Friday, May 2, 2008


After no small amount of effort, I managed to assemble the paperwork for K's preschool application and got it in the mail in time. It wasn't a hard application, per se, just long and a bit eccentric. The only things K really needs to qualify for preschool is to 1) be three by the time school starts, and 2) live in Philadelphia (check and check! Whether or not she gets in is an issue of space, and preference is given to older children), so there was only so much paperwork to fill out relevant to those issues. But government paperwork can never be simple, so they had to hit me with some mildly bizarre social development and nutrition questionnaires. On the nutrition questionnaire, for instance, they were asking how often we fed K various kinds of foods. But the lists were a bit odd; one was "Green vegetables, carrots, broccoli" for instance. Um, isn't broccoli a green vegetable? Why did pasta and tortillas get put in one question but bread in a different one? Like I said, slightly bizarre.

The social development questionnaire stymied me for a while. They wanted to know when K passed certain milestones, except the milestones they chose were very difficult to pin down. Like "Understands language." Do you mean when she first began to understand simple words, or when it became clear that her receptive language had expanded to the point that she understood a lot of what we said to her? Or the really hard one, "Feeds and dresses self." First of all, those are two completely different milestones, accomplished at wildly different ages. Babies can often start feeding themselves finger foods by 8 or 9 months, while many children can't still can't completely dress themselves without help by the time they're three. Second, what you mean by feeds self? The first time she was able to rake a piece of food into her mouth? When the majority of her meals were self-fed finger foods? When she started using a spoon?

Gah. I hope the preschool itself will be worth the hassle. I'm quailing a bit at the thought of my baby starting full-day school, but at the same time, this is a golden opportunity for a large chunk of free child care. I passed on the opportunity to apply for three part-time jobs this spring because when I crunched the numbers, I would have wound up working 30-35 hours a week to take home $300 a month after paying for daycare. That's just not worth it. I'm sick of being caught in the trap of needing two incomes but not being able to afford working outside of the house. I'm so burned out on Ebay, but nothing else makes money without having to pay for daycare. Maybe we could actually get ahead a bit financially if we can get K into a free preschool.

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