Monday, February 25, 2008

A Question for the BTDT parents...

Here's the Tiny Empress snacking away on her Valentine's Day lunch at Pre-school. Which is what I need some help with (pre-school, not lunch) from those of you out there who have done this, or are doing it now.

The time has come for us to pre-register for pre-school next year which has left Jeff & I with something of a dilemma: 5 half-days or 3 full days?? Currently, Ten goes 3 half-days...but next year we start gearing up for which will do her (and me) more good?

Factors to consider:

Cost The difference in cost between 3 full & 5 half is only $10 so cost is not really a consideration - except that it obviously costs more per hour for a half day than a full.

Academics According to her teacher, academically 5 half is better, because there is only 1 session (everyone starts in the morning, no one starts in the afternoon) the academics are all in the morning- after nap it's more art, story time, and play- not that there isn't educational value in that too.

Stamina Public school Kindergarten is usually a half-day. Private school Kindergarten is usually a full day. If she stays at this school for Kindergarten, she has the option of 5 days at 5.5 hours or 10 hours. Will she build enough stamina and gain enough focus from 3 full days to transition into 5 days of harder work?

Time The full day option is really meant for parents who hold a full-time job- it provides roughly 12 hours of child-care. We'd never use the 12 hrs. The earliest I'd take her is 8, and I'd probably pick her up by 4 (unless I was working). We can extend her 1/2 day...for $6 an hour...but that adds up very quickly- for an extra 3 hours daily you'd end up paying more than if you put her in full time!

Mom If I get Ten to school on time and I pick her up right at time I net about 3 hours of personal time per school day. This is enough time to maybe do some errands or housework or go to the gym or sneak in a nap if I'm sick or breakfast with a friend/get facial/shop for self. I can't go far, and I can't work. 5 half days would allow me to spread the necessary things out so I could work in a little more me time- but I still couldn't go anywhere far or work....and I still have Ten at home every afternoon. 3 full days would let me hold either a 2nd part-time job, work lunch shifts at El Torito or do office temp work...but I still have 2 full days at home with Ten.

This is a tough decision. I see merit for both options, and both will force Ten to adapt to a different schedule and learn to be independent. Both benefit me too- just in different ways. Any comments or advice from those who have done it or are doing this now will be a huge help!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Welcome Year of the Rat

February 7, 2008 brought Chinese year 4706 – the Year of the Rat. At last, it’s my year: I am the lone Rat surrounded by Monkeys (Mom, Jeff, Ten, Grandpa Dave- all Monkey People).

We started reading “My First Chinese New Year” by Karen Katz and we kept with Chinese tradition by attempting to clean the house, buying Ten new (Chinese) clothes and shoes, and getting her (and Jeff’s) hair cut.

Thursday night we went to PF Chang’s for some very Americanized Chinese Food, and quietly noted a couple other families that looked alot like ours were there celebrating too.

This year marked what will probably be the first of many for me: bringing Chinese New Year to Tenley’s class at school. Ten’s pre-school is non-denominational, and they encourage parents to come in and teach the kids about any holiday or family tradition that is relevant to their family. So I showed up on Friday morning with mandarin oranges and crunchy noodles for snack, the afore mentioned book to read to the class, and the supplies to have the kids make Chinese lanterns. It all went over very well, and the kid’s lanterns are now decorating the classroom. I would like to give a huge thank you to Pick Up Stix # 505: I asked if they would be willing to donate crunchy noodles and fortune cookies for the class- and they did- along with chopsticks (and the little plastic holders so kids can use them), balloons and stickers all arranged into individual take-out boxes as goody bags for all 25 kids. I am still blown away by how thoughtful and generous it was to do that.

On Saturday, we headed into Los Angeles Chinatown for the Golden Dragon Parade. This year we were smart: we parked at Union Station in Downtown and took a 3min ride on the Gold Line right into Chinatown – way better than trying to find street parking or parking at Dodger Stadium like we did last year. The Grand Marshal was a big hit this year- who better in the Mouse year than Mickey himself? The Beijing Olympic mascots were there, and in all Ten counted 6 dragons and she still says “5 lions” but I think it was more like 15 lions. Miss Chinatown and various other Asian beauty queens waved and winked at her, and various older Chinese parade goers stopped to ask which province she was from and were impressed that she could say “Happy New Year” in Chinese. Tenley herself was very into the confetti cannons, and kept picking the bits up off the ground and stuffing them into her dad’s pockets. But being a busy 3 year old, she was really done with the parade by the time it was half over. We shopped our way back to the Gold Line, with Tenley scoring a green fan that matched her dress.

Everyone was starving, and it was noted that we would pass right by La Tolteca on the drive home. And La Tolteca is just a few minutes from Doug, Tina & (future husband) James’ house. One quick cell call and the next thing you know we were on their doorstep and then heading out for ultra yummy Mexican food. After sating ourselves, we went back over to their house so James & Ten could run amok, the big kids could play with the Wii, and everybody could finish off the Baskin Robbins ice cream cake from James’ birthday. A fine multi-cultural celebration if there ever was one.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!!!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

About that...

Don’t those puddle jumping pictures look fun?? Here’s the part you didn’t see:

Ten was outside in the rain jumping in the puddles (with Daddy snapping pictures) because we were on our way to Costco. I was put on my jacket and tossed poor Kismet the dog out into the inclement weather because as my friend Kim would say “she’s not trustworthy” to be left in the house. I might have felt bad about this except that just the day before, Jeff’s co-worker Alisa had gifted us with a Kismet sized doghouse that her family no longer needed (thanks Alisa!). Now, did we take the time on sunny Saturday to move the behemoth to a good spot & introduce Kis to it? No way! First I tried just turning it around for her, but the dumb dog was unwilling to walk through the big drips from the eaves to even come near it. So now I am standing in the mud in the steady rain trying to move this thing. Finally I hollered over the gate for Jeff who came over and grabbed a side; and we sloshed and shuffled the thing under the gazebo in the back. Kismet, being a large ferocious looking chicken, ran the far corner of the yard and laid down in the mud. Jeff got a towel for the floor of the doghouse and some treats. I called the dog, who just laid there in the rain and looked at me. I sighed and left the cover of the gazebo to get the big chicken and drag her to the covered house. Drag is the operative word- she has one of those butts that becomes filled with lead, the nose goes up and the legs go stiff. She went so far as to stand on her hind legs and wrap her filthy disgusting paws around my wrist, thereby simultaneously covering my wrist and forearm in mud and soaking it. I successfully got her to the house which she eyed warily, gave a cursory sniff, and then retreated to the center of the yard to lay in the rain and shiver. At that point, we gave up and decided that if she was dumb enough to pass on a warm dry spot, it was out of our hands.

I am now damp all over, muddy in various spots, and my hair- like a 1970’s Pampers diaper- has puffed up to twice it’s normal size. Tenley was mercifully not muddy- but was completely soaked and had somehow managed to get two inches of water in each rain boot.

We trooped back in the house to pony my hair, change my jacket, and completely change Tenley from the waist down. Except that Tenley climbed right into my lap to take her boots off. Now the entire thigh area of my heavy jeans are soaked. So I finish stripping Ten, and take her pants to the dryer while Jeff re-dresses her. I realize as I am walking that my pants are too wet to wear, so I carefully remove them and throw them in the dryer too. I spent the next 10 minutes shivering next to the dryer in nothing but my underwear…and hiking boots.

Finally, Ten was warm and dry, and I was damp but presentable, and we left for Costco…not looking forward to returning home and having to clean up the stupid dog who was still laying in the mud and rain.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Rainy Sunday

Nothing better than rain boots and puddles!