This week all over Germany, parents of toddlers are visiting schools to try to find a space for the little people for the school year starting this September. In my part of Germany, you only have until the end of January to find a place and register or it's curtains for the rest of the year ...even if the school still has places available ( I don't know why, rules are rules. Don't get me started, let's just say that it's a battle I fought and lost last year).
Anyway, my daughter turns three this November which means that she will have to leave her wonderful, nurturing day care for the big scary world of the Kita aka kindergarten starting in September. The application process is like dating, more accurately, it's the Bachelor. You show up on open house day with your child and prepare to dazzle the head teacher hoping for a place. Sometimes, parents will be invited for another interview (the rose ceremony) where you prove that you are worthy of a place in the hallowed halls of the kindergarten. Even more frustrating is that you can only apply to one school which is enforced by having you hand over your Kita Card (like a baby identification card) when you apply so no hedging your bets here.
Bubbling over with indignation , I call my good friend in Brooklyn and go on a 10 minute rant about the application process and early closing time (2 pm) of the German kindergarten. We both work full time so I was sure to find an understanding ear. She responds by saying "at least you had a year's maternity leave". Turns out that my 350 Euros is nothing to her 1800 USD monthly childcare bill.