- Jacket's mom's text (spelling/grammar corrected): I'm sorry, she has to come with me for Saturday morning, you can have her next Friday, okay?
- My text: Does that mean she will miss preschool on Friday and swim class on Saturday? I had to pay for both and they were expensive (I should have laid out the costs for her already but didn't get a chance).
- You can tell them that she will be there next Friday and Saturday, I'm sure they will say okay.
- Yes, but I won't be refunded. Are there any other days that she will miss? Where does she have to be that is more important than her education? (a bit on the dramatic side I know, just trying get stress the point)
- No, don't ask for a refund, just tell them she will be there next Friday and Saturday. She's going to her in-law's home.
- The school won't let us do that. I had to make a commitment. Jacket can't come and go as she pleases to classes.
- They live far away from here (it's about a 2 hour subway ride).
- Did you tell them [her family] that Jacket only goes to school one day a week?
- Yes, the schools are like that (she means pay-as-you-go). I asked myself when you paid and they told me that she can come and go as she pleases.
- Who did you speak to at the school (I'm 99% sure she didn't call. She didn't even take the pamphlet home that I gave her with all of the school info on it). I signed a contract (but actually, as always- I'm aware of the risk and willing to cut my losses. I'm just trying to make a point to Jacket's mom). I will give you a copy of the contract next time I see you. I paid $XXX a month whether she attends or not.
- Not that school, another one that she goes to because I pay them only Monday to Wednesday. She goes and I pay.
- This isn't a daycare, it's a preschool. And swim lessons are only for 8 weeks. I paid for 8 weeks but now she will only get 7 (In the future, I want to bring myself to require her to pay a portion, even if it's just $1- she needs to be making a commitment as well).
- Okay, but she will be going with you to daycare. She wanted to see her in-laws.
- I really want you to think about Jacket's future and the importance of her education. I can help, but you have to do your part as well. In the future, Fridays and Saturday mornings need to be a priority. These are the days you chose. Appointments and family visits need to be scheduled on other days.
- Yes, I know, she goes to school for 3 days where I live (She's fibbing- she probably feels backed into a corner). She loves school and she asks all the time so I had to put her in.
- --I wait a few minutes to slow down our conversation--
- Okay, I am sorry. You're right.
- Thanks. Really think about it. The better the school the more strict it is (not necessarily, but Jacket's mom is such a concrete thinker, I'm trying to stretch her thoughts the other direction). Jacket could really be a judge or a lawyer (some dreams Jacket's mom has come up with for Jacket's future) or anything she wants one day but it will require that she stay ahead in her education. And when she's ahead, her self-esteem will be high and she will do amazing things.
- You're right, but she's in school (I know she's not because she doesn't have the right medical forms. I've tried to give my copies to her but she doesn't understand and refuses).
I’m going back through all of your comments from my previous post on private schools for Jacket while trying to be leisurely about exploring her educational options. But of course, that’s a joke. I don’t function in a casual or laid back mode. Just obsessive, ultra obsessive and sleeping.
Tonight I’ve become familiar with the required acronyms such as the ERB/ECAA (assessments to get into private school), the RFT (forms that need to be filled out to request…), the OLSAT and the BSRA (evaluations for the public schools’…) and the G&T (Gifted and Talented programs).
I’ve looked up my “district” and Jacket’s mom’s district to find out what public and charter schools are around. Then there’s busing. I no longer believe that Jacket’s mom will be motivated/capable of transporting Jacket to and from a school which might be across the borough so I’m planning on a need for the “yellow buses” until 6th grade at which time NYC will give Jacket a metrocard for the public bus.
Yellow buses will apparently take Jacket across Brooklyn to almost any charter school, but for the G&T schools (if she even qualifies) the bus will only transport her within her district. Based on what I’ve read, I would prefer most charter schools compared to the G&T school in Jacket’s district.
I’m also thinking of Pre-K which would be in 6 months; however, the only free options at this point (private schools don’t start financial aid until kindergarten) are the low-performing schools in Jacket’s district and I fear her mom becoming too comfortable with the routine and relationships to the extent that she wouldn’t be motivated to send Jacket to a better school (better hopefully being something Jacket’s mom and I define together).
That’s enough for one night.
Anyone want to home school Jacket for Pre-K? I’m only half-kidding.
I have a hunch that Jacket IS in play therapy based on all of the cute “Oy Vey’s” she was exclaiming this week. Unless Nickelodeon has a new Jewish cartoon I’m not aware of.
Hopefully, this blog has sounded more positive in the past year. Nonetheless, I have moments when I want to scream JACKET’S FAMILY IS PSYCHO. Then I feel guilty. Then I feel self-righteous (e.g. how many other people are willing to invest their personal lives in this way). Then I feel hopeless. Then I feel alone and crazy for doing this. Then I feel angry and an itch to blog (for validation?). It’s a lot to carry this family’s history/trauma around.
So please don’t judge me. Or, judge me quietly. There’s still A LOT that I will never feel comfortable putting on the blog. I don’t blame Jacket’s mom- I hold the typical liberal belief that she is a product of her environment… I remind myself often that 30 years ago she was a little Jacket herself.
Yesterday, Jacket’s mom and grandma came over for breakfast and to pick Jacket up. Believe it or not, I try not to learn too much about them… every direction seems to be a landmine of info that I’d rather not know (lest I feel compelled to call in a child abuse case). Nonetheless, it was shared that-
- Jacket’s mom purposefully avoided all prenatal care when carrying Jacket
- Jacket was an 11 month pregnancy (obviously not true)
- doctors said they were surprised Jacket was healthy based on her mom’s diet
- another story about feeding Jacket McDonald’s chocolate milkshakes started at 2 weeks old
- Jacket could talk at 6 weeks old and would ask for pizza
- I was asked to video tape an audition of Jacket’s grandma singing for the X factor and put it on facebook
- grandma sang a song she wrote “Don’t get involved with a married man” (I broke down and showed it to my roommate). Is it ethical for me to post it on the internet for her? I guess there are worst uploads? Did I mention that she’s missing most of her teeth?
- something about only feeding Jacket celery these days (hoping it’s not true. Jacket looks healthy and well-fed)
- Jacket was in the bathroom with grandma (who is always coughing/gagging) for about 20 minutes and she came out gagging and putting her finger down her throat. Surprisingly, I thought nothing of it (except telling her to stop and offering water) until Jacket’s mom patted grandma and said “I wonder where she learned to throw-up from?”
Little boy on the bus is playing “I spy” that he picked up from Jacket last week.
- Jacket: Rebecca, what are you doing?
- Me: Going to the bathroom.
- I want to see.
- Is it ca-ca or pee-pee?
- That's private.
- What is private?
- It means I'm not going to tell you.
- Ca-ca coming out of your booty is private?
- Yes. I think today should be that special day in your life when you learn about privacy. Private means that some things are only for yourself. Please shut the door. I'll be out in a minute.
- Yes, going to the bathroom is private, for the love of god.
- Jacket: Rebecca.
- Me: Yes.
- Where's my backpack?
- On your back.
- I don't see it.
- That's because it's behind you.
- (turns around) Where?
- On your back. It's a back- pack.
- HERE (tugged on it).
- Oh, ok.
Jacket just started her first day of Russian preschool. Her teaching assistant appears Latina!
Someone commented along the lines of-
“Is learning Russian a good idea when what Jacket really needs is better English skills? How useful is Russian and will the language skills be sustained past preschool?”
I know I sound ditzy most of the time on this blog, and I’m insecure about a lot of my decisions in regards to Jacket’s life, but being a cognitive psychologist and all- I actually have a lot of opinions on this matter.
In short, no- I don’t expect Jacket to be a fluent Russian speaker in adulthood as a result of a (once a week) preschool immersion. That isn’t the goal. Instead, I think (and have read) that most novel experiences at Jacket’s age increase neural pathway growth and
decrease better optimize synaptic pruning. That’s what is important to me and my personal goals for Jacket’s brain. Basket-weaving, pole-vaulting, chess, Russian, Pig-Latin, armhair braiding, Calculus, fossil identification, or my personal favorite 3-hole punching mechanics… it doesn’t fucking matter. All learning is good learning.
And Jacket’s mom is in. Russian preschool here she comes!
ADDED NOTE: and of course, nothing in fosterhood is permanent. Russian preschool may only last a few weeks- who knows?
Holy shit does this Russian preschool mean business. It’s excellent (according to my co-workers) but sort of scary! My immediate thought was, well, Jacket’s mom wants white people- she’s going to get them. Why didn’t I think of this before?
I asked (notice the word asked) Jacket’s new teacher if I could pick her up at 3pm tomorrow and the response was “We do lessons all the way until 6pm. You are bringing her here to learn, right? She needs to stay.” Ok, 6pm it will be then.
Jacket’s mom has chosen Saturday morning as her swim lessons day at the YMCA (I’ll make sure she gets financial aid after last year’s credit runs out), maybe she’ll like the idea of Jacket going to Russian school every Friday?