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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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We'll be rich! RICH!

Scott and I just got back from our tour of the local public elementary school, which Henry will be attending next year. You've probably heard me bitch about this before, but Henry just missed the cut-off date for kindergarten, which in New Jersey is October 1st. Henry's birthday is the 7th of October. Could they let us in anyway? They could not. Damn their rules!

I agree with the millions upon trillions of people who love telling us how this was for the best, but what they fail to take into consideration is that preschool is not free; nay, each month many many dollars are torn from our hands as we weep and fall onto the ground, rending our garments.

But next year! Oh, next year, my friends, it's public-school time for our boy. Thus, the tour. We asked questions and pretended to care about the answers, but really, as long as the school isn't in flames we'll send him there. Ha ha! Ideally it should be more than just not on fire. We have standards! Fortunately for everyone the school was both not on fire and also pretty great. The principal walked us around for over an hour, answering our questions, which went like this:

"So it's free, you say?"

"Really? Free?"

"How much is tuition? Come on, seriously."

"Don't bring me down with your 'local taxes' talk. What will we do with all that extra money?"

"Can you provide us with recipes for meals that aren't beans? Now that we're all rich?"

"I mean, not that I don't like beans. But enough already, am I right?"

"Can you tell us more about the free part?"

Beyond its freeness, there are many other attributes to the school. I think Henry will enjoy himself there. And we will enjoy him being there, as we wallow in our newfound riches.

There's a new Wonderland post up today. And now: lunch! So long, suckers!

Reader Comments (45)

Here, preschool is heavily subsidized, but childcare is not. We're still waiting to find out if our three-year-old will get off the waitlist and into the local preschool program for fall. If he does, I'll be doing the happy dance right there beside you at the prospect of saving over $800 a month. We'll be able to eat meat again... the good stuff!
March 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTammy
I think "Get your kid out of private preschool" is step one in The Wealthy Barber.

March 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelissaS
Here they have to be 5 by September 1st
Yeah but the bigger they get, the more expensive the clothes get. Plus they eat more. Did you know it's possible for a six year old boy to eat 12 small pancakes in one sitting? Now if only we could get the local taxes to feed and clothe them, we'd all really be rich!
I TOTALLY understand the pain of this "free gift" we give our child. Our kids' school has a cut off of June 1st and our youngest's birthday is June 7th. So the gift of an extra year for her is $18,000 and she turns 7 (SEVEN) before kindergarten is over. I had better see that $18,000 returned many times over sometime in the future. heh.

March 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris
I feel you. Luckily we don't have to do the extra year of school, because my son was born 3 months prior to the K cutoff. I have 5 (F-I-V-E) more $810 payments left. 5. 5 payments.

I was at a birthday party the other day with a bunch of other parents from DS's pre-K and one of the moms with and older child said, "You know, when all is said and done, you don't see the extra money." And I turned to her in horror and said, "Woman, shut yo' mouth!" She was taking after school care and school lunches into account, though... I work nights, so no after care, and DS will take his lunch because I am not paying more for food that he won't eat.

5 more payments!

March 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa C.
I hear ya! Our daughter (and youngest child) is finally going to kindergarten in the fall. Honestly? She was ready like 2 years ago. She's 4 1/2 going on 12 that one. And oh to be free from preschool tuition! We may actually get to take a decent vacation next year.

Our youngest son missed the cut off by 2 weeks also. So, yeah.
March 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTootsie Farklepants
I thought we would be rich too when our oldest went from preschool ($1000/month) to public school...alas...not so much. I guess I've found other ways to spend that $$ :-)
March 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKate
The extra money spent on preschool sucks, it's true, but speaking as a teacher, the wait will very likely be good for him--but only because he's a boy. This is obviously a generalization, and I'm sure Henry is a genius when it comes to words if he's anything like you, but in general most boys benefit from being a year older than the girls in their class when it comes to learning to read. A lot of boys get misdiagnosed with learning disabilities early on simply because they are on a different time frame developmentally, and this is how a lot of them end up being frustrated and turned-off from school later on.
March 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternoholzbarred
Me = laughing out loud and in the exact same boat as you. My son's born on the sixth, one year later. And preschool subsidized? Hah! I would trade little cartons of milk for a government handout anyday. Float on Finslippy, Float on.
March 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa B.
This will be me in five years, give or take a little... I'm planning on a couple of really lean years in which I have to get very creative with bread and butter for dinner. Invisible grilled cheese sandwiches! No more vacations... oy. But, in three more years we won't have a car payment, and in 2-1/2 more years we'll only have one kid in daycare. It will be here before we know it - right?
March 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennB
Our town is the last in the area with a 12/31 cut off. HRH's birthday is 11/18 but we opted to go the extra year of preschool.

But then we were even dumber because we've just signed him up for Catholic school (which is still far cheaper than preschool).

March 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterManic Mommy
Ha, it is to laugh.

How about an elderly parent in assisted living at 4k a month, who is running out of money?! THAT is expensive.
March 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRobin
Gosh, and here I thought we were lucky: because my sainted mother-in-law works at my son's daycare/preschool, we get the "employee discount" (he's been there since he was 1), and even with that, we pay about $800/month. Welcome to the San Francisco Bay Area. I won't even talk about our rent. We don't eat a lot of beans, but now that my husband just got laid off, I'm thinking maybe we should. My son was born mid-September, so I'm thinking we're already hosed...
March 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercynthia
See, we were on the other end, Declan's birthday is 9-13, our cutoff is also Oct 1st. So we spent months agonizing over whether he was ready, being pissed that he came 8 weeks early (as a 32 week preemie - if he had just waited till he was supposed to be born, I wouldn't have had to THINK about anything!)... and the kicker? Our Kingergarten is tuition based. So they had us coming and going. The bastards.
March 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAimee Greeblemonkey
Enjoy it now because college tuition payments await you just around the corner...
March 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCollege Mama
Ah, yes; I remember those days not so fondly. For three summers, we paid more in daycare than our mortgage payment. ACK!

Now they are 11 and 8 and depending on our schedules, we may still get off scotfree if we have opposite shifts.
March 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDory
Ah, how I look forward to the day that I too can have children and ruin my life. Right now, we just spend all our money having rubber ducks and toothbrushes and bouillon cubes (expensively) removed from the damned dog. Give us a year though. We'll ruin our lives but good. Diapers, wee baby clothes, school, wrecked cars and parent-teacher conferences, ooh, I can't wait!
March 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJemima
I know I'm late weighing in here, but I thought you would find this amusing. In Texas, the cutoff is September 1st to be 6 yrs old and enter the first grade. Since I was born in the stone age and had a typewritten birth certificate and my mother was a nurse, they simply changed the birth certificate for the school records. I was born on Sept. 2. Since she didn't think it was fair that I miss out on 1 year of schooling because of 1 day, she changed it. Then everyone in my family celebrated every birthday I had throughout high school on the 1st. I never knew any different until I was 16 and needed to get an ID to work. When I went to the state office to get a copy of the birth certificate, I saw it and told the clerk they made a mistake, I was born on the 1st, not the 2nd. She told me about a procedure to get it corrected. I went home and told my mom that we'd have to fix it. She looked all sheepish and had to admit to the ruse. They didn't tell me the real date as a kid because she said that most little kids will tell the truth when asked unless they are in trouble and she didn't want me to 'confess' to my real birthdate while I was in school. How crazy is that?
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHoney B Fly
If it helps at all, the cut off for Kindergarten here is September 1st- meaning you wouldn't have even been close~ sort of making you feel better.

I am a teacher and have to say that lately the private schools are getting lots and lots of children who aren't "understood" (read:catered to) in the public schools. Good Riddance to them! Public schools are only as good as the teachers and the parents.
March 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTeacher Mommy

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