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The Preschool Panic

I don't know how it is in your neighborhood, but in mine, these are stressful days. When it comes to tension, the holidays ain't got nothin' on applying to preschools in NYC.

Applications are due in January '09; school starts in September. I've been taking the tours and asking the routine questions. I've been hunched over my calculator, running and re-running the numbers to see what combination of days and hours will keep everyone (and our bank account) happy. Pretty soon, I'll be standing in line at 5 in the morning – an NYC January morning – to sign up for a first-come-first-served slot at whatever school we choose.

It's a tad overwhelming. My impeccable spreadsheets aren't calming my nerves, and my once-sharp parenting intuition is turning to goo.

Some days, I just want to say, "Look. Do you hit the children and let them sit around, starving, in poopy diapers? No? Pinky swear? Good enough! Here's a huge bag of cash."

Other days, it's, "Do you immerse them in foreign languages, get them museum memberships, give them massages, and feed them organic, locally-produced food? Yes? Rockin'! Here's a huge bag of cash."

Have I mentioned that my daughter will only be two years old next fall? Blaarrgh. Has anyone else been through this? Clearly, I need some perspective.