Thursday, February 12, 2009

Plain old regular insanity

So...I may have mentioned before that I tend to have this vivid idiot morbid imagination. My tendency is to imagine things that never happen...except in horror novels, television shows narrated by Jon Walsh, COPS, Unsolved Mysteries, or Will Smith movies. More on this in a second... Here in Portland, it's Kindergarten Roundup time. For us, this entails numerous trips to all the schools we'd LIKE Milo to get into. Portland Public Schools work this way:
  • You can go to the public school to which you are assigned by district boundaries.
  • You can go to private school.
  • You can home school.
  • You can put your kid's name in a lottery for up to 3 public schools of your choice, including any public school not in your neighborhood, and something called "public charters", which function like private schools and focus on art, math, environmental living, or some other specialty.
  • You can sign up for demi-public school lotteries for some slightly MORE specialized charter schools. Their lotteries are held separately from the public school lottery.
Confused yet? Our local school is ok. But not all that great. Their test scores are low. Their primary focus is on ESL (English as a 2nd language). We'll register there, but we're hoping to get into one of our lottery schools. So, every couple of evenings, Jamie & I find someone to watch the kids while we go to these mandatory roundup and miscellaneous get-to-know-you meetings at the lottery schools. Our kids go to an amazing preschool with a zillion teachers per classroom, fenced property with secure entrances, organic food, lots of staff vetting and reporting. Here's what I've learned: Kindergarten is not like preschool. Kindergarten is all...just like it was when I went. Big open spaces; no locks or keycards or gatekeepers; big playgrounds, big kids, big expectations; one teacher per 20+ students. It's just overwhelming and my imagination goes into crazy-lady overdrive. On each of these tours, all I can think is: "This is where someone could just stand and shoot at the kids" "This is where the kidnapper would hide and nobody would notice him" "That teacher looks SO depressed. What if she shoots herself in front of the kids?" "WHAT? They grow their own vegetables HERE in this garden where anybody could come along and inject POISON into the EGGPLANT???" Milo is ready for kindergarten. He's nervous, but looking forward to it. Me? I'm going to sit on the street outside the building all day looking for poisoning suicidal alien vegetable nappers.


Squirky said...

Well, if Milo ends up going to your "neighborhood public school" (which I believe is the one up the street from our house...), it's very possible that David's kids will be going there too. So that might be kinda cool. But I hope he gets into the school you really want!

It all seems very overwhelming to me, and makes me kind of glad that I am "only" a "part-time-step-mom" so I don't really get to participate in any of these kinds of decisions. (But of course I would trade my freedom from this type of stress for the ability to have my own children any day.) (I hope that makes sense!)

Captain Dumbass said...

That's totally understandable, so maybe we're both crazy.

radishly said...

Here I apologize in advance.

oh god. And I thought preschool was bad. Somehow, and I know this is wrong, your "plain old regular insanity" sounds just as bad as the life and death variety. Maybe worse. Barf barf and puke. That is my contribution to this conversation. I've already apologized.

Aaaand, sob.

Also, good luck.

Finally, let me know if you want me to swing by while you visit one of these baby abattoirs.

elliesmadre said...

What schools are you in the lottery for? Our ex-housemate's daughter goes to Sunnyside and they seem to really like it. Thankfully we have some time before we need to freak out about this. But probably next year we will be. I am thinking we will just move to the neighborhood of the school we like. Or at least try to. :) Good luck!

Laufa said...

LOL! When you are stalking those special aliens, could you keep your camera handy? I think you could get a lot of money for that kind of thing captured on film or digial.
I think all Mom's are a little hesitant about sending their kids to school. Too bad we all can't be great teachers, so we could homeschool our kids - I would so lock my kids in their rooms, if I had to stay home with them.