qLife is a constant game of adaptation. Perhaps that's never more true than with military families. As My Sailor has rejoined a submarine, we say farewell to the easy world of shore duty, and hello to crazy schedules, long nights, and being ships passing in the night. So here's a little snap shot of what life is like as we prepare for the biggest deployment yet -
We finally found a preschool for the Impossible Girl. We're very excited to share our Forest Preschool experience with other folks.
The Impossible Girl goes to a preschool without walls. They operate in a local state park, and the kids explore, play, read, create, draw, etc outside from 9am to 1pm. There is a lunch time, but they aren't required to lay down for structured nap time. The idea behind it is sound (and our particular location is run by educators with over a decade of experience in early child development). She often comes home wet from having waded into the surf a bit at the end of the day, or muddy from having played in the mud, or with some traces of clay on her hands and face from having created something marvelous from clay. Her staple clothing for school are leggings/pants, a fleece hoodie, suncscreen and bug repellant. She's not afraid of bugs anymore, and her vocabulary has gone through the roof. Her classmates range in age from 2.5 years old to 6 years old. She is one of the younger ones, but she learns from others and makes friends.
It's been a great place for her. Our area lacks public preschool services (unless you child has an IEP or falls under the poverty line - luckily we aren't in those positions), so this was the best solution. While most in the area run $500+ for 3 hours of school a day, 3 days a week (where they may or may not spend an hour outside), for nearly the same amount of money - she gets Forest Preschool for 5 days a week, 4 hours a day, and will be spending all of it outside.
I know you're already wondering, "but you live in Washington! It's going to be rainy and wet and cold!"
Well, part of registration includes a rain suite that covers her ankle to hood. Like their bright yellow vests they wear during the summer time, these suits are also brightly colored, making it easy to spot the kids in the woods. And if the weather gets too ugly, they do have the option to go inside to cabin with a furnace to keep warm, but they aren't confined to a room. She's never loved being confined, so it fits us well.
So while she's in school, I'll have 4 hours to work (and workout - wahoo!) and get things done. Meanwhile, My Sailor is working a 4pm to midnight, so he's recovering. I get off work and pick up the kiddo (who is usually exahusted, so a snack in the car and then she crashes for a nap).
The next 1-2 hours are the family time for the day. Then My Sailor and/or I head off to work again. I use my Child Watch hours to see clients until 6pm ish, and then it's home for dinner and bed time. I try to be asleep before My Sailor comes home, but it's nice when he gets off early enough to chat for a bit before my head hits the pillow. Right now, he has weekends off, but I work the majority of Saturday, so we reserve Sunday for Family Day.
We know that soon enough, "Family Day" will mean the Impossible Girl and I recoup and reset.
But for now, we're consider ourselves impossibly lucky.