So. We got Bella enrolled in a private preschool near our office; one with a good reputation, whose curriculum we were happy with. "Private" wasn't really a criteria, per se, but I spent hours and hours researching all the Pre-K programs within a 30-mile radius, and the "regular" places that called themselves preschools really seemed to be nothing more than glorified daycare centers. The place that we chose is a Christian school, and it has a definite schooling program--the children study phonics 3 days a week, and numbers the other two, as well as a variety of social, artistic, and Bible studies. The director says that by the end of K-4, all the children will be reading. And since Bella, by virtue of her late October birthday, will not be allowed to start public school kindergarten until 2008, I'd prefer her time in preschool be spent learning.
Bella is beyond psyched at getting to go to school--I mean, seriously, she's been bouncing off the walls all day, chattering nonstop about it. When we walked into the director's office for our interview, she marched right up to the director, big grin on her face, and proclaimed, "My name is Isabella! And this (indicating me) is Mommy, and her name is Belinda! And this (indicating Alex) is Daddy, and his name is Alex! What is YOUR name?" I swear, the woman did one of those cartoon double-takes.
Even though we are a Christian family, I had my concerns about a "Christian" school. This school shares the name of our chosen denomination, but the similarity to our own church ends soon after that. My major concern was discipline--all too often you find people and institutions espousing corporal punishment in Jesus' name, and that bothers me. A lot. I'm not going to get into a whole spanking/non-spanking debate here, but I do believe that the "spare the rod, spoil the child" verse from Proverbs is one of the most mis-interpreted verses in the Bible (take this, of course, with a grain of salt, since this is MY interpretation). I feel that this "rod" is a reference to the shepherd's crook, or staff, which was used not in a punitive manner, but rather to gently guide errant sheep by way of blocking their path, directing them onto the right way, and occasionally tapping them to get their attention, and if need be, using the crook on the end to "hook" a sheep to keep it from danger. That's my take.
So it was with a great vested interest that I scoured the application/contract for the new school, and was hugely relieved to find my concern specifically addressed under the section on discipline thusly: "Corporal correction: We will NOT administer corporal correction to your child." *WHEW*. That would have queered the whole deal, as far as I was concerned. And the next issue very nearly did, but we're going with it for now.
You may have already guessed this next "issue." Yep, the dreaded Dress Code. K-3 students do not have to wear the official (and aesthetically hideous) uniform of the school, but they do have to adhere to a dress code. Which means dresses or skirts every day for girls. NO PANTS. Ever. And of course, no shorts, and no dresses or skirts whose hems fall above the knee. I gotta admit, this caught me off-guard, since we're dealing with three-year-olds. Who, exactly, would they be distracting by wearing pants or skirts with bloomers or even (*gasp*) shorts? Or, is it a matter of just getting the students used to this style of dress before they advance to the upper grades? I have no idea, but it rubs me rather the wrong way. Not to be able to wear cool, comfortable clothes when you live in the heat of Arkansas just seems wrong, especially for such little ones. BUT, it is what it is, and it's the price we're having to pay for a good scholastic experience, is what I figure. We can tough it out for two years of Pre-K, and as for Bella, she LOVES dresses, and is totally stoked that she gets to wear a dress to school EVERY SINGLE DAY OH MY GOSH IT'S A DREAM COME TRUE AND SHE IS A PRINCESS!
Now, here's my immediate concern on this issue: Where in the world do you FIND dresses or skirts for little-bitty girls that are that length? Almost everything I see (and certainly everything Bella already has) that is casual enough to play in for that age-range is short, usually with bloomers or shorts that match for underneath. JenB gave us a beautiful green flowered dress a few months ago that will be perfect (especially since it will actually fit now), as it is a long, sweeping affair that makes Bella want to twirl until she hurls. Is that a Canadian phenomenon, the long, pretty dresses? Moms, if you have ideas on this, let me know. Starting next year, she'll have to wear the glorious stiff, ugly jumper, but after that it's on to public school and wardrobe relief. I'm thinking, possibly, of some Naartjie combinations of dresses with capri-pants underneath...which is probably stretching the rules, but what can I say--I'm a rebel. I'm already planning a pants-based outfit for her for dress-up day.
OH--and the funniest part of the dress code for Pre-K girls? "No pantsuits." No PANTSUITS? I ask you, WHERE in the WORLD are people finding PANTSUITS for PRESCHOOLERS? This just slays me. I am, of course, envisioning tiny polyester ensembles in pastel colors, with metal buttons and Sans-A-Belt slacks.
And we saw the surgeon today to talk about my traitorous body, and what we're going to do to it. I have to say, my surgeon is a sweetheart, and very kind, and very anxious to end my pain. So the hysterectomy will happen soon, and I am aswirl with confusion and anxiety and sadness and regret and fear and trepidation...and a little bit of relief. He assures me that, even though this surgery will undoubtedly leave behind microscopic traces of endometriosis, that suffering through at least 6 months without estrogen replacement following the surgery will cause the remaining endo to basically shrivel up and die. This runs counter to what I thought I knew, so I'm doing some further research and trying hard to believe this. And there is a new drug, whose name escapes me at the moment, which is supposed to protect against osteoporosis and breast cancer, but without the risk of estrogen replacement...could be that I could take that indefinitely, if I can stand the hot-flashes.
Thank you to all you lovely people who have responded to my plea for recipes; I'm organizing them and copying them to a central location, and they're so lovely that I'm thinking I just might have to journal them on flickr as I make them (or as Alex makes them, as the case may be).
And speaking of Alex, he has posted pictures of his potato-cannon masterpiece on his rarely-updated blog, and I also have them up on the flickr site, with notes. Stop by and admire his handiwork. It shoots potatoes. Really far.
Oh, and my California peeps? If you are close to a Naartjie store, hit up the sales for me, wouldja? Size 4. I'm good for it--have PayPal, will be grateful!