I've spent the past two days putting together the boy's application for pre-preschool. I'd like to point out that the baby just turned 1. They start 'em early around these parts.
I know we covered this ground last year (the first time we applied - when he was all of 2 months old) but the NYC school system is a monster. There aren't enough schools to go around so competition is fierce. Most preschools make applications available only one day each year - people actually take off work to wait in line. Preschools require essays, interviews, even letters of recommendation. Luckily our preschool only asks for an essay and a significant amount of family commitment. (Representation at three general membership meetings, a total of 6 hours of fundraising if you have one child enrolled in the school, and 1 additional hour for each sibling, parent aiding in the classroom, service on a committee, and participation in 1 workday for 2 hours.) If I had my druthers I'd hold off on schooling (I don't think I started until I was 3. Matt never even went to preschool) but it became clear quick that that wasn't an option. If you want to get your kid into a good high school (versus the one down the block with the metal detectors and stabbings and constant police presence) he needs to go to a good middle school. Unlike the Midwest where you just went to whatever school happened to be closest, here schools don't funnel into other schools. Just because you went to grade school in a certain district doesn't mean there'll be a place for your child in the middle school, so jockeying for position is vital. High schools work with favorite middle schools, which work with favorite grade schools, which work with favorite preschools, and it's almost impossible to get into the school of your choice without faculty calling in favors. Our preschool is very desirable - it's hard to get into it unless you're there from the beginning - which is why I've spent the past 48 hours putting together the best damn pre-preschool application this city has ever seen.
Good times. Good times.
In other news, large amounts of cuteness (and stabs at independence) happening lately. The babe has discovered that if he pulls himself up on the loveseat he can inch towards the cats, which is what he spends every waking hour doing. (Sometimes he gets super excited and forgets that he has to move his feet and ends up in a face plant but hey, he's trying.) He's also discovered his love of song. "Hey Jude" is a real winner, what with all the baby-friendly LA-LA-LA's (or YA-YA-YA's since he can't pronounce his L's) but anything will do. He points to the iPod and bounces up and down until I turn something on. I'm trying to avoid kiddie music, although I do have a soft spot for Dan Zanes. I know there's good stuff out there (They Might Be Giants' latest comes to mind) but I figure if we get him used to our music it'll help mold his tastes during the teen years. I might just be fooling myself, but it's better than listening to Elmo.
Speaking of, I am pleased to report that the boy wants nothing to do with that giggly little fucker. We have a hand-me-down Elmo book that I was loathe to introduce but my inability to rid myself of anything meant certain discovery. One of the biggest reasons I haven't introduced Sesame Street (aside from my whole "No TV until age 3" rule) is my intense dislike of Elmo. It's not that he's not cute - I'm not made of stone - but there's something about him that drives me over the edge. (Don't get me started on Dora The Explorer.) Of course the other day I found the boy leafing through the Elmo book, staring intently at the pages.
That's my boy! I love Grover (second only in my heart to Gonzo) and will gladly purchase that adorable blue monster any time. (Although if anybody has a no-longer-loved Grover lying around...) I'm still not sold on watching Sesame Street (it's only a matter of time before Elmo takes hold) but I did add Sesame Street Classic to the Netflix queue.
For the record, we're still on the bottle. I just don't have it in me to wean yet. I know, I know - better to do it now than later - but it just doesn't feel right. He's doing great with the cup, though. He'll even drink cold milk out of it. (No where near the 16 oz. he's supposed to have, but at least it's a start.) He's also experimenting with two-syllable words and very much enjoys telling us the new names of things. Luckily everything happens to be called a DUN-ya so it's easy to remember.