Call this a state of temporary bliss. A gift.
I am sitting in a cafe in the middle of the day – ok it’s really a chain restaurant that offers free wifi- but don’t ruin the image.
I’m sitting in a cafe in the middle of the day with an iced coffee and my fingers tapping away. My four year old is not pestering me to play a Dora game on the computer or to play with her princess toys. My 14 year old isn’t asking for the computer so she can update her very serious role play where the future of genetically modified vampire clone warriors is at stake.
It’s back to school time.
I never wanted to be one of those mamis, the ones in the commercials who joyfully run through the aisles of the office supply store because they are getting rid of their kids for a few hours pero here I am.
On Thursday, La Mapu started high school (!!!). She had to commute via the subway for an hour and go through a metal detector (Oh thank you NYPD secured DOE public schools). But despite her worry and mine (none of us slept very much the night before), she made it and actually liked it. She scored a new friend (a young woman who has never been to school before). Getting la Mapu into high school was a nearly two year process that involved tests, open houses, interviews and essays. I’m pleased that the hard work we both had to put in was well worth it (so far) pero the fact that we had to go through such a process pisses me off.
The only thing that pissed me off more than the high school application process was the Pre-K application process. Really wanting Poroto to attend a full day public school program meant putting myself through two lotteries, none which yielded ideal results. In this second round of the NYC Public School Pre-K lottery- Poroto was on of 46 percent or so that got a spot. She didn’t get a spot in our neighborhood. Nor did she get a full day spot. On Thursday I stood in a crowd of people outside her assigned school for over an hour- in the rain, with poroto. El Chileno came with thinking it would be a quick process, but he left to go to work. Clearly this was mami’hood business.
Once I made it inside the school, I was given a number (17), a stack of papers to fill out and we waited…….for two more hours. We sat through one assembly listening to the new principal of the school tell first and second graders that they were in school because President Obama wanted them to get good jobs and make a lot of money. We then sat though a second assembly where the principal told students that in the halls they should be “still, silent, and straight”. Umm yeah this was when I was ready to walk out and say fuck pre-k. Poroto – who napped and was more patient and quiet than I have ever seen her- begged me to wait a few more minutes because she really wanted to go to school. So I waited and finally our number was called.
The actual registering was fast. I had all my papers in order. The only confusion I caused was by checking off that my daughter was Latina and not white. With half an hour to spare before her first class, Poroto was an official public school Pre-K student.
Asking her, she’ll tell her her first day was boring, because I had to sit with her for orientation, making the grand total of hours spent in a public elementary school yesterday 5 and a half.
Pero back to today – with me sitting in a chain restaurant cafe, finishing my iced coffee, almost not annoyed by the ambient noise around me (note to self – next time do not forget your headphones), finishing a personal blog post! I left Poroto at Pre-K land’s special door. She didn’t cry. In fact we both skipped away happily in opposite directions, excited about the changes in our lives.
(PS – please consider donating to Poroto’s panderia fund which I will be renaming Mala’s cafe writing fund).
(PPS- I need to find a place where I can have a glass of wine while Poroto is in Pre-K. That will make this even more fun)