Updates from Beanerworld

The Beaner had his interview at the Montessori school around the corner on Saturday, and I have now gone from "whatever happens, happens" to "god, I hope he gets in." He so obviously LOVED it that I think I'll be disappointed if they don't take him. The good news is that I got a book on homeschooling Montessori-style and am in the process of formulating a backup plan for schooling him in the mornings before starting work should the school not accept him this year.

On the sleep/big boy bed front, I finally lost it the other night and declared that Things Must Change. The Beaner was staying up later and later, to the extent that there was no Grown-Up Time and no Work at Night Time before Al and I fell into a grumpy and exhausted sleep. We started a new schedule last night that involved eating dinner together as soon as Al got hom from work (i.e., around 6:30), starting the bathtime routine at 7:30, and getting in bed at 8:00. We figured we'd sacrifice a little sleep in the morning for more adult time at night.

A small wrench was thrown into the schedule when, after getting in bed and starting a reading of Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin, the Beaner announced that he had to poop. Announcements like this at bedtime are becoming more regular, which is a good thing—except when you're getting in bed at 9:30pm or later. Good thing we got in bed at 8. So anyway, he pooped, he got back in bed, we finished reading our book, I turned out the light, and I spent about the next 40 minutes trying to convince him to go to sleep. He finally conked out at 9pm, after I employed my never-fail technique of threatening to leave.

We heard him crying a bit a little before midnight, but at that point we were in the middle of a full-blown discussion on the merits and drawbacks of cocktail playdates, so we ignored him. By the time we were finished and ready to go to sleep, he was quiet.

We fully expected to be woken at 6:50am or so, given that he'd fallen asleep a good 30-90 minutes earlier than usual, and his normal wakeup time is between 7:20 and 8:20am. When my watch alarm went off at 7:50am, however, he was still asleep. I got out of bed to shower at 8am, trudged up the stairs (since our master bathroom is out of order—though there's good news on that front in that our contractor finally responded to our desperate pleas and is ready to take our deposit and order cabinetry—we all have to bathe upstairs for the time being), noticed that I'd forgotten to close the gate in the Beaner's doorway, closed the gate, and then jumped in the shower, where I proceeded to drop razors and bottles and lids rather noisily.

While putting on lotion post-shower, I heard him cough and thought to myself, "wow, he's still up here." I figured he'd have woken and cried while I was showering, and that Al would've brought him downstairs. A few seconds later I heard the clank of metal against the gate and went to investigate. For the first time ever, the Beaner was standing at the gate, little black Jeep in hand, quietly waiting for someone to come get him. (Usually he sits in bed whining or crying—often with his eyes shut—until Al or I come to pick him up. We also usually have to go back later for the Jeep, which ends up stuffed under a pillow.)

I know it's only one night, and it's too early to declare victory, but boy, am I encouraged. Who knew that putting him to bed earlier could cause him to sleep LONGER? I'll worry about getting him up in time for school later... if he gets in.

Posted by Lori in parenthood at 2:27 PM on February 8, 2007


There is something that just squicks me about a two-year-old having to interview in order to be accepted at a school.

Posted by: ratphooey [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 8, 2007 4:35 PM

Well, technically it was we who were being interviewed; what the Beaner was going through was more of an evaluation to determine whether he's "ready" to attend school. (While we answered one teacher's questions about the Beaner's personality, sleep and play habits, comfort items, speech patterns, etc., he did several Montessori exercises with another teacher nearby. Even though we obviously weren't giving him our full attention -- we sort of just watched him out of the corners of our eyes -- the joy was palpable. He was having a ball. Another indication that he enjoyed the experience: When the evaluation/interview was over, the teacher took him to the little restroom to wash his hands. When he finished, he ran back into the classroom instead of following us to the front door.)

I have no idea how they decide who gets accepted if 30 kids are deemed "ready" but only 15 slots are open. Sometimes I imagine that the process is a bit like how Herb Brooks picked the players he wanted for his 1980 Olympic ice hockey team: He was going for certain skills and personalities that together would make for a winning team dynamic. I wouldn't be surprised to find that something similar was going on here, given that classrooms are mixed, with children ranging from 2 years 9 months to 6 years. They're probably looking for a mix of personalities, skills, backgrounds, and experiences in addition to ages.

We were told up front that the Beaner's chances of being admitted were a bit lower than average because he'll be 2 years 9 months in September, and they limit the number of children under 3 that they accept. Younger kids usually require more attention from the teacher, which can skew the classroom dynamic.

Anyway, to respond specifically to your point about two-year-olds interviewing to get into school: I agree that there's something utterly ridiculous about it. I did the same eye-roll when my sister-in-law asked me to help her call a bunch of schools in Manhattan about applications (apparently there you only have ONE DAY to request school applications, and if you don't get your request in on that day, the schools refuse to let you even apply). And yet, if we want the Beaner to be able to go to the Montessori school on the next block, this is the procedure we must follow. The weirdness of it is why I've been all "whatever happens, happens" about the whole thing. I refuse to get caught up in the competitive aspect of it, for one thing, and for another, I truly believe that things happen for a reason, even if the reason isn't obvious right away. If he doesn't get in, maybe it means I was meant to homeschool. Or maybe it means that we'll have an opportunity to move in a year, and we'd have fought to get into the school for nothing. Or something else. What the evaluation showed me, regardless, is that he's "ready", by my measure.

Posted by: Lori [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 8, 2007 5:22 PM

Is this a full Montessori or Montessori-inspired? We checked out several schools all billed as "Montessori" and were surprised at the differences.

Your perspective on everything is so healthy. (My son's explusion from the independent school I thought was "perfect" for him - and later success at the public school I had feared - taught me I have to take a more laid-back approach to how things happen, because I cannot "control" things!)

The Beaner is such a smartie (based on what I've read here) that he is absolutely ready for school, whether this one or enrichment at home.

Posted by: Kari at February 11, 2007 4:00 PM

It's associated with the American Montessori Society, which I think makes it a full Montessori. You're right that there's wide variation behind the word 'Montessori'. I honestly didn't know much about it except for the name until we started looking into this school. We started investigating it mostly because of its proximity, and because we liked what we saw of the comings and goings of children and parents. (I can't put my finger on any one thing about those; they just gave us a vibe for the place.) The more we read, the more we liked it -- and separate visits to the school by Al and me confirmed it was where we wanted to send the Beaner. We'll see how it works out.

I'm glad to hear the Cat's doing well in public kindergarten!

Posted by: Lori [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 11, 2007 7:14 PM

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