Today I arrived at the hoikuen to find yet another shuffle. Last Friday, L had been in another classroom because one little girl had thrown up in his usual one, and they were cleaning up and disinfecting the toys, etc. Today, yet again, another different room. Although I got stopped before crossing the nursery threshold,
Teacher: "How is L's poo?!?"
Me: "Erm, it's ok.",
that seemed to be the password and they let us in. Apparently two more children had had sickness and diarrhoea, so they were disinfecting the classroom again.
Me: "Sounds like Noro virus."
Teacher: lots of sucking teeth and avoidance noises, i.e. Yes, it does, but I am not to say that in case there is a parental uproar "Erm, can you pick L up at noon today? It's ok if your work is busy, but a lot of mothers are picking their children up after lunch today."
Me: "Hmm, what day is it today? Monday, erm, yes, that will probably be ok" (liar, liar my pants are on fire)
So we went into the new room, where they had brought the stuff, hat boxes, towel hangers, etc. and put all of L's things ready. Then we went to H's room, where she looked as deflated as ever when we get there and once again asked me if I could pick her up after lunch time (before naptime), and I once again said no. Technically I could have done, but I didn't think it wise to start a routine of her coming home early for no reason.
So I left the place, feeling like a crappy mother once more. I thought of H at naptime, just lying staring at the ceiling for over two hours...when she was used to singing songs, playing outside twice a day, doing athletics, getting her wellies on and pulling potatoes from the farm at the youchien. That thought just keeps coming back to me. It may sound like a stupid comparison, but to me it would be like watching paint dry...ugh, what a dreadful waste of time. I came home, did the housework, then off to pick L up. When I got there, he looked happy enough, but apparently he cried ALL morning. The teacher said,
"it's weird, because he's usually happy enough in the other classroom."
I offered, "maybe it's because he's in a different classroom?"
"Oh, maybe," she replied, as if the thought had not once crossed her mind. "He had settled in ok, but now he's crying again. He must be that sort of type that is happy for a while, and then upset again suddenly."
"Maybe he now feels the change in his lifestyle (i.e. him going to nursery) is permanent, instead of just a temporary stage. So he is now sad for the old routine." (This snippet of info. was brought to me by my elder sister, thanks Joanne ;))
"Do you think so?" she questioned, disbelievingly..."well he is eating his food though, so he must be happy enough."
I swear, these women know nothing about child psychology. All of their information comes from hard evidence. Food and poo. If that's regular, and of the desired consistency, nothing to worry about. When we left, there was a little baby sitting on the floor, tears streaming down her face, SCREAMING, and nobody doing anything about it. I talked to her a little bit, and she calmed down (much to my surprise..I usually MAKE children here cry), and I thought, why couldn't the teachers have done that? And that おだまり woman...there is something really odd about her...she just stares at me blankly..like a psycho O_O
So I was asked if it was possible to pick L up every day this week at noon. I said I would have to ask work...but to be honest, it was kind of nice to have L home at that time today. We had some time together for the first time in three weeks, and I really enjoyed it.
After all this, I just started thinking how this situation is a positive one. And I couldn't really find any more benefit than the previous situation at the youchien.
The P.T.A., sure, I don't have to do so much at the hoikuen, but there is a lot of writing notes every morning, and laundry is greatly increased due to bedding, changes after every speck of dirt lands on an item of clothing. Plus, I heard about one foreign mother offering monthly English lessons to the youchien in exchange for her P.T.A. duties, so that would be a possibility. They have lessons now, but not from a native, and free would be better than paying...
I get 9a.m. - 4p.m. to do housework, have some alone time, and plan lessons. This is true, but then I have only one lesson a week as of now, the housework takes two hours tops, and I had plenty of alone time when L was napping, or after the children were in bed. Plus, although I enjoy my single time, I can't really relax if I know the children are unhappy.
L can go to hoikuen, whereas he is too young for youchien. But you know, in the beginning, I wasn't really ready to let L go to hoikuen. Y kind of persuaded me by saying that I might be by the time April comes along, and that it would allow me to work more if I got the opportunity. I said maximum I would want him to go three times a week. But with the whole lying about working business, this isn't really possible. I HATE lying. I'm sure I look shifty as anything when they ask me about work, or drop the children off wearing jeans...
So I got Y to call the youchien in his lunch break to ask about the possibility of H coming back there, and if there was any chance of L starting when he turned two. I was already thinking that if there was no chance for L, that he could stay at home with me. The teacher said, OF COURSE H would be welcomed back. Apparently she was "a leader" there, so very popular..hmm...hope this doesn't mean bossy. As for L though, the youngest class would be too old for him. BUT, they have been thinking of opening a class for one and two year olds, and if they do so, it will be from this June! The only thing is, the day would be from 9a.m. - 12p.m. But how perfect is that?!? If you don't think about work...that is.
So after talking with Y on the phone after work (well at 5:30, so just the official, after his work..), we decided that it would be best for everyone if we went back to the youchien. I hate to make all of these changes for the children, but it's just been a little while, and when I asked H what she would think about being back at her youchien, her little face lit up, and she gave me a huge hug. Of course that brought me to tears. Ok, that did it. Back to the youchien it is.
Checking my e-mail this evening after the children had gone to bed, and found one from my employer, saying he has two possible students for me...typical. One is a mother of a one year old, who wants lessons in her home. That one COULD be worked out if she didn't mind me bringing L, or if I taught her while he was at youchien (if they start the lessons). The other one is free from 1p.m....oh bum bum bum. So I feel a bit crappy about that, but then my employer did say that he would have work for me from the beginning of April. We have quite a good relationship, so I explained the situation to him, and hopefully we'll be able to find some part-time work for me regardless. I could still work the hoikuens if they had some care for L while I was teaching, like I used to do when I took H.
So it's a kind of whirlwind as far as decisions go, and I keep doubting just a little about making the change, but already I feel a lot less adrenaliney (yes, that IS a word now...) than before. I think the hoikuen is good for if I DO work, if having L at home with me would drive me nutty, and for getting jobs done. But the truth is, I miss him. I miss H too. Coming home at 3:30 is a world of difference from 2:30 Having time alone to get things done is great, but I had children for a reason too. I'm pretty sure that this is the right decision.