Chaos. That would be an accurate descriptor for my life right now. Zaxxon started preschool this week, only things aren't going as planned. Just over a month ago, I found out that the program we had chosen wasn't licensed, and also wasn't certified to administer emergency medication--which is a big deal since Zaxxon has food allergies. I'd been told months previously (February, to be specific) that they could easily accommodate food allergies, that they'd done it before, that the director had food allergies herself, etc, etc. It never occurred to me to ask whether they were actually certified to do it--and therefore legally allowed to (we've got some dumb laws in this country--oops, you're dying but I'm not legally allowed to help you because you might sue me and say I was assaulting you, even though I saved your life. Sorry.)
This all came to light because the director of the preschool program took another job, so somebody else got shunted into the position temporarily. The new guy realized things weren't being done according to state law, and was trying to align everything.
Okay, fine (after I calmed down from my mommy-sized tantrum.) So could they get certified? I got the impression that he'd been hoping I would just go away and stop making an abstract issue come to life in front of him. But since I didn't, he agreed, after talking to his boss, that they'd get certified for emergency medication. They assured me that they'd have it covered by the first day of school.
Good. I took them at their word, and proceeded to help Zaxxon get prepared, on all levels, to start going somewhere else a few days per week.
Fast forward to this Monday, September 10th, the day before preschool was supposed to start (yes, for some reason our program started really late.) I get a phone call from the interim director saying that the teachers had taken the medication class and passed it, but that there was a nurse inspection element of getting their program certified which they hadn't been able to get done because their entire program wasn't licensed, and the state wasn't going to do that for an unlicensed program--so they couldn't accept my child at preschool the next day.
Excuse me, what?
Cue mommy-sized tantrum that completely dwarfs the previous one. Probably dwarfs anything I've done before. I am not a confrontational person. I tend to withdraw into a shell when debates and arguments are going on, but I told this guy exactly how upset it made me to have him call THE DAY BEFORE school starts, after all other programs are already underway, and tell me that I can't bring my kid in. Was he saying Zaxxon couldn't come at all, or that they'd get it taken care of eventually? He hoped they'd get it taken care of, but he was having difficulty getting ahold of the right people with the state to find out exactly where they stand and how they can proceed. When would he know something? He said he'd call me the next day, but that Zaxxon couldn't start.
The colossal inappropriateness of that timing still galls me.
Hours later, after tears, talks, commiseration, and much emotional turmoil (and all without even telling Zaxxon that school was cancelled yet) Hubby had an idea: would they let Zaxxon come to class if one of us stayed on the premises? I got ahold of the director the next morning, with less than an hour to go, and he agreed that staying was a good solution for the time being.
So Zaxxon still got to go to his first day, and his first week. In fact, he never knew why Mama was so upset. Nor did he know that I (and the second time, Hubby) stayed at his school, because I didn't want him to think that there was anything to be scared of at school.
But now things are in perpetual limbo. The director is obviously frustrated with trying to get this sorted out--he's not getting calls back from key people and is warning us that things probably won't happen at the speed anybody wants. And speed is my biggest concern right now, now that they're cooperating. This is not a long-term solution--we don't want to spend three hours a day, twice a week, puttering around outside Zaxxon's classroom, overhearing the preschool activities while writing or doing other projects. Not for any real length of time.
I like the teacher, I like what I've overheard of the program, but the way it's being run is not helping us. I've begun a little preliminary looking at other programs in the area--all of which have started, but which sometimes end up with vacancies during the normal flux at the beginning of the year. One program, which comes highly recommended from several friends, has a lot of quirks about its own scheduling--although their licensing and certification is 100% in order. I'm reminded of the phrase "beggars can't be choosers," but this will also be a big part of our year, and I want it to fit with our life.
I never thought I'd have to be the parent to fight for my child's rights and safety at school. I thought that was done already, and that I'd covered my bases months ago by selecting a preschool that had the right policies in place. Silly me. Naive me, really. I didn't know specifically what I should be asking for. I guess as parents, we walk the path we have to walk when it's necessary.
In addition to all of this, regular life goes on, and if I want to participate in the GUTGAA pitch contest, I've got less than 12 hours to polish my pitch. And by polish, I mean write the dang thing. It's halfway written in my head, but for some reason I've been dragging my heels on this pitch for years. That's part of why I joined GUTGAA, to force myself to pick up those feet. And now I'll have to deprive myself of sleep to do it. Ah, life. (You'll notice I'm blogging instead of pitching.) Wish me luck.