Free Pre-Kindergaten, why not?

From the womb our last born called the shots. She was my only full term birth, and the biggest. However, this wasn’t why she took so long arriving on the scene!

I love a book by Kevin Lehman called the Birth Order. There is something to be said about this. Surely their birth order plays a part in their personality.

And surely our last born’s personality was shining through when she decided to be unlike the four other 2011-11-23_12-33-00_671births and come when she decided! Just as she continues to decide or so she thinks about everything else in our home.

The first day of Pre-K was normal. Most children are always a little unsure of the separation they’re about to experience. If intrinsically children were designed for connection and dependency on their mother, particularly, during the formative years, what makes us think the process of going to school is that simple – kiss them goodbye, and leave. I suppose that then is the argument – is Pre-K helpful in nurturing the design of our little people. Does the separation they experience nurture there need to remain connected, and especially to their mommies!

I must pause at this point to speak to the mommies that have to work.

But I also feel the need to clarify “have to work”. And I am perfectly aware I may offend some people by this. I don’t “have to work” to afford the car payment, mortgage payment, credit card bills, and yearly vacations. Such a sacrifice as motherhood can be quite costly.  Believe me, my husband and I understand full well what a one income home with a salary of 40k (if even that) covers!

Single moms or wives that have husbands that are unable to work have to separate from their child, respectively. In my experience with my eldest, as a single parent, children are resilient and will one day honor their mother (or father) for their sacrifice and hard work.

So why universal pre-k – then I thought about the woman who has a toddler left at home and wants to work part time. Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) doesn’t help this situation either however because our society is only geared for one way – two parent working homes, while children are in school in between before and after care. Who then are these supposedly experts on the matter really helping when they recommend a mandatory Pre-K system with all children entering public schools.

As our country continues the discussion about universal free Pre-K, I continue to be challenged by the question of why? 

I am not clear how this helps a majority of the children (mostly from middle class homes who will use these services). I am certain they don’t need 9 hours of over stimulation and separation from their mother in particular. I also am sure that it doesn’t take 4 hours that VPK allows now, to learn their ABC’s and how to count to 10. Not to mention pre-school children need to play! And I am strongly convinced it is not the job of the schools to train a child.

As for Isabelle she only lasted two weeks before we decided to keep her home another year. At the time, I was already home-schooling one child while the other attended Kindergarten at a private brick and mortar school. One year later for Kindergarten, Isabelle did great and was ready to go to school. Overall, she is still quite stubborn and most definitely the last born!

Part II: My Story

I decided to write Part 2 of My Story. Where I come from is related to where I am today – for better or for worse. What I am discovering in my adult life would have been helpful to know in my 20’s. I am sure on some level we can all relate. It certainly would have helped me work through the unresolved fact that I had black hair and my sister did not. I am not so caught up on this any longer but early on, I couldn’t help but notice!

The paradigm of it all though troubles me on occasion. I was adopted by my step-father when I was about 2. At the age of 15, I gave birth to Mary to be adopted. Then I became the proverbial blended family where my ex-husband was a step-father to my son, Xaviar, and I was a step-mother to his children. While neither of us adopted either of our step-children, we have experienced and continue to experience the world of step-parenting. I say that soberly and with great tenderness because clearly divorce hurts and mostly the children involved.

I called this Part 2 for two reasons: 1. Being a step-family made up the last 17 years of my life and; 2. It was an ever present area of conflict (purposeful smile). Conflict not so much in the way of it being negative as the word denotes rather in a stretching-of-the-soul kind of way which doesn’t exactly feel positive either.

Sibling funBecoming a step family was a process, hence the word: becoming.  I imagine, as with any hard place in life there are good memories but not without cost.

Approximately one- third of all weddings in America today form a step-family. What makes this so challenging is no step-family looks the same. I have found common experiences among other step-families but overall there is no one size fits all.  To make matters worse, the findings add that one third of Americans who got divorced were doing so for the second time – and I understand this all too well however my goal is to stay married.

Setting the stage for what feels like an insurmountable struggle up a steep cliff I have hope. I may not have been able to say this a week ago and it pains me to know I am far from the top, but I am still climbing. Most of the struggle comes from the conflict over feeling that my step children are intruders to my traditional family within our blended family. Meaning for the first time in my life, my family consists of my husband and me and our three biological children. My son no longer lives at home either. Though when he did it was different because he is an adult, with his own life, plans, etc. (like that of a room-mate). My husbands children have never lived with us so they are not part of our daily lives.

cliff-photo

A few simple things have helped me from falling off the cliff, perhaps you may find one helpful:

Remembering we are not each others enemies – we each have feelings, viewpoints, and experiences. I’ve had many an argument with myself regarding this because everyone feels like the enemy quite frankly.

Being honest. Somewhere along the way, I decided that most often it was safer to not be (of course there is something to be said here). Despite what I think the response will be as a result of my honesty, I do well to be real and honest. I am the only one that can share what I am thinking or how I view what is happening to me or around me.

Although to balance honesty, there are times to be quiet. I always think of when God told Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah, we are told that she held all these things in her heart and pondered them! Along with several other verses in the Bible that speak about the right timing of your words.

When I think about where I come from and the struggles against me it gives me perspective on how to handle today. Furthermore, the obstacles we each faced walking into our second marriages challenges me. And yet, I find courage in that. I know that God can work through the poor decisions of others that have hurt me and those decisions I’ve made that hurt others – past and present. I also know that I will continue learning how to support my husband’s relationships with his children and becoming a blended family. I am certain of Gods promises to change my ashes into beauty.

Grammy Nomination

BirdcageWhile I am not a fan of the song, I decided to share the creativity of our little girls. My husband and I were reminded that we can’t protect our children from all the influence of this world but we certainly have the power to equip them to fly when we let them free.

As for the song, it opened the door for a good conversation with my 10 year old, in particular, about lyrics to songs and how our minds are like sponges, they absorb all that we take in! 

Well here it is…I am rolling out the red carpet.

http://youtu.be/_nlkpS7W4BA 

Meet the Bagel

Meet Bagel the Beagle. Despite the recent flea explosion, she is the star of our household… except for in Daddy’s eyes. It took over a year convincing my husband that the children needed to grow up with a dog like I did. When he finally agreed, the children and I took a trip to a local kennel to begin our search.

Sweet BagelA year has gone by and she still has a way of getting all the attention any dog could ask for.

IMG_20121217_205633

And sometimes not ask for…

Michal and Bagel

Then there is Bagel’s beloved boyfriend…who takes her outside for her midnight potty break.

Xaviar and Bagel

And since Isabelle is used to being last but certainly not least – here they are having some quality snuggle time!

Bagel and Isabelle