Aside from all the holiday hoopla, I'm neck-deep in childcare research right now. The latest on the school issue: I visited the local elementary school for which we are allegedly zoned this morning. It's not what I thought. It's a different demographic for sure -- skews primarily Latino and Armenian (I know, only in L.A.). I met the principal, who was friendly, approachable and very thorough, and she gave me a spur-of-the-moment tour, so I got to see the kindergarten classes in action. I saw one Asian boy and one African-American girl in the two classes I visited, and everyone else pretty much appeared to be either Latino or Armenian. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm used to a more even distribution of ethnicity at Viva's current school -- higher proportions of both Asian and African-American. (Yes, and they even have white kids, some South Asian and Middle Eastern kids there. Don't mean to leave anyone out...)
I think Viva would be fine here -- in fact, I'm pretty confident she'll excel no matter where she goes. She is a friendly kid and teachers always love her. She is just a bit sensitive and I hate to throw yet another change at her. Having said that, I liked the principal very much, and the front office staff was way more welcoming than at the school we thought we were zoned for. This is only the principal's third year at the school and she is implementing a lot of changes, including way more parent involvement, etc.
BUT (you knew that was coming): what I have discovered is that their free after-school program, LA's Best, has no openings. I can wait-list Viva (!!!) and look into a private after-school program which offers transportation to a part of Hollywood which is about 10 minutes away.
The other school, which shredded my hopes and dreams Friday, has a parent-led after-school program, and OF COURSE that program has an opening. One of the parents contacted me and was as sweet as could be, really very helpful. There is a parent meeting tonight and I should really attend just to connect with the other parents and get some advice, and at least sow the seeds for next fall. Trying to be pragmatic in the face of disappointment.
In closing: I could really scream. I can enroll her at one school with no after-care available, but not enroll her at the other one which has after-care spots. WHAT?
It's public school. Why is this so complicated?? I hate to say it, but no wonder people are fleeing the LAUSD in droves.
In other world news, I am also screening childcare centers and nannies in the hopes of finding the perfect infant care situation for my little screaming meemie. Although as Sweet Dub says, "How are you going to leave her with anybody?" Lord knows.
The latest from Viva, who I love with a fierce lovingness even though my sleep deprivation has led me to snap at her quite a bit (in my defense, she is being really trying on purpose):
"You know, that's really a bum." (She means it's a bummer, but I just can't correct her because I love it.)
And the obligatory kindergartener misspellings:
On Thanksgiving: "I'm thankful for my family and for being hatthe [healthy]."
As a caption to one of her drawings: "Theis is a ranbooe." [Translation: this is a rainbow.]
Here's to sunshine and lollipops and ranbooes.