Saturday, August 31, 2013

School is a-Comin'

The school year is three days away and while I'm sad, I also can't wait. Whereas last year I was nothing but reluctant to embrace the school year, this year's circumstances are a bit different. The boys thankfully adapted to the slow pace of our summer days, as daily plans to hit all the spots we didn't get to enough during the school year turned into free play in the house, long bounces on the trampoline, walks in the neighborhood, tons of time at the pool, and watching lots of (mostly Star Wars-related) movies. Yeah, we did go to the Children's Museum at times and various parks and such, but we let ourselves do it all at a relaxed pace. It was nice. Really nice. :) Cole had one (wonderful) week at Camp Hanover's Day Camp held at our church and the rhythm of getting him there and back reminded me of how busy the school year really is.

Definite highlights were our Florida trip, weekends to visit family in northern VA and Maryland, and Cole's birthday. It makes me smile to think of these memories. 

The last week or so, it feels like we're all unraveling. Our babysitter got a new job and so I'm been scrambling to fit in 30-40 hours of work a week around taking care of the kids (because I don't want to work while they're awake all the time, obviously), the boys have been not sleeping well and then are getting up around 5 am (or sometimes earlier!), and everyone seems to be craving more structure. So, although I'll miss the boys, I'm embracing the new school year. 

Cole is going into first grade, which is crazy, but, sigh... there it is. He expressed only once this summer that he wanted to go back to school, but other than that, he hasn't been too excited. We met his teacher yesterday and that seemed to alleviate some of his fears about what the next year might bring. We have worked some on reading this summer, but it's been quite reluctantly on Cole's part. I think he'll be happy to see his friends more regularly again, but I know the change of pace will also kick his butt for a bit until he gets reacclimated. Even though Kindergarten is no joke these days, 1st grade feels like "real school" for sure. My little Coley! I want to keep him small forever. 

Last year, Dean went to his special ed. Pre-K class three full days a week and to a regular church preschool two mornings a week. This year, he is going the full four days a week to his special ed. Pre-K class and then was going to go one morning a week to the church preschool. Just last week, we decided that he's going only to his special ed. class. He's (still) not potty trained, and although his other school said it was ok and they would figure it out, it still felt weird. The dealbreaker was when his new private SLP who we are seeing had literally only ONE opening the whole week, and that was during the day he'd go to this other school. It felt like a sign (if that reasoning doesn't make sense, I can explain the train of thought at another time :)). We know that Dean will be sad when he finds out he's not going to this other school, but he LOVES his other class and we visited his teacher this week. He is very excited. :) 

Of course, there's more to it than that for Dean, but I'm not sure how much I can wrap my head around right now. Our original thought in putting him at least part-time in a typical preschool last year was to expose him to age-appropriate models for speech and behavior. This year, while that still seems important, it's Dean's last year before Kindergarten (I'm going to skip over that thought for a minute...) and we want to make sure he's getting the full amount of support he can to improve his skills before then. And no, I have no clue what we're going to do for K for him. 

Emmett is not 2, but 2-and-a-half, as he will tell you. :) He is ready for preschool and is going two mornings a week to the same church preschool Dean attended! I can't believe my baby is going to school. I'm going to miss him, but I am eager for him to make friends his own age (instead of just hanging with the big boys :)) and to enjoy new activities that we don't do at home. I think he will do well separating from me at drop off, and I don't have any allergies or health situations to worry about with him, so that's a relief (dear God, please keep that going, I can't handle much more in that department...). Also, as of mid-August, Emmett is potty trained! Hallelujah! Still some accidents, but he is doing so well. It wasn't a requirement for his class, but I'm sure his teacher won't mind it. ;)

So what's up for me? I will actually have some hours here and there where ALL THREE of my boys are at school. I will most likely use the time to do work, but I might nap, too. :) I'm looking forward to having some time just with Emmett again, some time just with Dean on the morning Emmett is at school (when Dean was going to be at school in plan A), and then to have more reserves to greet my boys at pickup. I like that we are eliminating some of Dean's outpatient therapies and/or consolidating them to Wednesdays so that I won't have to spend more than one day a week waiting in a waiting room. This will be the first time in over 4 years that that has happened! 

That's it! That's the summer, and that's where we're headed for school this year. Praying for God's blessings for my kiddos and the kids/teachers/staff/etc. in your life....


Rambos said...

Ali, we were pleasantly surprised at how relaxed 1st grade was for James last year. It was still a big change, and definitely 'real school', but they totally adjusted expectations based on each child's needs and abilities. It was a huge relief. Good luck, and I am glad you will get a bit of time to yourself.

Ali Foley Shenk said...

Thanks, E.D.! That's good to hear. Cole had a lot of anxiety last year since school was clearly not as much about "play" anymore and so I'm hoping that this year won't be as much of a shock. Glad that James had a great year!