January 7, 2011

On My Mind

I'm having BAD DREAMS about fish dying. Last night I dreamed that one of our minnows died, and I knew it was because the water in the tank was toxic, so I tried to rescue the remaining minnow but I had nothing to scoop her up with so I had to use my hand (ICK ICK ICK), and then I put her in my water glass BUT OH NO THERE ARE ICE CUBES IN THERE AAAAAAAAAAA! Anyway. Fish stress.

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I found some Bath & Body Works lavender-vanilla conditioner on eBay for a price I considered MOSTLY reasonable (original price + reasonable mark-up for being hard-to-find + shipping + I really want it) so I bought it. But EVENTUALLY there will be no more lavender-vanilla conditioner left to buy. And I've tried other lavender-vanilla scents, and none of them are what I like. And what if Bath & Body Works DISCONTINUES THE ENTIRE FRAGRANCE??? Well. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, worry-wise.

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The definition of insanity needs to be changed from "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" to "Reading blogs that trigger rage reactions."

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I know it seems early, but this is the month to register for 2011-2012 preschool, so I have to decide if Henry is going or not. He'll be four years old this fall. The other four children will all be in full-day school.

Pros to preschool:
  1. Otherwise it's just me and Henry all day long.
  2. Social interaction with peers, instead of with siblings who think of him as a baby.
  3. Experience with an authority figure other than his parents.
  4. Fun stuff we don't do at home.
  5. Learning to do citizen stuff like stand in line and raise his hand.
  6. Me getting some time with no kids in the house.

Cons to preschool:
  1. $365/month for 10.5 hours/week.

I don't know how to decide. The money is POSSIBLE but not COMFORTABLE. Would it be better used elsewhere? We could make several extra payments on the mortgage with that. But I'm not social so he wouldn't get peer interaction elsewhere. Rob went to three summers and two school years of preschool, but he had social and articulation delays that caused not one, not two, but FOUR professionals (pediatrician, two speech therapists, pediatric neurologist) to press upon us the importance of preschool. William went to one year of preschool, but I don't remember our reasoning. Probably something like "We paid so much for Rob, it seems like William should go for at least one year." The twins didn't go, because $730/month was not possible for anything that wasn't saving someone's life. But we just made the last payments on our car, so the money for Henry to go is temporarily freed up (I've noticed that waiting too long to redirect the money causes it to absorb unnoticeably into the budget).

44 comments:

Erica said...

I think that reason #6 is plenty good enough to justify the expense. You haven't been alone in your house on a regular basis in HOW MANY YEARS?

Melissa said...

Pre-school is how much!!?!? Where I live the most expensive is $85 and the cheapest is $65. We went for the one that was $75 a month for 6 hours a week.

Amy --- Just A Titch said...

You should talk with someone at your local Bath & Body Works about the scent. I wore Plumeria religiously for YEARS and when it went away, they told me that there are 2-3 weeks each year when they bring back all the old scents. Also, if you have a B&B outlet near you, those are a gold mine. Good luck!

StephLove said...

Are there any co-operative preschools in your area? That can bring down the expense considerably. We are paying less than that for 15 hours a week in a part of the country where I suspect the cost of living is higher. You do have to volunteer in the classroom, though, and attend meetings. Would your social anxiety allow for that? Just a thought.

I do agree reason #6 is an important one.

Jenni said...

It might be nice for Henry to have his own thing, you know?

Christy said...

I'm glad you're bringing this up (preschool). I can't decide yes/no for my youngest, who could start 3 year old preschool in the fall. Registration is now, or all the spots fill. I'm leaning away from preschool altogether, considering story time at the library/tumbling class/soccer as alternatives.

Starsatnight said...

If giving you some time is a prime consideration (and I believe it is TOTALLY valid), is there a more cost-effective option that would still be fun and special for Henry? I used to work at the local YMCA, and we did a totally non-academic craft-gym-swim program that lasted just over 2 hours for 4-year-olds. Parents could sign their kiddos up for 1 to 5 mornings a week. Some used it in place of preschool. And honestly? It totally covered your reasons 1 -5, too. Final note: I am now a kindergarten teacher, and am not convinced that "Real Preschool" preps (typically developing, low-risk) kiddos for school any better than that YMCA program did.

St said...

I like the idea of one year of preschool before the kids start Kindergarten. I second Steph's question about co-ops. We pay $195/mo for Kindergarten (cheaper for Pre-K) for 13 hrs/wk.

Marie Green said...

I know that by now, you've probably explored all the other available options, and I saw on twitter than there was one that was more of a Sunday School (NO, don't go there), but are you really sure there's no other option? I mean, besides the $365 one and the Sunday School one? Because SOME preschool would be better than none, even if it's not the "preferred by the school district" one...

But $365 is way over-priced, I think. I know it varies WILDLY and depends on region/city etc, but we pay $100/month for Montessori preschool for 3 mornings/week (about 8 hours). I know that it's a screaming deal (one of the few perks of Tiny Town!), but wow. $365!!

I honestly don't know what I would do, except try to find a different one.

Jess said...

I CANNOT GET OVER the cost of preschool. I mean, I have seen that full-time INFANT childcare is expensive, which is still very painful but at least makes MORE sense given the very low student-teacher ratio required for infant care, but PRESCHOOL GAH.

Denver offers some public preschool options that cost money but are heavily subsidized so they are WAY cheaper than private preschool. They have half-day and full-day options for kids starting at age three. I wonder if your area has anything like that? Though of course I imagine if your area DID offer something like that you would probably already know about it.

Beth said...

I am on the other side of Melissa's comment "preschool is how much?" I think we have discussed this very topic here before but in D.C. (where I am) we pay almost $1000 (one thousand) a month for 23.5 hours a week spread over 5 days. Six of those hours are considered "after care" and it is a private language immersion program but, still, the wide range of costs for pre school is shocking. we do use pre school as our only form day care when we are both at work. Very lucky to have 2 parents w flexible schedules because any additional outside paid care would be tough.

Christina said...

Why is preschool so expensive? Is it private school? I pay $118/month for public preschool, but Catholic school was about the same price around here. Eeks! I will be paying that much next year for kindergarten and up, but preschool? Yikes!

Jen said...

Stage 1 of fish ownership is the dreams. The damned dreams. I have them almost every night. It's my own fault though because I spend countless hours watching the fish and thinking about the fish and googling things like "why does my fish have stringy, clumpy poop".

Reading blogs that trigger rage reactions? I do that too. At least I did until I started spending all my time reading about fish poo.

L said...

It's hard not to read the rage making blogs. My computer refuses to load one crazy making blog, and another one my computer automatically closes the tab in explorer and won't let me read. It's like my computer is a trusted friend looking out for my best interests.

bluedaisy said...

Preschool rates vary so much from place to place...and you have to be comfortable with where you send your child. I switched our boys b/c it would have cost me $360 for TWO in preschool, older boy for 3 days/2.5h per day and younger for 2 days/2.5h. Switched to where they go 3 days for 2h per day (same days, at the same time so less commuting for me) & it is $205...if I add one day per week lunch bunch, it's $120/semester. I really loved the old preshool but was unwilling to pay their rates..now I love the current one even better. Hope you come to a decision that works for you but I am pro-preschool so that's my vote :)

squandra said...

That IS expensive! Tough decision.

Is there any added income to factor in -- and subtract from the cost? Could your time alone each week allow for more freelancing? Would you want to do that?

shygirl said...

About the lavender vanilla, you could just find a vanilla conditioner you like and then add a couple drops of lavender essential oil-- you can usually get it at the nearest health food store (or online, of course). Lots of essential oils aren't safe to use in contact with the skin, but lavender is gentle enough that it's perfectly fine. And you really do only need a few drops to scent an entire bottle of conditioner!

Bratling said...

wow. That's steep. I know there are public preschools around, but I don't know what they cost in your area or here, even. We're still taking care of my niece, and she's not yet old enough. Most of her companions are adults right now. She does spend two hours a week in nursery at church (free) and we take her to story time at the library, and she plays with her cousins sometimes, but other than that... Well, she's still an only child until late April/early May. I will say that considering how much she loves books that I'll have her reading well before she's of an age for preschool. :) Then again, I also have a degree in early childhood education...

Raisin'Cookies said...

There's no way we could afford that, so it would be out of the question for me.

You're a good mom, and I'm sure he gets a lot of stimulation and fun stuff to do at home, even if it's just the two of you. I never went to pre-school when I was four, and pretty much no one my age did. I think it's a recent thing, to think that it's completely necessary for the rest of a child's education. Not that it's a bad thing, I just don't think that it's an essential thing.

I'd rather have the money to pay off the house faster, if it were me. But I'm a bit obsessive about house payments.

Lisa said...

I am reading with insane jealousy the cost of what people are paying to send their kid to preschool. When we lived in South Jersey, I spent $175 per month to send my son 5 mornings a week to a great church preschool, and I considered it well worth the money.

Then we moved to North Jersey and I spent $1120 (!!) per month to send him 5 days (all day from 9 to 3). Also well worth the money, but ouch. (In a 45 day span that summer my husband came down with a weird illness and was hospitalized, I had our third baby, we sold our house, and moved 100 miles north. My 4 yr old was a giant bundle of freaked out rage, and we felt he could really use the structure and attention at a small preschool. I also really needed a break from spending 24/7 being the focus of all the rage. We had to dip into our savings to do it, but worth it.)

That was the cheapest of all the preschools around here, btw. I would like to send our 3 year old this year for 3 mornings a week, and that's also $450. (They won't take him before he's potty-trained, so I guess he's saving us some money by refusing to use the potty.)

Swistle said...

StephLove- Sadly no. Where we used to live, coop preschools were totally the NORM---like, that's what a regular preschool was, or you could go with the unusual no-parent-involvement kind if you were a working parent.

Christina- Yes, they're all private; no public preschool here.

CARRIE said...

Holy cow! That is a chunk of change! The preschool G will go to in the fall (for 3-year-old program) is $95 a month for 2 days (9:00-11:30). I knew it was cheap, but now I know it is REALLY cheap.

I can't help think of Elaine Bennis' SPONGE issue whenever I read about your lavender/vanilla issue....I'm sure someone already mentioned this.....but I comment before reading comments.

Beth Wolfe said...

I am really interested in all this preschool talk! I just assumed that everyone went to pre-school- I never really thought of it as optional. (I went as a kid, so I guess that's why). Since my husband and I both work, though, pre school became our most attractive option once my daughter was about 3. Her in-home daycare became mostly smaller kids, so she was ready for something new and more engaging. As it turns out she'll end up going to pre school for 3 years since her birthday is too late for Kindergarden next year (she won't be 5 until October). I am one of the commenters with high cost pre school ($1000/mo) but I do love having her there, and already (in her second year) she'd become pretty proficient with her second language (it's an immersion school) so I think it's worth the cost. ALL the pre schools in our area are expensive, I've never seen anything in this area on the "cheap" side so it's either expensive pre school or expensive day care.

d e v a n said...

That really is so expensive. Do they have an option where he could go 2 days instead of 3? Maybe that would be cheaper enough to not feel so shocking.
Otherwise, even though it's pricey, I would still probably do it.
(since you said the money is possible. Obv not if it was like, grocery money.)

Nicole said...

Wow, that is really expensive. It seems like it would be worthwhile for all the reasons you list, but that is a lot of money. That is double the going rate around here!

Also, I love your definition of insanity. I just recently discovered a blog - an eco, go-green blog - and just about died from the judginess.

Farrell said...

If you can afford it, I would send him. Your pros outweigh your cons.
I paid $700/mo. for preschool/full-time day care. That was 5 days a week, all day while I was working.

Bunnyslippers said...

A part time place in a daycare or dayhome might be a reasonable alternative. He'd still get the extra social interactions with kids his age and it might be a tad cheaper.

Ginny said...

Just to warn you: ever since I had a betta fish in college, dead-fish dreams have been my Preferred Subconscious Expression of anxiety about responsibilities I was neglecting. Including a dream where literally hundreds of dead fish rained from the sky all around me.

Anonymous said...

B&BW will likely always make their Lavender Vanilla Scented Oils, and I'm not sure, but this link seems to say that they still carry the product you want (conditioner) in the scent you want -

http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2640515

Please clarify if I missed something.

Swistle said...

Anonymous- That link took me to a scent called Moonlight Path. Did you get the link wrong? The conditioner I'm looking for is their Lavender-Vanilla.

Siera said...

I'd go with with preschool for the socialization and and kindergarden prep. But ZOMG I can't believe how much it costs. I was going to suggest looking at others, but it seems everyone else has.

Swistle said...

Siera- Yeah, I know! And, I looked at all the local preschools: this one is not the cheapest (the cheapest is a church-affiliated preschool that incorporates religious education), nor the most expensive (that honor belongs to the Montessori preschool), but it's the same (within $25/month) of all the no-agenda preschools. It's just expensive here for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Swistle- You're right, it's Moonlight Path, I'm sorry. I must not have read the title.

They will probably not stop making their scented oils, so you could probably put a drop or two of the lavender vanilla oil into a plain, unscented conditioner that does what you like to your hair (volume, moisture, body, etc).

Adding a few drops of their body wash or hand soap to another conditioner might also do the scent trick without weighing your hair down.

Oil:
http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2640503

Hand soap:
http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4051515

Body wash:
http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3237026

There's also the hand cream - I don't know if you wear lotion, but that might be a simple way to get the scent to last and envelop you without you having to mix things.

Hand Cream:
http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2906780&cp=2484525.3608632.3527364.4191873&isCrossSell=1

Sorry so linky!

drhoctor2 said...

I kept my people home with me barring day care needs..I'm not so much for preschools. I could get a family membership at the Y for that amount of money and send everyone swimming and stuff. I doubt I could get past the 300 plus tab for 10 hours a week. Then again, you know your kid best.

D said...

I have debated putting my future 3 year old in preschool next year. I think he will need something when his older brother goes to K next year (our first to start school and it is all day school). What I hope to do is start a coop preschool with three other moms (I have two on board). We will have lessons once a week on Tuesdays and rotate who teaches each week (so we each get three Tuesdays to run errands and be less one kid and then one Tuesday a month of responsibility). And then every other Thursday we will do a field trip (siblings welcome since the other moms and I will all have 1 year olds as well). Hope you find the best solution for you!

SIL Anna said...

That preschool sounds cheap compared to prices here! I would totally do it, for #6 alone.

Auntie G said...

If you decide on preschool, how long are you locked into sending him? Not that cost doesn't matter, but your pros are all quite solid and the decision would be an easy yes if the price were less, correct? So maybe the compromise is to try it with the intention of reassessing those benefits and also the impact on your family budget after, say, 3-4 months. I often make difficult decisions by setting a time limit for myself and remembering that while it's not always simple, few decisions are truly irreversible, if I make the wrong choice.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

Ugh - the fish dreams sound awful. I hope they stop happening quickly.

And I hate when B&BW discontinues a scent. I loved their jasmine grapefruit lotion and then it went away and I was very sad. But I have had some luck at the sales they have once or twice a year, when they dig up old inventory and offer it for $2 or $3 a bottle.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't pay that money for 10.5 hours weekly of non-kid time, especially knowing he'll be in Kindy the following year. I mean, if the "non-kid time" is the deciding factor... which it's probably not I realize. If socialization and/or something else he could get in preschool is lacking, then sure.

I forget what I pay exactly for preschool (I get one bill for 3 kids, two in older grades, 1 in preschool), but it's definitely under $200 monthly for MWF 9a - 2:10p (so 15.5 hours weekly).

Sorry to hear preschool is so spendy there - yikes!

Nowheymama said...

Ooh! I like Auntie G's suggestion. And Devan's.

Yeah. Am I helpful or what?

Suzanne said...

About the fish if you can get live plants in there it helps to maintain the water because it helps keep the water balanced.

I have had fish tank nightmares too especially right after my niece dumped an entire can of fish food in the tank and we watched the fish die one by one for about 2 weeks. And then after all the fish were dead we discovered one tiny new born baby fish, but it died too. I swear I had guilt induced nightmares for months after that. And, no, I am not a vegetarian or anything. Just apparently very soft-hearted about animals, even freaking neon tetras in my possession.

Joanne said...

I have only sent one to preschool, and that was when she was 2.5! It's probably more for a four year old, which I hadn't even thought of. We pay $107 a month for 4.5 hours a week (two mornings). It's at a Y so that's the cost for me as a member. Anyways, I did it because my third is only 16 months younger and I never spent any time with just her. Also my first has autism and I feel like it's good for my middle girl to play with some typical boys. The thought of being alone in the house, though, is VERRRRRY tempting. Also, I think it's good for them to do something before going off to Kindergarten, especially around here, where all K is a full day.

honeybecke said...

I used to love one of the BBW scents and they discontinued it and I was lamenting this to a salesperson about a year after the fact and she said that pssst, sometimes they bring back the exact same scents just with a NEW NAME. So you could always ask?

Anonymous said...

I am a huge fan of preschool for reasons already mentioned above. Since you'll be kid-free if you send him, could you find some part-time work? I don't recall if you ever worked or ever wanted to, but is that something to consider?