I don't know if it's just a city thing, but everyone in Chicago starts stressing about where they will send their kids to preschool the first time they have unprotected sex with their husband. I'm told this process involves a lot of strategizing, most of which occurs before the baby is released from the hospital. Or before it is even conceived. If you want to send your child to a Catholic pre-school, you should probably join the associated church before the kid is born so it doesn't look so obvious you're only joining to get the better time slot in their coveted pre-K program. I bet God frowns on that sort of thing.
My girls were inconsiderate enough to be born in November, meaning they don't make the September 1 cut-off so I can't cart them off to pre-school until they are almost four. In the meantime, I am obsessed with taking them to all kinds of classes, mainly because everyone else around here is so you feel like a neglectful parent if your baby isn't simultaneously enrolled in WiggleWorms, Gymboree and Musical Magic, where they eat instruments and don cowboys hats while the moms sing On the Road Again by Hank Williams. I need a damn Blackberry just to know where I'm supposed to be every hour. To further torture mothers, the Chicago Public Library just instituted a sign-up only story time. Who ever heard of "registering" for a free story time??? I almost missed the deadline which caused mass panic on my part because everyone knows babies who don't attend story time at 16 months old will never get into college.
We went to exactly one Gymboree class. I had a free pass and was so disturbed I will never go back, bubble time and cool parachute withstanding. If my offspring develop mental problems I plan to sue Gymboree -- I think I can make a valid case they were irreparably damaged during that 45 minutes. I won't go into it but let's just say I think the "teacher" may be wanted in several states and I was ready to call in an anticipatory Amber Alert. Regardless of criminal intent, she damaged my eardrums with high notes that perked up the ears of all canines within a 10-mile radius.
Dear Gymboree hiring manager: if the teachers are expected to sing during class, please make them audition during the interviewing process. Also, please don't call me 35 times after the trial class to "remind me" I need to sign up ASAP (!!!) to get $20 off the enrollment fee. I've had stalkers who called me less. And I know we are in a recession, but when $20 becomes such an urgent matter that I'm about to file a restraining order, kindly shoot me. The first message was left with such fervor and distress I thought I forgot one of my kids there or something.
I also have unresolved anger with the Chicago Park District. I signed the girls up for a "play group" once per week and upon our arrival was told there was a pre-requisite so they weren't eligible. A pre-requisite for a play group for 10-to-17 month olds. I wrote a series of hate letters and they have since dropped the pre-requisite requirement. I guess the joke will be on me when my kids don't "play" correctly and feel like they jumped right from geometry to calculus.
Speaking of which, I must go over there now and show birth certificates to prove my girls are in the correct age range. Because I guess sneaking your kids into classes for the wrong age group is a real problem in Chicago...