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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Third trimester, school!

This goes along with the other new sibling preparations.

Besides the things I wrote about here, enrolling the Guajolotita #1 in school was absolutely part of preparing her for her new sibling.

I decided that the Guajolotita was ready for some outside-the-home activities. She loves to be with other kids and I think she could use more stimulation than what she was getting with our babysitter. If I was home with her, I might have felt differently because I would appreciate the things we did together more than the activities the babysitter did with her. (Sometimes I thought the babysitter's idea of a fun/educational activity were absolutely idiotic.)
  • we enrolled the Guajolotita in school. We started visiting schools the first week of the second trimester. We visited 5 schools and picked one, submitting our application and deposit a few weeks before the start of the third trimester.
  • we talked a lot about school during that searching time. The Guajolotita's cousin is 2 years and 9 months older than she is, and after being at our house for childcare started school before this pregnancy was public. Our babysitter would pick him up from school - so the Guajolotita was very accustomed to the idea that kids go to school. She'd seen his school and been in the building to pick him up. So she was excited to be doing the same thing as her idolized older cousin.
  • After submitting our deposit, the week we left on vacation, we took her to visit her new school. She stayed almost an hour and I took some photos of her with her teachers and classmates. I made a little multi-image print, with several copies and the names of her teachers. We took this with us on vacation and reminded her about her experience. She learned the names of her teachers and gave a copy to each set of family we visited - a little kid-souvenir for them, and a chance to take ownership of her coming new experience for her.
  • She's been home full-time since birth with Abuela or a babysitter. She's used to running around with other kids at the park and at the library every day for a couple of hours. We started her with 3 hrs/day, every morning, 5 days a week. The adjustment was hard.
  • Our babysitter left us and my suegra's schedule only allows her to get the Guajolotita from school after 3pm. So we extended her day and she is at school 6 hrs/day, 5 days a week. This adjustment was absolutely easy. I still feel guilty about this though.
I really think that she was ready for school anyway - perhaps one or two hours a day, two or three days a week. However, the schools all said that consistency and routine are best for the child. MWF different from T/Th would just make the adjustment harder. I think they are right.

The upside to starting her in school a bit earlier, and for longer, than I might otherwise have done had I not been pregnant, is that when I am home on maternity leave - sleep deprived, nursing around the clock, washing 1000 diapers - the Guajolotita will be having fun with her friends, working on projects at school, and go to the park every day. Her naptime will be uninterrupted by any baby crying. Her life will continue to have some normalcy instead of every moment being upended by the baby.

I will get to have some alone time with this new baby, hopefully get dishes and laundry done while she is at school, and then when she comes home I can have some quality Guajolotita #1 time and not feel guilty about "neglecting" the infant (as I've read there is a lot of guilt about focusing on one child at a time).

Also, when I go back to work at 12 weeks and our new babysitter starts, that babysitter will also have time to get to know this new baby, and perhaps do a load of laundry, before picking up the Guajolotita #1 from school and playing with her.

I am excited about maternity leave and picking up the Guajolotita from school myself for those months. I am hoping my suegra wants to come over sometimes and have time with the new baby while I WALK to pick up the kid from school and hopefully bring her home in the jogging stroller. Postpartum fitness, quality time with Kid 1, grandma gets to have Kid 2 all to herself - win for everyone!

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