Controlled Chaos

Life is kind of kicking my ass right now. Most days I’m just attempting to hold it together. Duct tape and string.

My schedule continues to pummel me. I feel like I need a whole week of prep days just to get where I can avoid spending each period running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I’ll definitely have to take about 8 hours at school this coming weekend or the one after to make copies, score and input, and generally get on top of things a bit.

I have RSVPed for tours at two nearby locations of a Spanish immersion preschool I’ve heard good things about. The problem is that neither of the locations is particularly easy for my husband to get to on public transportation, and the tuition is a full $450 a month more than we’re currently paying (which is already $350 a month more than we were paying for our daughter). It’s a lot of money we hadn’t budgeted for for the next 36 months, but every placeI’ve looked into (that have long enough ours to accommodate our needs) costs at least that much. I’m starting to feel a fair bit of envy toward those that can afford a nanny. Not having to worry about restrictive hours and remote locations would be so helpful.

As far as the need for a new daycare, there was one biting report last week, but my son wasn’t sent home. Evidently he tried to bite someone today but they stopped him, thank god. I really don’t know what to do to help him get over this.

I took him to the pediatrician on Friday and, as I suspected, it was a totally useless appointment. After he made sure there were no hearing or speech issues that might be causing confusion or frustration, he basically told me what I already know, that there is nothing really we can do (that we aren’t already doing), and it sucks to be the parents of the “biter.” Yeah. Tell me about it. I’m supposed to contact Kaiser’s family psych department but I was underwhelmed by them when I took my daughter so I’m not sure I’ll even bother. It’s probably not worth the $25 co-pay and 2+ hours.

So yeah, the whole could-get-kicked-out-of-our-daycare-at-any-time situation continues to create a significant amount of stress. I spend all morning holding my breath, waiting to get a call from the preschool, and then I move at a frenetic pace to get out of work early enough to pick my son up before the second hour on the playground. I hate having no control, at the mercy of my almost-3-year-old’s behavior and my child care providers judgement. It’s incredibly stressful, and it’s eating away at my sanity. I don’t know what we’ll do if we are asked to leave before we have something else set up.

But there are some positive developments as well. My daughter’s homework has gotten much more manageable. There are still a lot of pages each night, but each one doesn’t take 10-15 minutes to finish. I also appreciate that the homework packet is due on Mondays, so we have the weekend to finish up if we get behind.

The AC in my modular at work was fixed. It’s been out for over a week, and with three days in the 90’s, it was really miserable. Classrooms in California don’t generally have air conditioning, but modulars do because they are basically giant metal boxes with no natural air flow. I already had a window fan because I generally try to avoid AC when possible, but it’s wasn’t nearly enough to keep a giant metal box filled with 33-34 people bearable when it was 90* out. The temperature in my classroom was topping out at 95* last week and there were moments I felt like I was suffocating it got so stuffy; I’m REALLY glad we have a working air conditioner again.

I found a new way to get to work that provides a higher chance if on-time arrival (and by on-time I mean within 1-2 minutes of the bell ringing, which is better than 5-7 minutes after it rings, which happened three times last week when the traffic was bad). Thank god I have a co-teacher in that class or I’d be panicking every morning on the way to work.

I started tracking my time today. I’m curious to see what I find, but don’t expect the results to be very enlightening (I think I have a pretty decent grasp on how I’m spending my time). Still, it’s a valuable exercise, especially as I attempt to streamline the tasks that are time intensive. I hope I learn something productive, or see some opportunities to use my time more wisely.

Finally, I’ve noticed that all the stress and uncertainty are really stoking my desire to buy things. It’s very obvious to me that I’m looking for something shiny and new to distract me from everything I don’t want to think about. I’ve kept a decent handle on it, but I’m so tired of rampant consumerism being my go-to way of managing intense emotions. It’s just hard to keep it under control, and I feel exhausted all the time when I’m in the midst of one of these “dreaming of a shopping spree” episodes. I’m just tired of talking myself out of a bunch of unnecessary purchases. It’s redundant and boring and makes me feel bad about myself.

This week is really busy, with a staff meetings at work, my daughter’s Back to School night and the monthly PTA meeting. My evenings are going to be packed, so I probably won’t post again this week. I hope things eventually settle down so I can return to writing (and responding to comments) like I used to. I hate when life pulls me away from this space.

15 Comments

  1. Ive been feeling overwhelmed lately too. I was telling my husband last night that everybody feels this way, I know it’s not just me, but I’m still tired! There’s just so much more going on during the school year than there was in the summer. And so much more traffic!

    I hope you continue to have a good stretch at preschool without biting, or at least without being called to pick him up.

    1. I do think most people feel this way, and it does make me feel less alone. I do wonder though, if this has to be the way we live. I wish we could find a way to make things work with out feeling so harried. It’s just not conducive a happy, healthy life, you know?

  2. I’m the parent of a pincher. It does suck. There’s only so many “I’m so sorry” you can deal out & then there’s the whole, well what did your kid do to my kid to make her pinch your kid. Sad that I go there but it’s an honest response. But I know why she’s pinching…she’s not getting her way, so she acts out. It’ll get better (I tell myself this) but for now, I’m bowing to the school (that I pay close $400 a month) and trying to do whatever they tell me, so she can stay. It sucks. I feel like a hostage but my kid likes it there, so what’daya do.

    Hooray to positive developments! Very awesome about your daughter! Great job!

    I wish you wouldn’t beat yourself up about talking yourself out of unnecessary purchasing. I get it, I do. I think buying something will make my life feel easier when it just makes me feel guilty knowing I could have spent this money on something that was actually needed. Instead, praise yourself for saving money. I know tiresome but you’re doing great just talking yourself out of the purchase.

    Here’s to a good week of controlled chaos!

    1. $400 a month! I need to move to where you are. We’re already paying $1400 a month and it’s easily the cheapest option I have found. Everything else is around $2000 for larger group care settings! It’s so much money.

      And please know, I’m not giving myself a hard time for thinking about shopping. I have definitely purchased some things we didn’t need and I shouldn’t have gotten, and mostly I’m just tired of obsessing over the things I manage not to get. It’s just tiresome and I wish I didn’t have to do it.

  3. Hopefully things will start to smooth out as you enter the school year!

    I don’t know if this would help or hurt the shopping urge, but lately I have been doing a lot of loading up of online shopping carts to fulfill some fantasy . . .and then not hitting buy (because I don’t have the funds in my ‘allowance’ currently). This oddly sort of curbs my shopping craving and then when I stumble upon the cart 2 months later (of all stuff that is no longer available) I realize I didn’t really need it anyway. (That said I still shop PLENTY so not trying to say I have this figured out – but it does quell my shopping urges while allowing me to stay within bounds).

    1. I do this too! It’s like the shopping for it and then being in control to decide later if I really need it wipes away the desire all together. It works great for me when I do it!

    2. I have been trying this. Usually I get stuck in a kind of obsessive “should I get it or not” thing for about 48 hours, and I can’t stop thinking about. But if I wait a while, it goes away. But it’s the obsessive circular thought process that exhausts me. I wish I could just put stuff in a cart and leave it and not think about it. That would be awesome.

  4. We hate it too when you are so stressed and overpushed that you need to step away from writing. But we understand and applaud you for doing what you need to do.
    Have you considered writing a list of the shinny pretties you think of buying to review later…. maybe with another adult? Might or might not help.
    Your days ARE sounding very frantic, you are not alone in that. Sending lots of good wishes your way, caring and hugs too. Hang in and stay well.
    PS: Childcare issues are a HUGE reason why many women are stopping at one child; not at all sure this is societally positive but individually I understand the financial reasoning. Child care costs are SO high. Really glad your daughter seems to be in a public school setting you support. Two private pays would be unmanageable in what you have described as your financial truth.

    1. Child care costs really are so high, especially here. We’re spending a MASSIVE amount for just one child, I can’t imagine how people do it when paying for both at the same time. Another unexpected perk of secondary infertility–a bigger space between kids so we don’t have to pay for childcare for two at once! 😉

  5. Hi, friend! I’ve been so distant lately because I’m so damn tired. There is nothing that I can think about other than being tired.

    You know that I, too, am a retail therapy gal myself. It’s like I get obsessed with something (skin care products is the latest thing) and I must buy all the things in that category that will make me feel in control of that aspect of my life. I research the heck out of it which does help control the buying urge, much like putting it in my car and then not buying it. I’ve almost entirely stepped away from buying clothes for any of us and ask focused on she skin care. It consumes me until I’ve purchased the things I want. I should see a therapist just to see what this is all about.

    The biting… I’m furious for you. My friend here has a kid who’s being bitten and she knows its normal, so doesn’t care. Turns out, there’s one girl in class who is biting EVERYONE repeatedly and the parents of the biter have not been told. The bitee parents have to sign incident reports, but the director doesn’t want to notify the biters parents yet. The OPPOSITE of what you’re dealing with, both situations being extreme. Why can’t these schools figure this out? It’s normal, notify both families when it happens, and move on.

    I’m so glad you found a faster route to work!!!!!!

    1. I also get obsessed with something, and then spend a ton of time researching it and trying to find exactly what I want at the right price. I know just what you’re talking about.

      As for the biting, it is what it is. It’s true that biting is developmentally normal in kids his age, but I also hate the idea that he is hurting his classmates. I totally understand other parents being upset. I just wish the school could be more proactive about preventing it, but I’m sure it’s hard. It’s just a no-win situation, for anybody. I hope it’s over soon.

  6. I hear that WAZE (the app) really helps for getting around traffic. I have a friend who swears by it. I seldom leave my house so I have no first hand knowledge. LOL. And why I never leave my house- I work from home and seriously haven’t had a day off since JUNE, so life is kicking my ass too. ((((HUGS)))

    1. I have heard good things about WAZE. The thing is, I know when traffic is going to be bad, and where, I just needed to figure out a way I could go that didn’t present different traffic. And I’m lucky I found something; the peninsula is getting so impacted these days, there is no way to avoid most of the traffic.

  7. As I read this, I found myself nodding and agreeing outlaid. People at work thought I was crazy. Ha just kidding, they know I’m nuts. But adjusting to a new schedule, fighting heavier traffic, heaven forbid there should be inclement weather or a new construction project pop up, and the entire thing comes crashing down. 3 days last week I was 10+ minutes late to work. Luckily I walked in with other staff who live out by me and we all clocked in at the same time. I feel vindicated I have company in my plight. And the pre-K drop offs with regular occurring meltdowns by my little girl, UGH! Working 5 days a week and doing my best to make ends meet is extremely overwhelming. One wrench in my machine and I’m afraid I will collapse. I feel your pain. My therapy of choice would also be retail, but instead of buying anything new for myself, I purchased a fall wardrobe for both kids. I bought things I needed for the house I had been putting off and, plane tickets. You are not alone my dear and know we can skip through this together. I hope things get worked out with your son’s preschool. I don’t see how kicking him out is the right answer, but I guess I’m not a preschool or daycare director. HUGS lady….thinking of you often!

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