Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Phone Calls

I spent the end of last week and the beginning of this week on a million phone calls (or at least it felt like it).  I started researching possible preschool options for Jake for the fall--he'll be 4.5 years old, so he still has another year before kindergarten.  I'm not actually a big fan of preschool in general, but I do see the benefits of it for a kid like Jake, mostly on the socialization/learning-the-school-routine side of things.  He's really only ever had Dan and myself as his teachers/disciplinarians/caregivers, and I think throwing him into full-day kindergarten in a year might really be scary for him.  Easing him into the idea of listening to a teacher and having a longer day where decent behavior is expected and required could be a really good move for my crazy boy.  I looked online for places with good recommendations, and the phone calls began--some were knocked off the list right away because they were crazy expensive ($288/week--are you kidding me???), some were knocked off because they don't have space for Jake, and some were knocked off because of the start time...a lot of preschools around here start at 9am, and I need to take Abby to her bus stop shortly before 9am, so it's not feasible for me be in two places at once.  Traffic around here is totally insane, so I need to factor that into my travel time in the mornings as well.  Ugh.  I have emerged from the preschool research totally overwhelmed with too many not-quite-viable options, and nothing that is the exact right fit for us.  I'm really tempted by a good preschool about 25 minutes (against traffic!) from us, but again, their start time for morning preschool is 9am.  They have room for Jake, and I know from a good friend that he would have an amazing, enriching experience there, and the price is right.  They offer an afternoon preschool, but of course that would be right in the middle of Alex's naptime--and you can't even register for the afternoon class until the morning classes are full...which they aren't yet, so technically, there is no afternoon session at this point.  Yes, my head is spinning, too.

why is this so hard to figure out?

Another round of phone calls involved my desperate search to find something to replace the exercise classes I've been taking once Dan starts his new job.  I love Zumba--it's a fun, great workout, and I hate to lose the momentum I've found taking that class.  I don't love step as much, but I do recognize that it's a good workout and has really helped me on this journey as well.  If I'm going to keep going to group classes, I need to either hire a babysitter and stick with my current classes, or find a place that offers childcare or really late classes (like after the kids go to bed kind of late).  The babysitter would seem like the most straightforward approach, but a babysitter for 3 kids at dinnertime would be really expensive.  I've also never left my kids with a babysitter before, so that causes me some anxiety--we've been fortunate that whenever we've really needed someone to watch our kids, we've been able to count on our families.  I'm not a working parent, so the need to hire a babysitter hasn't really existed--Dan and I don't get many date nights!  So not only would I have to adjust to a stranger watching our kids, but the kids would as well...and I know that would be tough.  Nothing like some mom guilt to go along with my exercise!

this idea is so appealing!

There are a lot of Zumba classes in my area, but they are expensive or a long drive (in that darn traffic again).  I finally found a gym that sounded like it might be right for us--it has a pool (and I love swimming, so that would be fun to add into my routine!), it offers step and Zumba and many other classes, and it has a great childcare area.  The catch?  It's a 30 minute drive from here--mostly against traffic, depending on when I would be trying to go.  I still thought it sounded enticing enough to at least go check it out after I talked to their membership director, so we all loaded in the car and went as a family this past Saturday.  I tried the two gyms closer to us last year, but the boys absolutely hated the childcare (and I don't blame them--the women working there were so weirdly not child-friendly!), so it didn't work out at all (literally and figuratively).  I hoped that having Abby with us when we introduced the boys to another gym childcare environment would help soften the blow for them--her presence is a comfort to them, and they often look to her for if she was fine with it, I hoped they would be fine with it, too.  We also told the boys that we were going to a Sport Center, and specifically never used the word Gym--I knew that would freak them out after the last experience!  We left the kids in the childcare room while Dan and I got the tour of the facility, and it was awesome--they just opened, so everything is brand new and super impressive.  The kids did well in the childcare room--no meltdowns or upset, although they did say they didn't want to go back...  That didn't make me feel warm and fuzzy about it--I was hoping they'd have a great time and be begging to go back, but I should just be thankful they didn't scream.

So there's a lot to consider with that gym.  I feel nervous about the drive--that's a lot of gas money, and will require a lot of motivation...I know some days (especially in bad weather), I'm not going to want to make the drive.  Their class times are also awkward for me--9:30am for Zumba, which I could probably make in the summer when I don't have to worry about the bus stop in the mornings, but apparently you have to get there early to secure a ticket for the class since it's so popular...and on school days, I won't be able to get there early.  It would really suck to drive 30 minutes for a class, only to find it full and not be able to take it!  They offer another Zumba class during the evening, but it's right at prime traffic time--that 30 minute drive could easily stretch to 2 hours, and there's no way I'm doing that.  It's a lot of money to spend on a gym membership about which I'm so unsure--although the place was great, I just don't know if it's the place for our family...which has me still searching for options.  I may end up buying some Zumba DVDs to do at home, and investing in my own step to use at home as well--although I'm really not happy with that idea, because even though working out at home is easy and free, I'm never "off-duty" from my job.  The best time to work out would be during the boys' nap/quiet time, but I'm still up and down the stairs a million times when Jake needs to use the bathroom or sticks something down his air conditioning vent that needs to be retrieved, or puts his Easter basket over his head to the point where he can't get it off (all those things have happened in the last week!).  I have to have one ear on the monitor at all times, so I couldn't zone out with my iPod.  That time would be stilted, stop-and-start, and definitely not good time to focus on myself and my exercise goals.  I could get up early before the kids in the morning, but since I would make a lot of noise with the jumping up and down and having the TV on, I would worry about waking them up and then having the same disruption problem.  And did I mention that I'm really not a morning person?  Dan thinks I should work out at night, but that's just about the last thing I want to do after the kids get to bed--I'm totally drained from the day.  So, that's all up in the air--still not sure what I'm going to do when Dan switches jobs in a few months.

two future Wahoos?

About the only fun, fulfilling phone calls I've made the last few days have been congratulatory calls to local high school students who have been accepted to my alma mater, the University of Virginia.  I would have loved that personal touch when I got into UVa (although I applied early admission, when the decision was binding--so they didn't have to waste resources on convincing me!), and I love being able to give that to future Wahoos.  A lot of the kids I called had already decided to attend, so it was mostly a quick love-fest about Virginia conversation--but some of the kids genuinely had questions, concerns, and were still deciding between schools.  I spent an hour talking to a kid who wanted advice about college in general--he asked me such varying questions regarding anything from the Freshman 15 to whether the classes would be a lot like high school size-wise to how to pick a roommate to dorm life.  I loved spending an hour giving him an introduction to UVa and what his life will look like in a few months, and I got off that call feeling like I had really made a difference to him--I hope that difference means that he picks UVa when his decision is made.  Those phone calls were invigorating--it's such an outlet for me to be defined not as a wife or a mother for a few hours, but as a college graduate with valuable information and a love for my school that I am excited to share.  Wahoowa!!  :)

No comments:

Post a Comment