Friday, September 26, 2014

Another life update

So things are slowly coming together. We've secured 2 nannies to split up the weeks taking the kids to their things. That will last through December. One nanny is a close friend and the other is another unschooling mom. I'd like to keep it going through next "semester" to, but just in case, I've been touring schools/day cares.

Because of having no car, we are limited to schools that are either 1)close to our house, or 2) close to McKay's work. There is one school near us and I toured it this week. It's the school I see all the neighborhood kids walking to. Well, it's the school I see all the brown kids walking to. I don't know where the white kids go. I mentioned to my friend who works there, "So Margaret would be the only white kid?" And she said that there's another white kid in the school. This boggles my mind because we definitely have more white kids in our neighborhood than just 1. Well, of our neighbors that are Margaret's age, one goes to a private school and the other goes to a charter school across town, so I guess that's where the white kids go. This school I toured was a charter school (public school is too far away) and so there's a wait list I put Margaret on it.

I still have to tour the two schools near McKay's work. One is a public school, but it's not an Oakland public school. The other is a charter.

Yesterday I toured a daycare for Isaac and Linda. It's nice and play-based. They warned me it's not heavy in academics and I guess some people prefer academics? I'm ok with not pushing academics on my 1 year old and 4 year old! I like it, but again it has a wait list and I don't know how long it'll be until there's a space.

So at least we are covered until January. We'll be still homeschooling and our nannies/babysitters will be taking Margaret to Spanish class and Lego class and such.

Isaac is now 4 so he got to start Hacker Sparks with Margaret, and the Waldorf class we had Margaret in last year is allowing both Isaac and Margaret to go even though neither are kindergarten-aged. They'll love it. That starts next week.

Oh, and I did a triathlon last Sunday. I never got to the "I can't do this anymore" point, but I was being really lazy in the swimming and running sections. I did the bike as hard as I could, but I just didn't care about the others.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Life Changes

I think I've hinted that big changes have been on their way. Well, they are. And I've signed a contract this morning assuring that they'll happen.

I think in the last post, I mentioned having occasional existential crises from time to time. I've felt stuck for not having much of a resume and not knowing how to get myself out of that hole.

In fact, a lot of the prenatal depression that I had with Linda's pregnancy was due to the fact that I had signed up for a class that summer and was planning on working on getting out of that lack-of-resume hole, only to find out that I was pregnant and I had no idea how to fit that in with my goals.

After Linda was born, I took some free classes on Coursera: organic chemistry, financial planning, environmental studies, Python. After completing the Python class, I had a birthday (yay 28!) and decided to give myself 2 years to finish up some knitting patterns I wanted to publish and other personal projects. Then when I turned 30, I'd apply for some coding bootcamps or get involved in computer programming in other ways and eventually enter the workforce.

In a particular slump this summer, I decided to just peruse available coding bootcamps and saw that there was one that fit me particularly well. It wouldn't start for a while, I could work out money to pay for it, and I was the perfect candidate! I applied. Then I got an email asking for an interview, so I interviewed. Unfortunately the interview went poorly, almost from the get-go. We just did not mesh.

So I expected the rejection email, but it didn't change the disappointment of actually seeing it in my inbox. There were tears. The hopelessness of never getting out of SAHM-ness was confirmed.

Meanwhile, I had a friend just return from living abroad who had done a bootcamp. She encouraged me to go to a front-end workshop in the city on a Saturday with her. She also sent me information on another bootcamp on a random Friday afternoon. I filled it out just to do something and didn't expect much.

But the next week I got an interview, and this time I knew I had impressed them. I knew I'd get the acceptance email and I was silently panicking on the way home from the interview- so much, in fact, that I took the wrong BART and had to get off and on again to get home.

This particular bootcamp had more complications than the other. Instead of not starting for a while, this one starts in October. Instead of being 10 weeks long, this one is 6 months. Both bootcamps are full-time in the city, M-F, 9-5.

Meanwhile, we were having issues with our homeschool charter and applying for others. Would we have to find an actual school now? Would the daycare have openings for our kids?

Right now the plan is to get a nanny who will take Margaret to her classes and we'll keep homeschooling. That's actually turning out to be cheaper than paying for daycare for the 2 younger kids. I'll still tour some schools and daycares because our nanny of choice won't be able to help us out beyond December. She also can only do a few days a week, so we need to find another part-time nanny for the other days. We did switch homeschool charters and found one which will pay for Spanish classes and maybe even some other classes.

This is where unschooling is great. I wouldn't expect a nanny to do any schooling with my kids; a nanny isn't a tutor! But since we don't have a specific curriculum anyway, then there's no worry about Margaret getting her schoolwork done.

Breastfeeding-wise, Linda is 20 months, so if she nurses less often, she's going to be ok. The biggest concern is my own comfort. After that Saturday workshop in the city, I was in pain! I'm probably going to pump a little during the lunch hour just so I don't get mastitis.

I don't know what's going to happen come January. And I don't know what's going to happen when the course finishes in April.

If you got through all of this, congrats! Here's a picture of Isaac. Aww...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Why I don't post about 9/11

CW: intrusive thoughts

I don't think I've ever blogged on or around 9/11 and there's a reason for that. I didn't know anyone in New York or DC. I was a sophomore in high school. But the aftermath of 9/11 was the first big time that intrusive thoughts plagued me.

It's weird having thoughts you don't want and not being able to do anything about it. I couldn't even explain them to you other than that it was highly distracting and sometimes almost escapist. Like daydreaming gone very awry? I don't know.

When the first anniversary of 9/11 was approaching, I realized that what was going on in my mind was getting out of hand and I needed to tell someone. I told my parents. They just told me that it would probably go away over time and figured that the looming anniversary was the cause. Once that passed, it'd go away.

And that sort of is what happened... except that intrusive thoughts didn't go away, they were just less 9/11-related and more related to other issues, usually my own failings. There was a time after I did something that I thought was really horrible, that I kept having suicidal thoughts even though death scares the bejeebus out of me and I wouldn't actually do it or plan it. But can I tell you how scary it is to have thoughts like that that you can't control? Then in college, the intrusive thoughts were more about how I'm not good enough to be in my classes and everyone is going to find out I'm an impostor, even though I really did earn my place. I kind of have a never-ending story of how I'm just never going to be good enough going on in the background.

And this story doesn't even have a "and then I got help and things are better" happy ending because I haven't. I haven't seen anyone about it. And when I recently went to the doctor for a regular check-up and mentioned mood things, I didn't really have symptoms diagnosable as actual depression or anxiety. So who knows? Exercise helps a little. Yay biking! My other coping mechanism is to keep myself so busy that I don't have time to think about anything.

Anyway, 9/11 is a big trigger for me and just reminds me that I don't really have control of my own brain and emphasizes my inadequacy as a human being. I don't really post about it and I don't read about it.

I'll post more news soon. Things are happening around here.

Monday, September 01, 2014

More School Year Stuff

So last week was a stressful time school-wise for us. We have been using a charter school for funds for our classes, but our great teacher retired so we were assigned a new one. She was not really a good fit. On Monday night we got an email saying that our first meeting was Wednesday morning in a library that was one and a half hours away by bike and public transportation. She told us when it was and said if we couldn't make it the other options would be even further away. I wrote back and mentioned we had transportation issues, but we still ended up going on Wednesday so that Margaret wouldn't be cited as a truant.

I was not happy about being told when/where our meetings would be without asking us what would work for us. For example, Margaret had Spanish lesson on Thursday. If that had been Wednesday morning, we would have had to miss the meeting and risk being truants all the while having her in a class!

Also, the teacher didn't seem to want us to use the money for Spanish classes or other "elective" classes. She wants us to buy curriculum, which I'm mostly against. I've seen so many homeschoolers buy curriculum and then have it sit around unused. Why buy curriculum if you can get everything online or at the library for free?

So I ended up telling the teacher that we needed a new ES and that this current arrangement is not going to work out. Three hours of public transportation with 3 kids for a half hour meeting? NOPE NOPE NOPE.

We applied for another charter school that has the same sort of "Independent Study" set up in hope that we'll get a more understanding teacher.

But we are also acknowledging that if none of this works out, then we'll just file the Private School Affidavit and pay for everything ourselves. We'll miss the class money, but maybe the freedom from hoop-jumping is worth it.

During Margaret's Spanish class on Thursday, I went grocery shopping with Isaac and Linda. Here's a picture of the kids in the bike bucket with bags of groceries (made from t-shirts).



And here's a picture of Margaret practicing violin, photography by Isaac.