Sanity is Totally Overrated

I am not kidding: put me in a straightjacket. This house is now, officially, a loony bin.

Not that you didn’t know already that our family was crazy, but after the decision Bill and I made the other day, it’s clear that I am unequivocally and certifiably CRAZY. Like, straightjacket crazy. I need to be committed.

Okay, so… School started about two weeks ago. This year, Bill and I decided (for various reasons which are rather complicated and not very amusing, so I won’t bore you with the details) that the 9yo and the 6yo should attend public school rather than returning to their beloved Montessori school, where we’ve been attending for the past seven years. Obviously, this was a huge decision, and very emotional, as we adore the community of parents and children and teachers at our old school; but, it’s a decision that we feel needed to be made, and we are at peace with the decision, and everyone, quite shockingly, seems to be quite content with the whole thing…

Crazy is as crazy does?

First day of school, first day of school! (Please notice: my kids do crazy WAY better than I do…)

Except for maybe me…

It’s not that I don’t love the new schools – I do; everyone is so nice, and the teachers are fantastic, and I love that the schools are so close to our house that we can and do walk back and forth (well, until the rains start again – I might like living in wet Seattle, but I’m not that hardcore). And it’s not that the kids are having any difficulty adjusting to their new environment or classmates or homework schedules (okay, well, nobody likes homework, but the grumbling is to be expected and hasn’t reached nuclear meltdown stages… yet… so I’ll take what I can get); heck, both kids still run – RUN!! – into school every morning, and not because they’re late (who knew this much excitement about school was even possible?!).

No, it’s the fact that there are schools involved – schools with an s, plural schools, as in more than one. And schools, plural, is, well, crazy-making, at least for me. And here’s why: because the 4th grader goes to school (a 15-minute walk south) from 8:30am-2:35pm, and the 1st grader goes to school (a 10-minute walk west) from 9:30am-3:35pm. Okay, I know that’s a lot of numbers, but did you catch that? That’s two different drop-off times, and two different pick-up times; each drop-off and pick-up time AN HOUR APART. Let that sink in… Now, you might think, if you have to do two different schools (and I don’t, but more on that in a moment), then having the exact same drop-off and pick-up times would be infinitely harder, as being in the same place at the same time is, to say the least, rather challenging (okay, fine, have it your way: impossible); which is true. So I’m glad we don’t have the exact same drop-off and pick-up times. But… an hour difference?! On each side?! I did the math (and double checked it with a calculator, so you could feel confident in my reporting, here, because I’ve been more than honest in past posts about how rocky my math skills are…), and I effectively lose TWO HOURS of my day with this new schedule (being the parent primarily responsible for getting the kids to and from school, as I’m the parent who works from home). And in case you were wondering, I don’t HAVE TWO HOURS to lose (you know, because of that aforementioned job thing, which, it turns out, takes TIME; go figure…).

“But, Jill,” you’re thinking to yourself (because talking out loud to your computer screen might make the folks around you suspect you’re the one in need of the straightjacket), “Why not just have your kids go to the same school?” Well, I would say, you are VERY SMART. And that’s why I like you… But… that’s why I am need-to-be-committed crazy…

Mm-kay… Are you ready for this?

Earlier this week my cellphone buzzed (it was on vibrate – it’s always on vibrate: I have a toddler who naps; I miss a lot of calls this way, but naps are sacred in my world – and it’s surprising I even answered the phone). It was Seattle Public Schools telling me that my son had been bumped up the waitlist for the school where my daughter attended, and that there was now an opening for him in one of the 1st grade classrooms (some quick background: though both are public schools, Liam is currently at the K-5 school we are assigned to because it’s the closest school to our home, Paisley is at the just-slightly farther away “alternative” K-8 option school that families can apply to and where we ultimately want both kids to go, mostly because it’s K-8 rather than K-5; Paisley was on the waitlist until the first day of summer vacation, when she finally got in, but Liam was so low on the waitlist that we never thought we had a chance this year). The woman on the phone asked: did I want to accept?

And you, oh wise reader, know that I of course would say, or even perhaps shout with glee, “YES! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES!!” because it would be crazy, unequivocally and certifiably CRAZY, to say NO to getting my kids in the same school, to say NO to getting my kids in the same school that we wanted them to be at, to say NO to getting my kids in the same school that we wanted them to be at and on the exact same schedule with only one pick-up time and one drop-off time a day

It would be like, STRAIGHTJACKET CRAZY to say NO to making my life SO MUCH EASIER.

Which, of course, means that we said no (I know!! I know…). We decided to keep Liam in the 1st grade class that he started in two weeks ago. We are not moving him to the school where we ultimately want him. We are not making my life easier. Because, as it turns out, I AM straightjacket crazy.

Your stomach just turned, didn’t it? You feel a little sick about this decision, on my behalf? That’s very kind of you; I, too, felt sick to my stomach all that day, as the deadline I was given loomed for me to decide yay or nay. Or, perhaps you just called the good folks at the closest insane asylum to come catch this lunatic mama (who so obviously needs her head examined) with their butterfly nets? Don’t worry, I’m sure the few parents who I ran into after receiving the phone call, who saw me pulling my hair out and hyperventilating over this decision – all of whom looked at me with great pity, patted me gently on the head, and said in their kindest talking-to-someone-with-half-a-brain voice: but sweetie, that’s such an easy choice; of course you’ll change schools!! – already called the keepers of the local funny farm. They should be here any moment…

And I KNOW it’s crazy. I really do. And I worry about myself; this choice does not feel sane. But here’s the thing… my gut, my Mama Instinct, just feels so so so strongly that Liam is where he’s supposed to be this year. I can’t explain why, really… Okay, so his teacher is ah-may-zing, and is always smiling and laughing, and we’ve been told she’s the best 1st grade teacher at his school if not THE best teacher, and she just won a huge teaching award and because of it was honored at the Seattle Seahawks game this last weekend (Go Hawks!); but maybe the teachers at the other school are really great, too. And okay, he has three friends in his new class that he actually knew before school even started, and this is a big deal because two days before school started he had a 45 minute crying jag while sitting on my lap, his arms wrapped tightly around my neck like he’d never let go, sobbing uncontrollably about how he didn’t want to go to a new school and how he just wanted to be in a class with his two best friends who were still at his old Montessori school (never mind that his two best friends aren’t in the same class this year, either); but, he’s a nice kid, and I know he could and would easily make new friends at the other school. I know he’d be fine. He would be FINE. But the class he’s in now is just a really good fit. And he’s happy – and I really wasn’t sure that was possible so early in the year after changing schools, or that he’d handle the change as well as he has; I just really don’t want to jeopardize that happiness. And he’s learning so much; it’s already so obvious, and that’s exciting. And I know it could be like this at the other school, too… but what if it wasn’t?

Going to a New School, First Grade

The 6yo, actually SMILING at the orientation for his new school, held the last week of summer break. I took this photo because I was sure he would NOT be smiling on his first day of school. And yeah, it’s kinda nice that he’s STILL smiling, three weeks later…

So I know, in my (wildly irrational) heart if not in my (rarely rational) brain, that we made the right decision. An unequivocally and certifiably CRAZY decision, but the right decision. However… I will confess: I still can’t believe I voluntarily chose to make my life more challenging…

I must really love that kid.

Well, I guess there’s nothing to do now but to say adieu to sanity (who needs it anyway?!), learn to work more efficiently with the time I have (I could work nights after tucking the kids into bed, but that time is usually reserved for my Pinterest addiction), remember to put all those upcoming PTA meetings on the calendar (wow, that’s a lot of meetings…), hug my kids tight when I drop them off at their two different schools at two different times (at least when I can catch them before they run – RUN!! – into their classrooms), hope and hope and hope some more to win the waiting list lottery again next year (preferably before the start of school)…

… and, honestly, figure out how to do crazy as well as my kids (please reference Image 1, above). Well, minus the fingers in my mouth or eyes rolled back in my head; I confess, that’s not a good look for me…

Hmm… You know, I’m thinking this straightjacket just needs a few accessories… A scarf? Some ballet flats? A butterfly net? It might be a crazy year (or two… or three…), but I’m going to do right by my kids…

… and make crazy look goooood.

8 thoughts on “Sanity is Totally Overrated

  1. Um, the gut, yeah, it ALWAYS knows what’s best. And happy is worth every ounce of crazy!! As far as the straightjacket goes, if it comes in navy, you’re golden 😉

  2. I seriously thought you were going to say that you decided to home school!!!!!!! I am thrilled that everyone is adjusting so well! I also would have also kept Liam at LH, but I already have a doctor’s note that says I’m crazy! I am going to admit that I feel a little jealous that you get to hang out at LH without me. I want to be there! (So long as it’s not raining. Or gray. Or windy. Or cold.) xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

    • I *did* actually consider homeschooling last year (!!), for all of two minutes. Then I realized that was beyond crazy… That was suicidal, in my world, LOL! In all seriousness, LH and SB are both GREAT schools. We’re all really happy. It’d be better if you were here to walk with back and forth, though! Did I tell you that Liam has the same 1st grade teacher Eli had? Liam thinks that’s the coolest. 🙂

    • It really IS amazing what we would do – or rather, what we DO already! – for our kids. Clearly, your awesome mom, and my awesome mom, and the two of us (being awesome moms!) need to get together for drinks and compare how awesome we all are… (and how much we all hate insomnia…).

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