Big Girl School

by Nola

When I was pregnant, I scouted for a pre-school. Even though Sun wasn’t going to attend one until she was two years old. Ditto for grammar school. We scouted, Open Housed, joined Church Parishes, talked to parents, you name it, we did it to select the best grammar school for Sun. Two years in advance.

Her pre-school was The Awesome. Two years and zero complaints. Literally, not one single complaint. If I could keep Sun here through college, I would. But I can’t. So she’s switching to a pre-k-4 program at a full-fledged grammar school this Fall; her first day is in five weeks. And I’ve already about lost my shit countless times. And doubted my decision even more frequently.

The new school sent me papers in May about uniforms and supplies. The papers included a coupon for uniforms good in the month of June–which I used. Then, in July, the school sent me paperwork indicating that they have a used uniform sale/exchange day at the school in August. Now, why could they not have given me this piece of information in, say, May, yanno, before I thought I was being thrifty by buying the uniforms on sale in June?

No matter. Who wants used uniforms, right? Fine.

Then the Supply List. First, 95% of the list consists of cleaning supplies and only 5% is legitimate school supplies. Why can’t they just charge me an extra $100 in tuition so that the staff can buy my kid’s $50 worth of supplies? I’d pay double to avoid the utter aggravation that was Interpreting The List. Instead, all the kids had to buy paper towels, wet wipes, antibacterial soap, paper plates, cups, forks, etc. And a “box of Lysol wipes.” Box? Um, they don’t come in a box except at Sam’s. Surely they do not mean that each pre-k-4 kid brings an industrial-sized box of wipes, right? I got the tube and called it a typo. Only slightly daunted, I moved on. Next was a “package of paper plates, 6″.” Do they mean the 20, 50 or 100 pack? And, em, I don’t mean to nitpick, but they don’t come in 6″. So WHAT DO THEY MEAN? Whatever. I got the 25 pack of the 6-1/2″. I’m reasonable. I can follow directions. Let’s keep this moving.

Then my favorite: ONE roll Mavalus tape. They nicely indicated on the Supply List that I could procure this item at ONE store in the entire city. So, Mommy Early Prep headed to the store only to be told they didn’t have the one color I needed, white, in stock. So then I waited and called the store a few days later to confirm they had the white in stock, and I got it on my second trip. THEN, a month later, the school sends me a flyer telling me to please come to Book Day at the school where a SECOND store will be selling Mavalus tape to the parents. Really? They couldn’t have stated on the Supply List that there were TWO stores where I could buy it, and, oh, yeah, that I could also get it from the school on Book Day? They’d rather slow play it for the New Parent? Oh, I see their hand now.

Now, let’s talk about this Book Day for a moment. Technically, I see no reason to attend because as a pre-k-4er, Sun doesn’t need to buy a single book. But Hell, yeah, I’m going to Book Day, which is actually at night, just to keep you on your toes. See, this New Parent thing is really some exotic scavenger hunt to test one’s mettle. And sending a Book Day flyer to a parent whose kid needs NO BOOKS is a red flag. They think they can trick me into not going because my kid needs no books. Ha! Well, I just KNOW that at this Book Day, I will learn some nugget of which the school has heretofore failed to inform me. Like what time school day starts or some other minor detail.

Oh, yeah. I’ve got my game face ON. They can bury me in obscure and misleading information about volunteering for the school (although the strong urging makes me question how much of it is voluntary); they can trick me into buying uniforms early at a pricier amount; they can have me chase all over town for a roll of magic tape. And I may even flinch a time or two.

But now I’ve got their number. And if they think they can outsmart me at getting Sun well educated by having me run in circles over things that are nonsense, well, they can think again. Because if all this silliness carries INTO the classroom, the school’s collective heads will spin at how fast we yank her out of this much-scouted, pre-arranged, well-thought-out, highly recommended school and into one that focuses on the single important thing: education.

So, this round goes to the school. And though I am down and doubting our decision, I am not out. I AM sane. And I WILL give it a fair shake. But I’m watching, ya got that?

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