But I digress.
At the point a few months ago when we were school-less, and I was spending my evenings crying over my wine at the thought of another year trying to juggle two children every day, I was having a really hard time convincing myself that everything does happen for a reason. I mostly just felt like a big failure raising a little loser who was bound to have a childhood and adolescence full of rejections and life on the unpopular list. In hindsight I see that this was a bit of a dramatic reaction to my kid not getting into preschool, but I'm still working through my PTSD brought on by all those formative years spent as a theater nerd/ugly duckling, so it's possible that I tend to blow things out of proportion just a tiny bit.
It turns out that you can only cry in your wine so long before your spouse threatens to have you committed, so I figured a few more school tours were far less traumatizing than a 72 hour stay in the local psych ward. I'm so glad that I managed to pull myself together, because we really did find the perfect school for Noah... and they actually accepted us.
I never would've known that this adorable institute of lower learning existed if we'd gotten into our first choice school, but here's the funniest part: it pretty much has everything we've been looking for in a preschool all along.
It's close to our house. In other places this probably wouldn't matter, but traffic in LA is so unbearably bad, that driving to a school even five miles away can take forty five minutes. The school is close enough that I can actually walk, assuming I ever get my sh*t together early enough to leave the house on time.
They offer a full day program (9am-3pm). This is surprisingly unusual for preschools. Many of them are only a few hours, or just three days a week, and they charge lots of extra money if you need to keep your kiddo there after the regular school day is over. If I want to, I can choose to pick Noah up at 12:30 or he can nap at school and spend more time with his little friends instead of at home abusing his sister.
It's affordable. We aren't going to be bankrupted by the tuition! And I love that the school doesn't seem to have a hand out for money every few weeks. I respect that these places have to raise cash for more crayons or whatever, but when tuition is in the neighborhood of $14k a year, it would really piss me off to have the school be hitting me up for extra money every few months. We're not exactly rolling in dough, so while I'm more than happy to volunteer my time or my writing skills, we can't be throwing extra Benjamins around because the preschool claims to need new nap mats.
It's small and cute. One of my biggest concerns with a few of the other schools we looked at was the size of the places. Everything was so big - the classrooms, the playground, the campus - and I worried that it would be overwhelming for Noah. I know that seems like rather an overprotective sentiment for a negligent mother like myself, but two-and-a-half year old kids are little, and that's really brought home when you see a tiny human standing next to a giant play structure. Noah's school is in a converted craftsman house, and the playground is perfectly sized for little kids. There's even a sandbox, because nothing says "developmental play" quite like throwing sand at one's peers.
Honestly, I'm actually really happy with where Noah ended up. I know it's rather out of character for me to be such a glass half full kind of gal, but I think in the end it has worked out for the best. I just hope the place isn't all rainbows and sunshine, or I won't have anything to complain about next year, and that would never do.