Just as I expected, kindergarten throws a huge wrench into the family's schedule. I'm not the only new-K mom I know trying to figure it all out, especially with younger siblings with different needs. Many new-K moms also have to deal with their kids being upset or fearful about it, but this is a complete non-issue with Mr. Shrug.
Today, Gabriel's youngest sibling with different needs needed her naps -- and really needed them -- exactly during Gabriel's pickup/dropoff times. Without the CDC, I'd have had to wake her twice, and she'd have been a PITA all day. In fact, her morning naps have even been conflicting with the AM kindergartners' pickup times. There's no way around it. Baby naps and kindergarten don't mix.
In fact, this afternoon, I thought she might hold out until 2:45 so that I could pick up Gabriel directly from school, but at 2:10, not only was she falling apart, so was Julian. It was a mad scramble keeping her happy just long enough to persuade Julian to take a nap, which he did soundly, until we woke him at 6:15pm (!).
I know I'm not the only mom who juggles multiple schedules, but clearly I'm far less competent, selfless and flexible than other moms. I just can't bear the idea of waking up my moderately-high-needs baby, and don't know how to "make" her nap schedule work.
Even if Gabriel were on the AM schedule (8:40am - 12:05pm) and I picked him up every day (after waking Katrina up), then what? What would he do all afternoon? I take Katrina grocery-shopping and do little things with her, but the things I'd do with her are hardly great fun for him. Gabriel, of all kids, can amuse himself all afternoon at home, but every afternoon?
And then there's Julian. He doesn't always need a nap, but there are days when he most certainly does. Today was one of them. It'd suck for Gabriel if I'd planned to take him somewhere and had to bail because Julian was being impossible.
Yesterday when I picked Gabriel up at the CDC, he was intently watching a 3rd-grader playing with "Snap Circuits." He was all over it, barely containing himself from taking over, fascinated, thrilled, practically drooling watching this very nice and tolerant 3rd-grader following instructions on putting together circuits (the pieces snap together) and then pushing a button to make a tone or a light go on. Gabriel has pretty much not stopped talking about Snap Circuits since.
Actually, Snap Circuits is a bad example, because that's one thing he can't do at the CDC, and he could do at home if we had them. The CDC has a class of toys that only 3rd-graders-and-up can play with, and this was among them (marked 8+ years old). Nevertheless, the opportunities for play, toys and interaction there far exceed what he can get at home.
I need to find some sort of middle ground. I'm a big believer in home downtime, but that can't be half his day every day either. So for now, as long as Katrina's napping twice a day, and then during her transition to one nap, I think we'll keep him at the CDC before and after school. That said, as Katrina transitions to one nap, I'll start working towards making it end at 2:30, since 2:45 pickups will be a problem for as long as Katrina is napping at all. Which I hope is a long time.
This could all be solved with the lowly school bus, but inexplicably, in one of the most affluent communities in the country, we don't have school buses or lunchrooms.