The actual cost of preschool
Once again, you have helped to calm my anxious nerves a bit. Thank you. I have both some concrete steps I plan to take with Josh (one-on-one "learning fun time," for example) and some serious backing off to do on the worry throttle. A visit with a developmental specialist may also be in the offing, depending on what we hear back from his pediatrician, who up till now has seemed very unconcerned, chalking it up to him being "all boy."
So I will move forward on the assumption that he is probably fine. To paraphrase Amanda's comment, he may just be in a contrary phase, unwilling to please me by doing what I want him to do. He also favors his dad at every opportunity, seemingly just to crush my heavy heart into a goopy sad paste. (No, I don't want you to read me my night-night story, I want Daddy to read it to me!) So Jeff might actually get a better response from him than I do with letters and numbers and such. We're going to give that a try as well, and I will be both pleased and jealous if it works. Jeff--high school class salutatorian, former academic and quite possbily the deepest-thinking person I've ever met--was slow to talk and slow to read, according to his mom, whom I just interrogated on the subject. Maybe the slow start is in Josh's genes and portends nothing but good things for his future. (Am I laying on the optimism a little thick here, do you think?)
Again, thanks. Your comments were a relief.
So: On to another topic where I'll beg for further advice. As I mentioned in my last post, Josh & Olivia have been sick. A lot. More than a lot. In fact, neither one has been truly well and healthy for a full week since they started preschool--and official Winter hasn't even arrived yet.
Both kids sound like Mad Men-era smokers when they wake up. Then add in the congestion, sneezing and those godawful ear infections and pinkeye cycling through persistently and you get the picture. Josh has also had an infected toe, croup, stomach flu and a series of strange rashes, and Olivia has just been...not sure how to phrase it. Droopy, maybe. Tired and pale and languid. They have seen their beloved pediatrician (not to mention their new BFF ped at urgent care) countless times in the last five months, and pretty much each visit ends with new prescriptions for antibiotics or eyedrops. (We have about a dozen of those little plastic measuring syringes at this point; I've gotten very good at drawing up an exact teaspoon.)
We have been conscientiously keeping them out of preschool whenever there's a chance they might be contagious. Any fever, we keep them home. Significant cough, we keep them home. Snotty noses, we keep them home. Pinkeye, hell yes, we keep them home. So far, we're averaging more than one absence per kid per week, and they're only in school three days per. So we're getting less than 2/3 of what we're paying for, in terms of coverage.
Preschool looked like a downright bargain. For less than $1200 per month, both kids are cared for from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., M-W-F, including snacks and lunch--not bad, at least by Bay Area standards. Much less than a nanny. But when you figure in the 8-12 hours per week that Jeff ends up staying home with them instead of working, the cost advantage is lost. And when I think of the fact that, my god, my poor little kids are sick all the time, it feels a bit cruel to keep sending them.
Have you been in this position? If so, what did you do? Any tips for keeping kids healthy in the midst of a germ factory? I am all (infected) ears.