Pre-school .. eeny, meeny, miny, moe …

A few weeks back I lamented the fact that the pre-school I had in mind for Isabelle had rejected her and told me that they do not have space for her.

This pre-school is in the “oh my heavens” it’s a freaking fabulous pre-school category of play schools.

I have easily seen about thirty to sixty in my glorious years of being a parent to a pre-schooler.

I have seen some good ones and some crap ones. I seldom get to see great ones.  I often get to see ones that make me recoil, somewhat violently!

But this one was so great, I swooned.  I clapped my hands together like a seal waiting for a fish.  I filled in the application faster than they could say “fax it right over.”

I had seen it last year.  I filled in the application form last year. I faxed it last year.

I called immediately to ensure the principal had received it.

I called the next day just to check she had taken it from the fax machine and placed it on the top of her pile of children to admit to this school.

I then spent much of my airtime phoning the principal, L,  to remind her that I had filled in an application form, and that I was really keen.  I was available to drop Isabelle off any day, any time, how about now?

I called her in the morning, the afternoon and sometimes in the early evening.

I could not sms me or email her as she refused to give me either of these numbers.  Strange that.

The principal suggested I phone around June/July this year to see if there might be a spot for January 2012.

When other moms bemoaned the fact that they were struggling with pre-school, I put a look of disdain on my face.  I sniffed and indicated that I did not struggle with this sort of thing – as Isabelle was going to the best pre-school in the universe. It was all because I had done my homework and enrolled her early.

A tad on the smug self-righteous side, I am afraid.

June came and went. July came and went, and my harassment of the principal did not stop.  I did not have a letter of acceptance, and I was getting desperate.

Short story.  There was no place for Isabelle.  I was mortified.  I was horrified.  I felt rejected.  I started to get angry.  I started to get anxious that if I did not find her a school who could potty train her, she might be on nappies until grade 8!

Lisa-Marie came to my rescue and told me about another school, not close to home, but close to work.

I went to take a look. Nice school.  Not as great as my initial choice, but pretty good and I was relieved.

This time I was (more) aggressive with my application.  Isabelle needs to be at a place that can get her to say Mommy and colour-in without her tongue sticking out.

Accepted, tick — relief ……

<< I did however feel very disappointed that I did not get into the first school. I even drove past the school two more times and looked out the window in a longing fashion.  Can you say stalker?>>

This morning, L, the principal called me from the ‘first” school.  Unfortunately a mom is moving and taking her child out of the school << Can you say Yippee for Skippy?>>

Though L has several boys on her waiting list, she would like a girl to replace the child leaving – to balance out the numbers.  Does Isabelle want to join the school?

I must confess that I think I started to whimper on the phone.  Then I gushed, then I got a bit giddy.

It was so intoxicating to be wanted by my favourite pre-school.  Of course I have totally blown in out of proportion, because now they were pursuing me!!

I said “yes, yes, oh lordy, yes!” and then I think I sniffed back a tear.  I really did say a batch of inappropriate things to the principal expressing my happiness and excitement – I might have stepped over the imaginary boundary between prospective-parent-and-prospective-principal.

L said she would send me all the information via post and Isabelle was welcome to join them in January 2012.

<< I am really so excited I could fart!  Like actual flatulance.  I know I yelped and squealed.>>

That does mean I need to phone the other school and cancel with them – which makes me feel a bit guilty, as I made such a fuss to get in.

But I will wait until I get my little letter in the post – I have a sneaky suspicion that I might need to get a second job at McDonalds to pay the monthly fee at this new school.

Of course then I start thinking that I have made a mistake and I should leave Isabelle in the school who kindly accepted her enrolment when I was at my most desperate … but then I give myself a firm talking to, and a little slap in the face – and go and make some tea.

Leave a comment


  1. Melanie Murugen

     /  July 26, 2013

    Hi. Congratulations on getting your daughter in. I am in the same boat with my son. I am struggling to find a pre-school. I have applied to schools since he was 9 months old. I have applied to 8 pre-schools in total ( This does not include the primary schools that I have applied to) and I am still on their waiting lists. He needs a school for next year, he has just turned 3. I have applied to schools that I like in the Rondebosch, Pinelands, and Constantia area. However I am now willing to drive just about anywhere for a good school. I have also been “stalking” a school. The shame and desperation… but I can’t stop myself. At any rate, please can you share the name of the school that your daughter was accepted in. I am also open to recommendations from other parents.

    Your writing is really heartfelt and honest. It was touching to read. All the best to you.

  2. Shu

     /  February 14, 2012

    Hi, would you mind sharing what school is this? Sister is looking for a pre-school for her kid. Thanks!

  3. Ai you know, I believe firmly in gut feel when it comes to schools – you will know which one is best. Trust that gut

  4. julz

     /  September 30, 2011

    Hah you see how things have a way of working themselves out. Want to shout whoohooo and even insert smiley face and I recon you would forgive me, but alas I will refrain.

  5. It can be so stressfull. I need to go “hunting” soon for the twins and am dreading it coz I am extremely fussy!

  6. glad you got her into a good school :))
    Choosing schooling has to be one of the more stressful things about being a mom, and it doesn’t end!

  7. Oh boy, this is making me nervous – I am one of those moms who is a decided slacker in these sorts of things – I haven’t even thought about school or pre-school, let alone put their names down and my twins are 2.

    I’m trying to keep them at home as long as I can… (it may happen til they’re 12 because of my slackness, actually) LOL

  8. Nicky

     /  September 30, 2011

    Yay for you!! I had the same problem- found the best pre-school ever, 1 KM from home. They had no space!! Waiting lists and all that! I kept phoning, but still no space. Eventually I gave up, found a lovely(but not nearly as lovely as NO 1) close to work. I had just filled in the forms when No 1 principal called to say they now had space for him, if we were still interrested!!!

    Needless to say, I went with NO1!! Felt terrible about no2, but you do what you have to do!

    • reluctantmom

       /  September 30, 2011

      Snap — exactly like that. I don’t think you know what this pre-school-waiting-list lark is like until you have to find somewhere and realise how much cr*p there is out there.

      Kennith can’t understand why I do not just enrol her in the first one I see ….. er, not, it doesn’t work like that.

      But I am feeling quite guilty about school 2 …. I might just pay them for a few months and never send Isabelle as compensation for how bad I feel.

  9. Kennith

     /  September 30, 2011


    • please don’t waste money like that. just thank them most profusely and say Kennith would prefer the school closer to home as it suites him for collecting kids after school etc. (just blame Kennith….what’s the principal going to do…phone him and check if your’e lying?)

      and OBVIOUSLY go with your first choice! well done on being accepted. (oops…I mean your Isabelle!)

      My little chap started school this year…no-one warned me about all the extra side shows! My giddy aunt!


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