
Welp, he didn’t. So at 09:00 I rang the school to ask. Yes, there was, at 10:00 at a school over thirty minutes away. Cue frantic bundling into the car and off we went.
The first hour and half was pure meet and greet. Which was great actually. I met several parents and staff, and one member of the PTO has given me her email address as she had emigrated from Western Canada for her husband’s job and was in exactly the same situation as me down to same visa type!
#1 Son had a marvellous time at said Meet and Greet – running around like a mad thing, kicking balls, blowing bubbles, attempting tree climbing and actually interacting with other children – at least vaguely.
Then came the school tour. TT did not want to go, so daddy stayed with her, and I walked #1 Son around. That… was not as successful. First, the school itself was so bloody different. I am not ashamed to admit that it gave me a sinking feeling, but I bigged it up as much as I could. They have an excellent music room, I think I caught a glimpse of the art room.
But he wasn’t convinced. He found the whole tour ‘not fun’ and as a result went into uber grump mode which is a problem. It didn’t help that quite a large proportion of the school (including one of the Kindy classrooms) was under construction – summer revamps are a thing.
We also didn’t get to meet his class teacher, as he’d literally just been added to the list, which didn’t help. Kindergarten is also in the damn basement. Deep joy.
Interestingly, although allergies are a huge deal (no edible items can be brought into any Melrose school for birthdays – though they have provided a list of acceptable alternatives) peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a daily staple on the lunch menu.
Ah lunch, again something totally different to Dashwood. The children all have pre-pay cards, from which they pay for lunch in the mornings via the teacher. Apparently, only the high schools have kitchens, so they send down the lunch orders to the High and they send them up.
So we need to teach him a totally different thing. Fortunately, the menu contains several acceptable items. Do I wish there was more fresh food like there was at Dashwood? Yes. But Winthrop won’t make him a daily cheese baguette so he needs to buy food he’ll eat. And it’s posted online so we can talk to him about it the night before and simply remind him in the morning. And he loves PB&J so if nothing else, he can have that.
So we return to daddy, whose first comment to me is “now, while I hesitate to call your daughter a mal-co-ordinated disaster area…” and steps aside to reveal the Tiny Tyrant with a pretty huge graze down her shoulder to elbow. Apparently they had been walking to the car and back, and she somehow tripped over whilst messing about (she does this a lot) and scraped herself good and proper. Daddy had cleaned it up as best he could with baby wipes, and once we got home I slathered it in Sudocrem.
Now, #1 Son absolutely loathes any kind of cream/ointment/lotion so I was expecting a real fight. Nope. It’s three days later, and she still holds her arm out and says ‘see-oh’ and wants cream on! Trust me, it doesn’t need it. It’s healed. I was a little worried on Thursday night, as the area was pink and slightly warm to the touch – though it was a proper boo-boo, but it was fine by Friday morning. However it keeps her calm, so therefore we cream it.
Yesterday I also managed a feat of mothering engineering and not only got both kids out of the house, we went to the mall, did shopping, I also managed to buy them dinner, they actually ate it (TT is on hunger strike because teeth) and then we went to the park. Where they both had a whale of a time, played with each other, with other children, and I actively socialised with other parents… those who know me well will understand why this is a massive deal!
We are off out again today as schools here have no uniforms, and #1 Son has only a limited wardrobe currently, so while I have nails done, daddy will take him shopping for clothes and shoes. I’m so looking forward to name labelling every single item in his closet, oh yes.
Also all his supplies, as here schools supply a grand total of diddly squat, so I have folders, books, markers, pencils, wipes etc to label up too. I bought spares of absolutely everything so when they inevitably ‘go missing’ I have time to replace them. Well, in theory. I’m actually gobsmacked at the amount needed, guess LEA funding is way more than we think.
Ah well, it’s not thousands, and after the initial expenditure it’s not a lot. And I went with all the stated brands rather than shopping around until we’re more used to the differences in the systems.
7 thoughts on “Schooling”
Sorry about your colds. Your photos at the top are ambiguous: Do you BOTH have a dummy in your gob, or is TT’s hair bow right next to your mouth?
OK for Calpol/Aquafresh/tea bags (do you have a favourite brand?)
I was extremely disappointed that you did not get your first choice of school. Is there a right of appeal? Do they have a Disability Discrimination Act? Does the school you wanted operate a waiting list and is proximity to the school the top criterion?
One brand of tea bags that one of my friends in NJ likes is Barry’s Tea. It’s stronger than all the other yucky ones out there and she swears by it.
It’s great getting meds that over here are prescription only yet over there are over the counter jobs. Interestingly it can also work the other way as well too though! Hope TT gets over the teething soon! Love reading your blogs!
You might be able to carpool with other parents. Also on the shopping we do a lot over the internet with Amazon, Walmart that is trying hard to take business from Amazon and has really good prices, and to a lesser extent with Target. It is really cheaper and more convenient than going to the store, especially once you figure out what American sizes you need for the kids. You can find v cheap clothes for kids at Walmart, overstock.com, olnavy.com, kohls.com Hanes.com
If you don’t like the school menu can (in our school district they were an abomination) can #1 son bring a lunch box?
I forgot what we used for the kids colds, over the counter remedies. For us (we are the natural remedies types) to decrease the intensity of cold symptoms we use zinc and vitamin C and also honey “spiked” with royal jelly and ginseng which you can find at Wholefoods that am sure you know is going cheaper on Monday as it has just been bought by Amazon.
Good luck with school and all. Let us know if we can give you additional info.
Your practical advice is invaluable, sisterette, but I was rather hoping for an input from you concerning the right of appeal if you are unhappy with the school your child has been allocated to. Doesn’t it exist at all?
I have no idea. Usually school assignment within a school district is based on residency so I am surprised they were even given a choice. This being America, I would be surprised if you were not able to lawyer up and sue if you are unhappy. But whether there exists a more sensible appeal procedure I have no idea, they have to ask their neighbors or the PTA or search online.
He will remain on the waiting list until November and another parent told me that at the end of the year we might be able to put in for a transfer
Fantastic news! All hope is not lost, then. Do you know which criteria are chosen to allocate places? Distance is usually the top criterion. Do you know how many people are ahead of you on the waiting list?
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