Over the past week or so, I've been observing and interacting with Bella in order to obtain a better understand of how to foster that every busy little mind of hers. Each day we had really good moments, okay moments and really bad moments, in terms of behavior. We tried some new things and we relied on some old things. We made it through the week, but we reached a major decision: Bella will be attending school this summer.
Through my observations, I learned that Bella often acts out when she is bored. She is very smart and wants to be stimulated constantly. While she plays very well by herself throughout the day, the times when she needs the extra attention from me, she DEMANDS it. From what I've read, it's completely normal for a 2-year-old, especially a 2-year-old with a new baby sister. And taking the two of them out together by myself is such a chore, especially if one (or both) of my children do not want to ride in the stroller. So going to our usual places like the zoo, aquarium or children's museum during the week seems like such a big production. Plus, I don't feel like I'm able to interact with her the way I used to, when it was just the two of us.
We toured several schools this week and decided on one, however she will only be attending this school during the summer. She is registered to go to a different preschool in the fall and we (along with many of our friends and neighbors) absolutely love the preschool. We plan to use this school as a summer school, if it is needed. The school Bella will be attending this summer is great! The curriculum is good (so it's more than a daycare), the school itself is immaculate and very well kept and the staff seem to be very good, too. I think this school will be a perfect fit for Bella this summer. She even has a little friend, whom she's known since before both girls could crawl. Her friend Gia already attends this school so she will know at least one person in her class. And Gia's mom, Carina, has been a huge help to me and I've asked her a ton of questions regarding this important decision.
Now to the mother's guilt... I feel a great amount of guilt because all I've ever wanted to do is be a mother and stay home to raise my children and here I am shipping Bella off to school at the tender young age of 2! I know this decision is best for our family, but I can't help but feel guilty. The financial aspect bothers me, too. If we're going to be spending all this money on Bella's school, should I not return to work? Obviously now is not the time, as I have a newborn, but the thought did cross my mind. Simply because we can afford it, doesn't mean it's absolutely necessary. Sigh. I suppose I should be used to this mother's guilt thing by now, but I'm not. Everyone else seems so excited about Bella starting school next week, but I have mixed emotions about it. I'm confident in the school's ability to challenge Bella, Bella's ability to absorb everything she is being taught, but I'm sad that my little girl will be starting school. This is a great opportunity for her and it is a huge adjustment for our family.
But, the more I think about it, the more excited I become, as I think about Bella bringing home art work from school or sharing with me something she learned in school that day. Luckily her 5-day school week will only be temporary and she will only have 3-day school weeks in the fall, so we have that to look forward to as well. Last, but not least... what will Bella wear on her first day of school?!?
Ian, Kim, Bella & Cecilia