The sit down

A blog note

In the interest of maintaining whatever privacy we have left, I have removed the Picasa links from this page. I have replaced those links with a more anonymous Flickr Photostream, which you can view above. Friends and family are of course invited to continue viewing our public Picasa gallery. My name was attached to those links & perhaps that is not wise to just float through cyberspace unguarded. So... Sorry Steve, we now have a photostream, but hopefully by now you know how to get to Picasa. =)

I know you are all dying to know how my sit down went with school.

I met with one of the school director's yesterday afternoon. I made some small talk with her first, she's having a baby in March so it was easy to make friendly conversation. I was really impressed with the way I handled myself. I eased right into my concerns with little effort and as we sat down I saw a visible sign of oh sugar as she bit her lower lip. I started by telling her how satisfied we have been with their school overall, how we adore Sarah and Michelle and that it brings such great relief to see her light up when she sees them in the morning. My suggestion to provide more feedback was met with two comments; 1) the teachers are supposed to write a short note and 2) if I want to discuss her day with the teachers themselves I should feel comfortable calling in. I explained that the notes we receive are limited to her level of fussiness and if she was not fussy the comments section is three blank lines. I further explained that we are not always able to call in and that I know the teachers are busy and I'm not completely comfortable calling in and taking their attention from the kids. I am sure a mention of the empty note will get to her teachers. I am going to try to call in at least once a week and see what has been happening, how her day is, and to connect with the teachers about Caroline. I gave the example that Caroline holds a bottle on her own, which we only discovered when Steve picked her up a couple weeks ago. No one ever told us, who knows how long she has been able to do that?! Her response was excellent and brought me much relief. It is their policy NOT to share any information that might be related to a "first" and staff wait for the parents to tell them of said "firsts" before discussing them. What a GREAT policy. I can already feel my blood pressure slowing imagining that she is crawling all over the carpet there today and we are not there to witness it.

The second issue brought little satisfaction. She reiterated their illness policy and said that often parents do not tell them that their children are sick. Often the older children will tell the teachers that their mothers gave them medicine this morning and the teachers will go about 20 question style trying to figure out what ailment this kid brought in with them. There is a huge grey area, I know this, but I noted that there are certain children who seem to always come to school sick and how we feel like we are fighting a never ending cycle of sickness. She empathized, her own two children are also at the school and bring home whatever is going around. She reminded me how great her immune system will be when she gets to preschool, but that did little to comfort me. She liked my suggestion of fostering parent communication, but reminded me that the real offenders are not going to participate. If nothing else, I am hopeful that it will shame them in some way. I expressed my disappointment that we had not received a note in our boxes reminding parents of the illness policy, perhaps with some cold and flu signs etc. I suppose that is the social worker in me. Sure it sounds like another piece of paper to stick in the boxes, but in my experience reminding people of these things makes them take them more seriously. I even suggested that they perhaps include information about the importance of flu shots for children. Who knows what she will do with it. She was receptive, but understandably not able to make any changes that will make this much better.

I left on a good note, telling her that our overarching opinion of their service is positive. They got Caroline on a routine, she naps, she is a happy bubbly little girl, what ill will could I really harbor? I just wanted to voice the frustration I had felt while trying to comfort my poor sick baby with croup and I wanted to do it in a way that was not just a litany of complaints. I think she appreciated my tact? Who knows.

Caroline woke us up this morning at 4 am. Joy. She is not completely back on track yet from the weekend I suppose? She ate and then instead of falling back to sleep she wanted to play. She kept looking over at Steve smiling and squealing, reaching for him, clapping her hands. Cute, but not at 4:30. Nothing would get her sleepy. I put her in her crib for a bit, where she whined for about 10 minutes, sucked her thumb and eventually started rubbing her eyes. I heart the video monitor. Some quick bouncing after that and she was fast asleep. The whole family slept a bit late this morning, but she still got off to school on time. We definitely have found our morning rhythm.

We thought today was picture day. We got notice a couple weeks ago letting us know what day her classroom would be sitting for their holiday photos. Every kid gets photographed unless you request them not to and then parents can purchase the photos if they choose. So we figured sure, it might be an awesome photo. Go for it. I knew it was Wednesday and I was so paranoid about forgetting. Now what to dress her in right? We needed to find a balance between adorable photo worthy outfit and frilly little pink jobby that I would literally cry while applying stain stick to this afternoon. She looked really cute this morning and when Steve dropped her off Michelle stated, "Wow, she's dressed up." Picture day is NEXT Wednesday. What's the over under on us totally blowing off picture day next week or better yet, getting the proof of her wearing the somehow never matches secondary outfit reserved for accidents?


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