Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

How to Ease the Preschool Transition

I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to ease the transition from Home-Safe-Home to Preschool for my daughters.  Every school has it’s own policies and recommendations for parents regarding the big “drop off” which can be equally painful for both mother and child.

We started our girls at a 5 days/week Montessori school two months shy of their second birthdays (both were born in October). Other families opt to keep their children home longer and when they do begin preschool, they choose schools with flexible scheduling — full days or half days and two, three or five days a week.  And still other families skip preschool altogether and choose to teach their children themselves at home.

The great beauty of living this life in the places that most of my readers are from is that we are all blessed with  options and have the freedom to choose what works best for our families emotionally, logistically and financially. Lucky us! Like I’ve said before, what’s best for your family is what’s best for your family.  🙂

During the beginning of my first daughter’s life, I worked very little and had the time and mental space to do all kinds of special things for her starting with her conception. I did everything I could to prepare myself physically and emotionally for pregnancy so that when she was ready to say, “Yes” to our conscious invitation to join us, her spirit would land in a body (mine) that was at peace and filled with welcoming love.  I practiced pre-conception yoga; I meditated and prayed for her; I received Mayan abdominal massage to ensure my uterus was in alignment; I walked in nature daily to connect with the divine Feminine.  You get the picture….

During her first two years, I collected hand-written blessings from extended family members and my step-daughter, a creative genius, put together a beautiful Blessing scrapbook; I carefully recorded all her firsts in an in-depth Baby Book replete with photos; and I prepared her for both the transition to preschool and the transition to having a sibling with picture books I wrote explaining what was about to happen.

With my sweet second little Love Nugget, my relationship with time and freedom and mental space has been quite different — starting with her wham, bam, holy-shit-I’m-pregnant-again conception to the stressful recession environment and health-challenged body she was born into. Most mothers aren’t able to match all they did for their first child with their second child. This reality compounded for me with the decision to go back to work full-time.

So bless my youngest’s heart (and mine), I still haven’t finished her baby book; I haven’t started her 1st birthday blessing book; and I didn’t put together an “Izzy’s Going to School” photo book for her.

I came close. Last week, during her school’s first parent meeting, I took photographs of her guide (Montessori’s preferred term for teacher), the guide’s assistant, and different areas of her future classroom — the tiny sink, the tiny toilets, the little shelves with objects for tactile exploration.

Instead of mirroring what I did for Sadie and putting the pictures on pages with accompanying text like, “This is the outside of Izzy’s new school called Butterfly Garden” and “Look at all the different things Izzy can explore inside her classroom” and reading her the little book for days leading up to her first day of school — I simply brought the photos up on my computer screen the morning of her first day and talked her through them.

Thankfully this school has given a lot of thought to what small children need emotionally — including their transition from spending all their time with their mothers (or fathers).

I’m so grateful for the process my girls’ school uses to help the youngest children transition to school with minimal upset.

  • First, they stagger the children’s start dates so that each new child has his or her own first day and can receive extra TLC from the guides if upset (versus having to sit alone and cry after drop-off because the guides are faced with ten upset children all coming to school for the first time on the first day)
  • Second, the lead teacher makes a home visit a few days prior to the scheduled start so that your child can experience her in the comfort and familiarity of family environment.
  • Then, the day before your child’s first day, they ask that you bring her to the school at noon when school is ending and when the children who have already started are walking with the guide from the school to their parents’ cars to reunite with their Mommies, Daddies and/or caregivers which is helpful for anticipating and knowing what will happen when she starts.
  • And finally, when it comes time for the First Day, they set up drop-off so that parents do not get out of their cars. During a fifteen minute drop-off time window, parents drive up to the designated spot in front of the school and wait in a line of cars for the assistant guide to come and in a very honoring way take each child out of his or her carseat and walk up the front yard path together to the classroom while Mommy or Daddy drives away.

Day one, little Izzers panicked when she realized that the guide was about to take her out of the car and away from me.  The guide carried and comforted her all the way to the school while she wept and I reluctantly drove away. One of the school’s office managers called me at work to let me know that she cried for less than a minute and was perfectly content the rest of the morning.

Day two (today), with nothing new to worry about, she proudly got out of the car, took the guide’s hand and wobbled up the path to the school with her gigantic bag on her shoulder.

Giant exhale from Mama.

Posted in Education | No Comments

The Search for our Perfect Childcare

As I prepare to relinquish my Stay At Home (occasionally Work at Home) Mom status this coming week, my feelings are all over the map. Sadness. Excitement. Relief. Anxiety.  I can’t allow myself to wallow in the part that is grief because it won’t do me or the girls or my husband any good. I’m sure I will cry my private cry on the way to work for the first time and I imagine I’ll have pangs of guilt or worry come up at various points during these first few weeks when my girls and I make this rather significant life transition to spending more time apart from one another.

In the big picture, I’m filled with gratitude that this job opportunity came my way exactly when it did.  Working for Whole Foods – a serious happy place for me for many, many years, and even more exciting — a job that is all about supporting my friend Rip Esselstyn and his Engine2 diet. I’ve been a fan of Rip’s recommended way of eating long before he wrote his book which is now a NY Times best seller.  In fact, Mark and I and my step-daughter Audrey are quoted in the book and one of Mark’s recipes is also included.

A few months after I had my second baby in late 2008 and was eating vegan again to support her gastro-intestinal issues, Rip asked if his PR agency could pitch me as an Engine2 success story to Women’s World magazine — I guess because I was losing weight relatively fast after having a baby.  But I still looked solidly pregnant! The magazine called me and liked my story and the next thing I know I found myself agreeing to be on the cover — all in the name of supporting Engine2!  Last summer John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO hired Rip to be the voice of healthy eating for the company. If you go into any Whole Foods, you’re likely to see the Engine2 book displayed somewhere.

Whole Foods Global Headquarters

I’ll be working on the sixth floor of the beautiful Whole Foods building with the grocery store an elevator ride away. And the store is biking distance from house. I haven’t ridden a bike since Sadie was born. With this job I finally have the official impetus to exercise again this way and re-commit to being fully “plant strong” as Rip likes to say.

Now.  For my sweet girls.  What’s the plan?  Who can I trust to care for them, love them, guide them, and teach them cool things in my absence?   Our singer-songwriter nanny, Molly, that both girls adored is no longer with us official the Friday before Mother’s Day as she signed on with a nationally touring band and will be joining them at the end of the month. Until I figure out what feels best for the girls and that we can afford (full-time nanny not an option) — I thankfully have a friend who is stepping in to help for the next 2 weeks.

Last week I got a wild hair and decided to explore a preschool/daycare option for the summer that was radically different from Montessori.  Montessori has  been my eldest daughter’s school experience since she was 22 months old and where my littlest will start in the fall.  (more…)

Posted in AP and Working Moms, Education | 2 Comments

Uncomfortably Gray

Gray Gray Gray.  Never liked it.  I’ve always had a need for black and white.

I tortured myself with a gray relationship in my twenties. A guy I was involved with who called me at least eight times a day, wanted to share every meal with me, bought me gifts regularly, took me on multiple trips all over the United States and had sex with me spent the first year we were together insisting that we were just friends. The following three years together he went back and forth between “Yes I love you” and “Maybe you’re just not it.”

During that first year I kept trying to convince him that based on what we were doing together we were actually in an intimate relationship….ridiculously determined to receive that clearly defined label that would acknowledge my significance.  And he would frequently say to me, “Life isn’t always black and white the way you want it to be.”  Indeed. I clearly suffered from a seriously low self esteem at the time to sign up  for a relationship like this as long as I did, but I forgive myself.

Going down memory lane a bit farther as I remember why my self-esteem was so crippled to have chosen this particular boyfriend — it was because I was coming off of the painful loss of my first love. We dated all through high school and college and were engaged briefly right after graduating. Eight months after we broke up, he married someone else.  I spent the next year of my life drinking heavily, crying or singing in my whiskey or wine and occasionally writing poetry.

When contemplating my frustration with a parenting subject in my life right now that I feel uncomfortably gray about, I was reminded of one of my old poems and found it in a box of journals tonight.  I wrote this during my drunk year in between the above two relationships when I wore black all the time. I thought it was artsy, sophisticated, edgy….who knows.  It was also my way of mourning what felt like the death of my first boyfriend — but worse.

To Be

Not Hamlet, but me.

An oak leaf maybe

Fallen from a tree.

Weathered, restless, lonely

And floating free.

She’s not the same color

As she was before

No. No ma’am.

Not since he walked out the door.

Just Red today.

More Scarlett really

O hair that she

wants to shave off.


Just to look gay.

Gay for a day.

Maybe? No.

Angst ridden.

Powerful, Strong, Liberating too.

And most times

Dear Scarlett

Happens to be Blue

Despite a kaleidascope of emotion

She prefers Black above all.

Solid, unwavering, genuine


No question of shade

In this young woman’s heart

She is

who she is

who she is.

That’s right.

This is only her start.

Now here I am fifteen years later.  I’ve gained wisdom on so many fronts; I roll with so much more than I ever did in my twenties or early thirties; and my angst has rolled over from one chapter of life’s central interest to another’s — just like a 401K plan or something.  It went from the Single, Will-I-ever-find-true-love-again account to the Married Professional Mom, Am-I-doing-the-right-things-for-my-children.

Angst du jour?  (more…)

Posted in Education, Mama Self Expression | 6 Comments

Dreaming up the Perfect Elementary School

I mentioned a few posts back that amazing, unexpected gifts from the universe continue to appear since I started a regular practice of setting clear intentions and expressing gratitude for everything in my life.

Whenever I do the Power of Intention journaling exercise and write about my dream life, one of the lines that I’ve noticed I repeat every time is, “We have all the resources necessary for our children to attend any school that we like from preschool through college.”

What I would like for my girls to experience for elementary school?  Montessori.

As we inch closer and closer to Kindergarten with our Sadie Bay not yet having manifested abundance, I have been thinking that perhaps I need to let go of this dream and get comfortable with public schools. Our neighborhood school has a fantastic reputation and I do believe that with great teachers and supportive parents that children can benefit from the traditional model of education.

Just like the fabulous lyrics in Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine, I desire to roll with things more — to be good at being uncomfortable so I make the most out of what is.

But I’ll be honest. Here’s what I’m uncomfortable with regarding the traditional model of education: (more…)

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Education | 9 Comments


  • You are currently browsing the archives for the Education category.

  • Categories



    Follow Me



    Places to go


Art by Erika Hastings at


    Add us to your site!


Click to get the code!