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Monday, June 22, 2015

Getting in to Medical School

Firefighter Academy? Or preschool? Who wants him?
Last month, mommy and abba found a preschool for Lucas. How nice, right? They did so with still four months to go. No big deal, right?


Registration for ivy league medical school opened and closed in February! Oh, I'm sorry, did I say "Ivy League Medical School"? I meant preschool!!!

In Jerusalem, it is quite easy to mistake the two: The process for preschool registration in Jerusalem is so wrought with stress that is is tantamount to something as major as medical school. Parents unravel from the anxiety as registration day approaches. They consult each other and others about the leading preschools in the city and then lobby their connections to make sure their child can get in. Then, on that fateful day when online registration opens in February, these parents flood the internet and bring the fragile municipal servers crashing down, sending the communal tension that already pervaded the city to a crescendo of angst.

Actual prospective medical school students in Israel won’t even know if they made it into medical school until September and then their lives will be turned upside down in a matter of weeks as they will have to move across the country for university or take an exam for medical school in another country!

But 3-year-old children will have been registered since February or March when they find out which school graciously accepted them (and about 34 others their age). Yes, accepted. And that not based on academic achievement. Or potty skills.

Me: an official preschooler. Joshie: A preschooler in training. 
Here I am, the teacher of my own preschool,
raising up other babies in baby ways
Actually, the process started in December of 2014 for preschool in September 2015. That’s nearly a year in advance for kids who are most likely still in diapers, napping and looking forward to nothing more than a Mickey Mouse birthday cake.

Mommy and abba joined the fray of parental tumult and raced to their preferred preschool for its Open House in December, the day before we were leaving the country for Zemmy’s wedding. They filled out the five-page application, supplied the necessary forms and talked up Lucas as a genius who gets along with all variety of children and exhibits stellar leadership qualities (all of which is true). They handed over the paperwork to the principal with a kiss and a prayer and twiddled their thumbs on the 12-hour flight - and for the next two months.

Registration officially opened two months later, in February. And then a full month after that our parents found out - to their shock and horror - that Lucas was a baby without a preschool! Despite all of their advance efforts, the numbers worked against them and, in May, mommy and abba trudged wearily to the municipality to repeat the process in person this time. And so, with none of the stress and with all of the grace and surprises that God (and the Jerusalem Municipality) had to offer, Lucas was placed into a sublime neighborhood preschool, a veritable hidden gem close by with a reputable teacher.

But wait! Parents must register their children for kindergarten as well and then first grade, so this plays out three years in a row for each child. And then again at high school. And where you go now for pre-K could determine which high school you end up attending.

But the moral of this six-month stress-laden saga is this: While the parents sweated blood, jockeyed for prestigious preschools and then begged for whatever was left over, we babies were oblivious to it all.

As well we should be.

I for one have my own daycare to run as you can see from the pictures. There is a lot of baby shenanigans wisdom to be passed on to the next generation. And adult-run preschools are the least of my worries.