Just Us Girls

Just Us Girls

...one SMC's adventures in single motherhood.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tiny picture post

K has new glasses and new prescription sunglasses, so we recently took some pics to send to Grandma and Grandpa:

In between switching glasses, she decided she had to mug for the camera:  "This is my sad face."  Which to me looks more mad than sad, but it's all good.  Really, this pic cracks me up whenever I look at it, since it's so "her".

K LOVES her books.  One morning while I was elsewhere in the house, she crawled into bed--way earlier than her usual naptime--and started looking at a favorite book.  It got too quiet for my liking, so when I went to check on her (again, WAY earlier than naptime, which she usually fights), I found this:

I just finished summer sewing project number four (after a sundress and top/shorts combo) last night, so again, took a few pictures to send to Grandma and Grandpa:

(Last picture:  love those little hands!)

Yes.  I admit it: I love to sew.  I've sewn a few things here and there in the recent past, but this summer it really hit me full-force.  My absolute favorite thing of this summer, LAME as it may be, (I don't care) is to break out the sewing machine after K has gone to bed, pour an ice-cold glass of raspberry lemonade etc, turn on the TV preferably to something like CSI, and work on a project.  This dress marks my very first buttonholes, pleats, and pleated pockets, and I kinda like how it turned out!  Room for improvement, of course, but all in all, not so bad.  But really, my favorite part of all of this is the process, taking a big piece of fabric, following the directions one step at a time, and actually turning it into something my girl can wear.  It's kinda magical to me.  :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

An interesting proposal

I was offered free preschool yesterday.  As an SMC on (obviously) only one income, it was mighty tempting. 

Miss K somehow managed to qualify for the Colorado Preschool Program, a program I registered for way back in January or February, when I was more concerned than I am now about her fine motor skills and how they might be impacted by her vision challenges (severe farsightedness).  At the time, I was told that it was a long shot because there most likely would be four and five year olds with bigger issues that would need to be resolved before they entered kindergarten, and K is only three.  In a nutshell, CPP is geared towards preschoolers who are considered to be "at risk" for a variety of reasons: living at the poverty level, being homeless, struggling with language barriers, and also having some sort of special needs (like vision) that might affect their success in kindergarten and beyond.  Most families qualify due to income, but not all, especially where special needs are concerned.

And we got in!  I just got the letter yesterday in the mail.  At first I was excited, because hey, it's free preschool!  And it does feel somewhat like an honor to qualify...hard to do at age three.  I was excited because it's an intensive program that coordinates with a lot of community resources to support the "whole" child.  It goes without saying that I want the strongest possible start for K, and this program really seemed to be a great way to go about it. 

But... (and it's a big but) it's only a half-day program, four days per week, held at an elementary school that is in the opposite direction from my workplace.  Doable, but certainly not convenient.  The website claimed that they partner with other daycare centers and home daycares for parents who need full-day care, but when I called today, I was told that they couldn't "advertise" daycares because it would be showing preference for certain ones.  (Wha?)  So it leaves me with the need to find afternoon caregivers who can pick K up from preschool, not to mention the impact it would have on K, needing to go to two different places every day (and the whole day on Mondays).  Not good. 

But the biggest reason I think I'm going to turn it down?  My dear girl is NOT actually an at-risk kid.  Not financially, cognitively, socially, or emotionally.  Not even because of her vision.  She's handling her glasses just fine, they correct her vision just as they're supposed to, and she's currently doing beautifully with her fine motor skills.  Some would say that my single parent status puts her at risk, but I strongly disagree.  It doesn't sit well to consider putting her into a preschool program where she'd be surrounded by other kids who have greater challenges (socioeconomic, behavioral, emotional, etc.) than she does.  This program requires two home visits per year by a "family advocate" (because they want to support the families as well as the kids) as well as a 90-minute home visit EVERY WEEK to do customized activities with the child.  Yeah, how am I going to find time for that?!  I'm not too excited about basically being treated like a family "at risk" for an entire school year, feeling like I'm living under a microscope, meeting with all these different people.  For a little while after I got the letter, I did consider forfeiting the registration fee I just paid for K's new preschool so I could go with this one, but now I'm content with my decision to keep her at the one we chose.  It's nice to feel like I made the right decision in the first place.  :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

She's on her way!

Preschool decision?  Made!
Potty training this summer?  Done!

Two big-ish things off my plate, and it feels darn good.  We got kind of a late start with the potty training thing, mainly (in my opinion) because I'm not a stay-at-home mom, and both I and K's daycare provider last year were quite laissez-faire about the whole thing.  It's hard to try to do one thing at home, and not have it reinforced at daycare.  But really, I don't think she was all that ready before June rolled around, to be honest.  We pretty much started the potty training gig as soon as school let out in late May, and I'd say she's probably 95 percent there.  She wears undies exclusively at home, sometimes a Pull-Up at night, and sometimes (if she'd had an accident recently) a Pull-Up when we went out, just for insurance purposes.  This whole growing up thing is kind of blowing my mind lately...but it's still all good.  Things are happening just the way they're supposed to.

I decided on the preschool program that is right across the street from my school, and we paid the registration fee yesterday.  The last one we visited, a church-based daycare/preschool, would have been a good second choice, but it was definitely bigger than the one we chose (infants all the way through school-age) and LOUDER too!  Those little three year old boys (and I'm sure some girls too, though I didn't notice them) were rambunctious!!  Turns out, it wasn't as inexpensive as I thought--it was a misprint on the website AND in the brochure...should have read ages 4-5 instead of 3-5.  But I really liked the people and the classrooms, and we even met a few little girls that the tour-giver thought might be good friends for K.  It was so sweet!  The preschool we chose has a fabulous playground, and since yesterday I've been talking it up to Miss K, telling her all about the fun she's going to have, the new things she's going to learn, and the new friends she's going to make.  I think she might even be halfway buying it...maybe.  She was intrigued yesterday by the fact that I was able to point to my school from the parking lot of "her" school...she can see that it's really close, and she comes to my school all the time, so I think that's at least a little bit reassuring.  This preschool is only $10 per week more expensive than the church-based one, $45 per week more than what I was paying last year, and we'll definitely make it work.  I'm getting excited, and it's great to know where she's going to be next year...finally!

So jeez.  I have less than a month to go (I go back on August 12th for "teacher stuff", then the kids have their first day on August 19th.  We still have to go camping, ride a new train in Cripple Creek (a small town quite close to us), finish sewing projects (the sewing bug hit me this summer HARD), finish reading a few school books and a few leisure books, keep going with swim lessons (another one this afternoon), continue working on my classroom--yes, I've already started!--continue gardening (new grass and flowers this summer!), and get the house in shape for a new school year.  I think I have plenty to keep us busy!  :)

The last truly big decision I have to make is what to do once my cycle starts up again, in a matter of days.  My RE said to just give him a call once it starts, and we'll go from there.  My friend Jennifer, who is a few years younger than I, had her baby girl in January via embryo adoption, and couldn't be happier.  In the months leading up to her embryo transfer, she and I both agreed that we have been praying for one of two things to happen: either we actually get pregnant, or we find a way to be content with not having another child, and to be content with the family we have.  I don't know if this is God's influence or what, but lately I've been feeling a little more okay (MAYBE) with us being a mother-and-daughter family, small as it is.  I'm really starting to question whether I want to put forth the expense, the emotional investment, and the heartache into trying yet one more time, especially at my age.  The jury is still out...I'm still leaning towards trying once again.  But it kind of depends on the day...no clear-cut answer yet.  I better keep praying.  :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Preschool conundrums (conundra?!) **EDITED**

Heavy sigh.

This is when a spouse or partner might come in handy.  I'm feeling some sense of urgency now that I only have a month (a MONTH!) left before the marathon that is a new school year begins again.  I need to make The Decision about where K will be every day while I'm back at work.  For the most part it's turning out to be a choice between the home daycare scenario where K was last year, and the preschool-type place that is basically across the street from my school.  I've actually written out the pros and cons on paper to try and figure out where I stand...it's still a tough call, no two ways about it.  And who is the person who has to make this choice?  Yeah, me.  Only me.  [another heavy sigh]

The main pros of Miss Jackie's are that it's a cozy, homey environment that K looooves, it's my comfort zone, I do like the moms who bring their kids there, it's VERY affordable (the main pro), and it's just more (for lack of a better word) intimate.

The cons include the fact that it's less academic than an actual preschool would be, last I heard, Miss Jackie wants to take on a young infant who is the sib of one of the girls who goes there, which I'm not sure is the best decision, I kind of get the feeling Miss Jackie is starting to burn out (she's been doing this daycare gig for a long time now), too much TV is watched there, and last year Miss Jackie didn't often include K (who was the youngest) in much of the pencil-and-paper, fine motor skills stuff the other kids were doing.

The pros of the Creative Play Center include the fact that it's much more academic, it offers a wide range of activities, themes, and field trips, the hours are better (it's open later than Miss Jackie's), the food is a little better, there are more opportunities for K to make friends, there are more teachers there, and they even offer ten vacation days per year for which I don't have to pay (this doesn't include the summer).  Great playground, too.

The cons of Creative Play are the COST (it's almost $200 more per month), it's a bigger environment (we visited last week, and K was more than a little shy and shellshocked), and I would be only one of many, many parents there--would I end up feeling like just another number?  If I have concerns, would I be heard?  Who knows.  I know that K would get used to it, but I do feel some guilt about possibly taking her away from a place she loves.  But that doesn't mean she wouldn't grow to love this preschool, either.

There are still a few places I want to check out, but after writing this out, I think the best choice is probably the preschool, and I would just have to suck it up and pay the higher amount.  The flip side of it, though (I really hate flip sides!) is that she has this year and next year before she heads off to kindergarten, so theoretically I could keep her at Miss Jackie's for another year and then send her off to preschool the following year, the year before she starts kindergarten.  I feel like I have to decide soon, not only to hold her spot wherever we pick, but also to get things settled in my brain.

In other news, I got the results of the blood tests from my RE, and if I choose to do it, all systems are go for another iui.  My hormone levels are all good, but that doesn't say anything about egg quality.  My RE asked me to give the clinic a call after my next cycle starts (in a couple of weeks) and we'll go from there.  He's talking about injectibles, and also DHEA, which apparently is one of the newest protocols for aging women like myself, haha!  The question is, am I up for it?  Should I just give up the dream already?  I know that deep in my heart, I do have one more try in me, even at the ripe old age of 43.  (Halle Berry, anyone?)  If my RE is up for it, which he is, maybe I am too.  I have noticed lately, though, that more and more I've been envisioning a life with just me and K, and it's starting to look kinda...great.  That might well become our reality, for better or for worse.

**EDITED to add:

This afternoon (Thursday) we're off to check out another preschool, which *might* be the best of both possible worlds: affordable AND with the advantages of an established preschool program.  It's also close to my school and my aunt's and uncle's house (in case they need to pick up K at any point).  The curiosity is killing me!