Riding the Bus & Pre-K Adventures – V.2

Okay, I finally got a chance to edit the picture I included with the original post last Friday and take out a few of the specific details. I honestly never meant to post a picture with my exact location and such in it – I had just put the image there as a placeholder with the intention of photoshopping it before posting, but life got busy and we left on vacation and the post was auto-scheduled, so… oops.

At any rate, those of you who got the post via email now have it forever. Please don’t share it. 😉 Also, if you want to come visit, just shoot me an email! I promise I’m not scary and I truly love to do bloggy-friend meetups. We can always make that happen!

Back to my original post….


Believe it or not, one month from today Stella will be starting her first day of school! She will be 3 years, 8 months, and 23 days old at her first day of pre-k. Eek! You can’t start kindergarten until you’re 5 here, so she will actually do 2 years of pre-k before starting regular school. It’s $500/month 5 days a week and goes from 8am-3:25pm (and they release 1 hour early on Wednesdays).

Here’s my question – she is incredibly excited at the prospect of riding the school bus. We live 4.5 blocks from the elementary school, and they originally told me she would be the last stop in the morning. Well, the bus got re-routed so now she would have to get on at 7:18am (about 1.5 blocks from our front door) and then ride for 23 minutes in the morning. No, that’s not a crazy long time (I always rode over an hour when I was a kid!), but that means I would have to have the kids up and dressed and out the door to walk to the bus stop with her at 7:10am. That sounds awful, especially when they just finally started sleeping in until 7-7:30 and the thought of getting them ready by then in the winter is not great.

The alternative is me bringing Stella to the school on my way to work (about 7:55am). The Nanny gets to my house at 7:50 after dropping her kid off at the high school, so there’s no leaving earlier. School starts at 8am though, and I’m worried that would be cutting it too close and not give her enough time to settle into her morning routine at the school. If she rode the bus, she would be there at 7:41, so she’d have time to eat breakfast there if she wanted to or just run around the gymnasium with the kids until class started at 8:00. Thoughts? What would you do?

After school I’m not too worried about. She will have a 45 minute bus ride, and the Nanny will get her from the bus stop at 4:10pm and watch her with Harvey and my BFF’s daughter until I’m off work at 5:30. My one big concern is that Stella still routinely takes a 1.5-2 hour nap in the afternoons from 1-3. I have no idea how this will go for her to suddenly not get that nap time.

When did she get so old?! I can’t believe I’m thinking about school bus routes for my baby!


ETA – a few thoughts based on the initial comments on the last post.

  • I actually chose the full day program for Stella. The school used to offer a half day program, but dropped it because none of the parents wanted to go that route. I know for us that decision was two-fold; 1) we couldn’t afford half day school + the half day of childcare that would be needed since Charlie and I don’t get home until 5:30, and 2) I went to full day 5 day a week pre-k myself as a 3 year old and it wasn’t a big deal, so the length of the day honestly isn’t concerning to me. Stella used to be at daycare from 7:45-5:30, and yes, it’s different than pre-k, but pre-k is still a ton of play-based learning, not sitting in a chair all day. I am truly excited about all of the socialization skills Stella will be learning and practicing in this environment.
  • A few of you mentioned that pre-k kids still get quiet time, which for some reason I had totally forgotten. I asked a friend of mine with a 5 year old who just did 2 years of pre-k, and she said they get quiet time after lunch, and it’s up to the parent how long they let the kids sleep. Her daughter was a big napper like Stella at age 3, so they’d let her nap up to 2 hours per the Mom’s request. She said they are amazing teachers in there – her daughter actually wants to stay in pre-k instead of going to kindergarten this year because she loves them so much, which makes me happy to hear!
  • It doesn’t work for the Nanny to get Harvey at the school for a few reasons. She drives a lifted jeep for jeeping on the weekends (yes, people do a lot of jeeping over mountain passes here – it’s not that crazy!) and the time and PITA factor involved with switching his car seat back and forth makes that totally crazy. It would be faster to just drive back to my house and drop Harvey off, which I suppose is an option. I also don’t want to buy a 5th car seat and she wouldn’t want it in her car all the time anyway. Also, she will be watching my BFFs newborn, and she will also need to be dropped off at my house at 7:50 on her Mom’s way to work, so that just wouldn’t work. I am wondering if it would be possible for her to somehow motivate her 16 year old to get out the door 5 minutes earlier though so she could be at my house at 7:45 consistently. Then I could drop Stella off quickly in the morning (which is also what her Nana will be doing the 1 day each week that she has the kids) and then she could ride the bus home. Hm… decisions decisions! Thanks for all of the ideas!


  1. mcmissis · · Reply

    I’m so glad you posted this! I thought I was going to have to wait until you got back, and my curiosity was definitely piqued from all the comments last week 🙂

    It seems like a long day to me, but that’s obv bc I stay home with the girls. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be worried about it at all. All kids are different and adapt to what they need to. I’m personally worried about Gracie going all day bc, even now, at almost 5, she is a completely shitshow if one of the grandmas demands her time during the 30 minute quiet time I force upon her. They don’t think it matters, but the CRAZY tantrumming that occurs when they do that proves otherwise. So, for her, I’m hoping the reading time they have scheduled after nap is calm and quiet and long enough for Gracie to regroup. But if not, I know she will adapt eventually.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about her nap and current wake-up time. (OK, I would worry, but that’s just bc that’s what I do. I mean, you shouldn’t worry 🙂 ) Going away to school all day long is obv going to be a huge change and her sleep will likely change as a result. Lyla stopped napping and has a long, enforced quiet time in her room now. I’m hoping she doesn’t go back to napping when school starts, but I wouldn’t be shocked.

    And finally, my girls wake up super early, and although it’s not what I would’ve chosen, we don’t have even a fraction of the morning issues so many other parent have who have to wake their kids up before they’d like for school. I’m not suggesting you change anything, just saying there IS a silver lining if their sleep schedule ends up earlier again 🙂

    1. mcmissis · · Reply

      I said after nap when talking about Gracie’s school, but I meant after lunch.

  2. I don’t have much to offer as I am at home with my 4. This year I will have 2 at school all day (the school is minutes away) and my almost 3.5 year old will do 3 mornings a week at preschool. Some offer full days, but most here offer half days like 3 hr time slots which works for me being a sahm. There is also a push here to hold back younger 5’s to be more mature and academically ready to start K closer to age 6. We didn’t do that as all my kids did 3 years of preschool (at 2,3,4 years old and 2,3,4 mornings a week depending on age) and our preschool is known for it’s K prep. It’s also pretty affordable and a great school.

    My opinion if you can is to try and figure out a way to take Stella to school and let her ride the bus home. I know kids can handle it and mature but I also know they are exhausted even with quiet time being gone all day, even the kindergartners here it is a huge adjustment after 1/2 days of preK. The bus ride just adds to that.

    Mine are all early risers, but at 6 and under they all get 1.5-2 hrs of nap/quiet time a day. It makes the day go by smoother and everyone behave better. When my 3 year old rarely misses his nap, he is asleep in the car and a disaster later meaning he still needs it (he still naps 2 hrs.)

    Hope you can work it out!

  3. We do full day daycare with the Beats (2 yrs old) at a Center downtown. This means they are at school from 8 am- 5:15 pm 5 days a week. They get a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day following lunch and then are up until bedtime at 7:30 pm. They both wake up at 6 am every day and we’re normally out the door by 7:30 am (whole family commutes).

    My big question is what would Stella be getting out of riding the bus? I LOVED riding the bus when I was in Kindergarten/Elementary School. It was a big social experience. Less so in Jr. High and High School, but that’s a discussion for another time. Anyway, would riding the bus give her some of that social aspect? I’m honestly asking because I don’t know what that means for an almost 4 yr old.

    If possible, could you do a trial run? Maybe take the first week to see if it works?

  4. Heather M · · Reply

    still quite baffling that you posted this map, even with street names partially blurred. i read here occasionally, enough to know what your last name is and what town you live in (for example, many references to your SIL included her last name which is obviously the same as your husband’s). a quick google maps lookup of your town and the map is exactly the same as the twitter map posted. please be careful with your children’s information!

    1. Honestly, you could sit in my town for one day and know all of the same information. You could drive in and ask Jane Doe on the street where I live and she’d tell you. I will walk her to the bus, I know the bus driver personally and she has an exact list of the ppl allowed to pick Stella up, she will be in a school that has 20 kids in a grade and everyone knows everyone. I’m not worried about it. Maybe that’s a facet of where I live, but I’m not fearful about this. We all parent differently.

      1. Heather · · Reply

        I didn’t mean to offend or question your parenting. I just wanted to let you know that your information may not be as anonymous as you think.

        As for preK, it will be great. My kids are/were in daycare from 9-5 with a 2-3 hr nap and were fine.

        1. I’m aware I’m not that anonymous. I knew linking to Jaime’s obituary and my family blog would stop that, but I decided at the time that it was worth it to blow my anonymity for the support I knew I’d need and receive from my blog friends.

  5. Forget the bus! This all looks like walking distance. I would love to walk my little to school then walk to work. Then you can leave your car at home for nanny to use to pick her up. That distance to school from home looks like four blocks. 🙂
    As you can see, I hate driving 🙂

    1. I do walk or bike to work often right. now, but it’s 11m as a fast walk directly and I can kinda sorta barely make it if I’m not bringing her to school first (and that’s on a nice summer day). No time with nanny’s current schedule to get there and then to work on time by 8. After school she has to ride bus because the nanny will also have a baby with her. I’m fine with that part 🙂

  6. Ahh, the bus – something I’m not ready for yet. We won’t need to do this but it sounds like an awesome adventure for Stella who is clearly absolutely ready for this step. I’m always amazed by how mature and thoughtful she is at 3.5 years!

  7. We’re staying at our same daycare/preschool this year, but in just a couple of months, I’ll have to state a preference for which kindergarten E will go to next fall which is baffling to me that she could be that old!! Good luck figuring out the timing situation – I’d probably err on the side of the bus in case the nanny was late sometimes…

  8. I think Stella will be just fine. It’s a long day, but she’ll make it and probably love it. As you mentioned, pre-K is not actual school yet, and it should be a ton of playing and less structure than she’ll get in a few years. And that makes a HUGE difference. Sofia is in “real” school and her day was officially 9-3:45, although she’s usually there by 8:30 for pre-care. She still got a nap last year, she won’t this coming school year (and she does still nap at home now so that will be interesting).

    She finished up the end of the school year in a tired haze, I think, and I was so ready for summer to get here so she could stay home with the nanny. And then June was only half-days so she was in an after-care camp deal there at the same school until 4. And she came ALIVE. So long tired girl, hello energetic, animated, excited one. It was like night and day and the difference really was in the programming and the activities. She was far more energized by the fun, active play than by the classroom activities (and even those are relatively short and “light”). Anyway, I think Stella wilb be just grand!

  9. I would go for the bus and if it’s awful, switch it up then. Traffic near our elementary is horrific in the 15 minutes before school even though most kids walk and there’s only a few buses so you’d need to add time at school and escaping from school to your morning (your traffic may vary but I bet it will still be a hassle). If you decide to bribe the teen, ask for 10 minutes earlier so you have enough fudge room for both teen and Stella delays.

    1. Solid points!!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: