I am sitting on a cushy leather sofa in the Kitchen and Pantry coffee shop in Notting Hill with my phone and my computer to occupy me….yet I am still counting the minutes. I am far from home and feel almost in limbo. I am supposed to be enjoying this time to myself, expanding my mind, thinning my waist, basically wallowing in the sudden alone-ness that I have for three hours every morning. Yet the unenjoyable commute to this far off neighborhood and the stress of getting Caileigh to school happy, full and hopefully sort of clean has gotten to me after just two days. I'm barely enjoying the time to myself, maybe because it is bracketed in an hour on either end of something boarding on unpleasantness.
The worst part of this is that I knew about it. I wasn't thrown into this situation by someone else. I chose the school. I chose it. And goddamn if one of the first questions Hubby asked wasn't, "are you sure you're going to want to make that trip every day? Are you sure? 40 minutes? Really?" The question was echoed by every new mom I met, when nursery school inevitably came up in conversation. I was so cocky and confident and willing to sacrifice what I imagined was a bit of down time on the sofa by myself for the betterment of my child. A second language is an amazing thing to gift your child with and when the parents don't speak a second language, a school must be found to fill the gap. Well, this is what I keep telling myself.
Caileigh seems to enjoy the school. I asked her over and over again yesterday what she did at school and how she liked it. I was told, again and again, of the purple coloring on her hands and almost nothing else. [Sidenote: the purple marker did not come out in the bath last night and is still faintly visible on her hands, therefore I consider one of her first nursery school lessons to be - color only on paper not on your hands or clothes, I don't care if the lesson comes from me it's still a nursery school lesson.] She was at school for two and a half hours and I couldn't get her to tell me how she spent any of her time. Eventually as the day went on, and Hubby came home to ask the questions in a new way, we learned of her snack of water and apple slices, and of the pink cup the water came in. And possibly about a bumped finger, whether it was Caileigh's finger or not I couldn't tell. What I wanted and wasn't getting, was a blow by blow, video re-enactment, of my daughter's first day in nursery school. The one tidbit I got from a teacher was that, at snack time, Caileigh wanted her raisins, so got them herself from her backpack and then went around the room giving each classmate one raisin each. The teacher seemed touched, I was relieved that my daughter's sweet sharing inclinations extended to school. I considered it a sign that she felt comfortable being herself even while away from me and wasn't reverting to a shy scared little girl.
So my daughter is enjoying herself. I am not. What don't I like about sitting in a coffee shop for 3 hours every morning, you ask? I don't know that I can pinpoint it 100%. It feels wasteful, in so many ways. I don't want to HAVE to pay for a coffee and a snack every day to earn myself a spot in a coffee shop for an extended amount of time. I don't want to have to pay for WiFi that I already possess at home. I don't want to sit reading or playing online EVERY DAY Monday through Friday, as though it's an obligation. I'm not sure I like the totally unproductive use of time. There's no cleaning being done at home, no errands run, still no groceries in the fridge when we get in from school. I don't want to stray too far from the school in order to avoid additional bus or train fares, the commute to and from school is already about eight pounds a day, much more than my previous transport costs were. I'm sure there are more things, but these are the ones that are bothering me this morning.
Is this enough to change my mind about a bilingual education for my daughter? There are no French nursery schools in our neighborhood. There is however, a newly opened Primary and beyond school that has just opened. Meaning if I stick with this commute and provide Caileigh with a good background of the French Language, she could be going to the British equivalent of kindergarden at a French school three minutes from home. But that is in two years…are we even going to be in London in two years? I've made a "no more moving" promise to myself before, they don't hold up well. It also can't be guaranteed that Caileigh will be given a spot at the school.
Would it be more financially prudent to find a closer nursery and then hire a French tutor? At least we wouldn't be paying for commuting and coffee costs. Would it be terrible to take Caileigh out of a school she obviously enjoys already? Possibly more importantly, what does Hubby think of all of this? Perhaps I should ask my second half and allow him his views, I'm sure he will have one or two.