The Preschool Hunt

So Murali and I are on a mission. To enroll Abhi and Achu into a preschool. I have such mixed feelings about sending kids out to a school. But, I have to say, I am doing much better than I did when I first used to think of it. My kids, out there in the world; No one I trust to keep an eye on. Outside the comforts of home. What if someone hits them? What if someone is mean to them? What if they don’t eat? What if no one understands what they want? I would just start silently crying a bit whenever I think of it. At least now, I guess, since I am busy with the process of actually finding a school, I seem to be doing better, but, only the days to come will tell how I will feel. Even now, I can’t think of the day when we say goodbye to our nanny and land at the school. Its going to be such a big change for all of us.

Until now, I have to say, we have enjoyed the comforts of keeping Abhi and Achu at home. From the time I went back to work, we had a nanny. It was much easier to deal with kids and chores this way. Our nanny P currently works for us for extended hours. I don’t have to go through the hassle of getting them ready, feeding them, dropping them off at school, pickup on time etc. We didn’t have to worry about kids catching cold from someone else or worrying about backup care of staying home if they were sick. Murali and I could even do late afternoon movies, early dinner, finish our shopping etc., before coming home. It is so convenient.  Soon, we will lose all this.

Abhi and Achu will be turning three this July. I guess it’s already time they go to a normal school. You know, at this age, they could use some discipline changes and social interactions. But, we postponed it as much as we could. Then, we thought of enrolling them in preschool as soon as they turn three. Now, I think we are in favor of waiting until Summer is over and start school in Fall, since that will give us the flexibility during the summer days. Last summer, we didn’t go out much because of work, new home etc. But, this time, we want to make better use of the summer days.

I have no idea how we are going to manage when this change happens. Murali is not available in the mornings. So, I have to get them ready, feed them breakfast, make lunch for them, pack it and drop them off at school. Phew, I feel tired just thinking about that. Then later in the evening, Murali has to go pick them up from school, give them some snack; Then the cooking, feeding, bathing. Phew! Phew! Phew! Murali and I talked about hiring a nanny who would pick up from school and take care of them (including bathing and feeding dinner) until we get home, but, you know, given how expensive these preschools are, I am not sure if we should afford nanny again. I thought it was better to have someone to cook and clean, since that is one of our major work items after we come home. If I didn’t have to cook (which I truly dislike), I will be okay with taking care of the kids. (Provided the cook option works out, you know. You can imagine, how hard it will be to find a cook who cooks south Indian food, will come home to cook and is affordable 😦 )

I am still not sure how I will manage the morning routine. When I am going to get ready? I cant just leave them out when I go get ready? And do I cook in the morning and pack their lunch? Or do I cook and prepare the boxes the night before? Of course, I want to cook in the morning. But, given that I am not a morning person at all (and that I don’t sleep well at nights), I am not sure, I can pull that off. Sigh! So many things to take care of. I am really going to miss the comforts of having a nanny.

Everyone tells me that when kids start going to school, they learn a lot and that will just feel amazing. I can imagine. But I am not too excited about it. Murali and I do some conscious effort to teach them things (well, not at a structured pace anyway), and I am okay with kids learning it slow (especially  given the comforts we will lose). We can’t work extra hours if we need to. No more movies or chaat, coffee breaks for us parents. Life is going to get busy.

We did start touring the schools and my, my  are these expensive? So far, we toured three schools. First one was the least expensive, but we didn’t like that school was very new and the teachers looked so young and inexperienced. Second one,  has been in business for some 7 years, is also expensive, looks decent, but apparently is not the type of preferred Montessori education. Third one, is the most expensive, has been in business for some 20 years, and is very popular. Apparently, the style of education here is more suited for three-year olds. This is one of those pay per hour school, where as the first two are flat rate.

I think we are leaning towards the middle one. All the schools are close to home, and I think for this year its okay to go easy on what type of learning they are going to receive and focus on getting used to the big changes ahead. Maybe in a year, when Abhi and Achu are a year older, we can move them to the popular school. I don’t know if I am being selfish when thinking about spending the money difference we will save between the schools on a cook and make our lives a little easy. I am not sure, if we should already be spending it on their early education or if that is even valid at this age. Third school also doesn’t do naps, and I am not sure if that’s okay for 3 years olds to not nap. When we skip naps now, Abhi and Achu want to sleep in the evening (if they are in a car). And that will of course impact their night-time sleep routine. May be we can alter that, but do we really need to put kids through that now? I know all the curriculums are focussed on teaching them in a fun way. I dont know if we want to be that particualr about what they learn or is it time already to focus on that?

Either way, we are in for some big changes ahead. We need to complete Abhi’s potty training and get started on Achu’s. If we don’t let kids sleep in their own bed room now, I cant do it for few weeks after they start going to school. I know I have seen changes like these with kids before and we did okay. When we were coming back from India, I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage kids, home and work without having Murali around. We survived that. Maybe this will be okay too. But you know, Huhhh! We will see how it goes.


7 thoughts on “The Preschool Hunt

  1. So it will fall into place. Do get the cook. It eases a lot of stress. If I didn’t work from home, not sure how I would fare with this whole thing either. I make dabbas at night…I can stay up quite late but not wake up early. I follow a strict table of combos that work and are quick and I use them in rotation. I know this is really expensive and for two kids it must be ridiculous, but if you somehow have a nanny help a few days in the evenings too, it will be great. But then maybe if cooking is off your plate with desi cook, you can have fun in the evenings with them. I get Bandar home around 5:30. We do smoothie, some snack and then dinner at 7 pm. Fruit. Teeth at eight and books before bed. So its fairly doable but you have to get into a routine. Good luck, this is an exciting phase. Also remember you can hire help if needed, the expense is for a short time, till they are maybe 4-5.

    1. Same here. I can stay up pretty late, but morning is not my time at all. And yet, no choice, right? 🙂

      Yeah. Its all a matter of settling down into a routine.

      I like your idea of smoothies. Good way to get more fruits (and secretly some veggies 🙂 ) in. I need to defn do this, since their intake is going to considerably go down. Thanks Pop. 🙂

  2. It all seems too much and sometimes it really is, but once you find your rhythm things will start to work like clock work. There is nothing wrong with making and packing lunch the night before. If you can find a cook or help for a couple of hours your life will get a lot easier.
    The other thing we do is call our nanny for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday. The kids love to have her and spend time with her, she loves to come and keep her connection with the kids and D and I get to take a break and spend some downtime after a stressful week.
    Hope things work out for you.

    1. I like the weekend idea. I know its not a luxury, but a necessity sometimes. 🙂 I am mostly going to go with night time packing as well, just shouldn’t mention this to anyone else 🙂 Thanks for the comment Comfy. 🙂

  3. Wow Abhi & Achu are already ready to begin schooling 🙂 I sure have missed out on a lot of your posts, but will catch up soon. I have to agree with the comments above that getting a cook will ease out things for you. From my experience I can say, it takes a while to get in the rhythm & to find out what works best for you & the kids. If is basically a start away 🙂
    Hope things go well for all of you.

      1. Exhausting is the keyword of parenting so trust it to be there no-matter how well you plan things, but in you’ll get so busy with the routine that you won’t have time to feel exhausted too 😀

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