Wednesday, February 12, 2014

School Days

Seven kids are at school, one baby TODDLER is napping, one sick 5th grader is feeling pretty awful, one cat is meowing for absolutely no reason (AGAIN) and I am supposed to be baking something or wrapping something else or even maybe cleaning anything but here I sit instead. Wishing I had a coffee, a pastry, some quiche. I'm not picky.

As you know we started at a new school this past fall. The twins had pretty much done everything they could do at their amazing preschool, they were there for three years and I can't say enough good things about the school, the staff, their entire experience there, but I digress. So after three years the time came for them to spread their wings and fly. We had to make a hard choice between two options and figure out if we were ready to send them to the private school Micah attends or keep them in a Montessori environment. Of course I agonized over it, spent time observing at both schools, kept Brendan up for late night chit chat sessions and just generally acted like the sky was falling. It was very familiar territory for us because a year earlier when faced with a similar decision I behaved pretty much the exact same way. Hey, at least I'm consistent.

In the end we followed our instincts and they now attend a public Montessori school that is less than 3 miles away from our house. I still have a constant nagging in the back of my head and Micah's private school is always tugging at my heart asking me if I'm sure I did the right thing. In a day and age where it seems that so many are struggling with finding the right fit for their family, for finding quality education for their children, we are having a difficult time choosing between 2 really wonderful school environments. I know, I know, this is a problem everyone should be so lucky to have. I realize how crazy it sounds, but I hate feeling so torn. I have ties within both settings now and feel loyalty to both of them. What it ultimately boiled down to was finding a place for Oscar and Nuala to be able to really have their needs met academically and after visiting the traditional classroom last spring I didn't feel like it would be the right fit for them and I'm glad I followed my instincts.

Fast forward one semester and the big news is that they moved up to lower elementary (a 1st-3rd grade classroom) from the Children's House (K3-K5). We started discussing this transition back in early November and there was lots of open dialogue, a couple of meetings, yet another round of classroom observations and as I'm sure you can imagine: plenty of late night discussions between 2 parents. Poor Brendan is pretty much at the end of his rope at his point! But there were so many variables to consider when making this choice and I needed some time and support/guidance while we tried to figure it all out. In the end we landed once again in a very safe nest. They got to stay together and transition into one classroom (which was my preference from the get go~I know this is one of those things that can vary from twin family to twin family quite dramatically but for us sticking together is still working and you know what they say about that right?) and so far so good. They are being challenged and their love for learning is being nurtured and encouraged. What more can a mom ask for? Except maybe a pastry….

He learned how to climb up on the furniture recently. I was not amused. He was ecstatic.

Oscar is currently on a Redwall kick. It started back in November and has simply gained momentum since then. He's about the finish Eulalia and has already devoured Redwall, Mattimeo, Mossflower, Mariel and Salamandastron. Luckily for all of us there are no less than 500 thirty books in this series, not to mention a Redwall cookbook and a cartoon series so he is set for the next few months. Brendan has just started the Harry Potter series with them at bedtime and I have been sneaking into their room at night in order to listen to him.

31 weeks this past Sunday, which means about 10 more to go since I'm usually about a week "late" but perfectly on time. So far this pregnancy has flown by, I think having the holidays in there really helped to speed things along, but I feel a little more antsy lately. There is no need to rush through the last stretch of this time together, but I can't wait to meet this child, to feel this baby in my arms and against my skin. This intimate space we share right now, just the two of us, is lovely and I am blessed with drama free pregnancies, but I am starting to feel impatience creeping in. 

Less than one year ago today, spring 2013.

We went to Micah's school last week for parent teacher conferences and hung out in the library for a little while afterwards. They were having a book fair and so it was the perfect place for us to hang out while we waited for Micah to get done with play practice. This year they are doing Alice In Wonderland and he tried out for the part of the Mad Hatter and landed it. I'm so proud of him for so many reasons right now. Not only did he have a great conference and bring home an awesome report card, but he is challenging himself outside of the classroom as well and taking risks that not everyone is brave enough to take, it's really wonderful to see his self confidence blooming right before my eyes.

Speaking of being PROUD. Finn got his first college acceptance letter a few weeks back. Not only do they want him, they also offered him a partial scholarship! He has worked so hard throughout high school for this and I can't even begin to express how happy we are for him and how incredibly proud! He brushes it all off and is very casual about the whole thing, but I hope he knows inside just how much of an achievement this is and how all of his hard work really is going to pay off.

It's nearly impossible to imagine Finn going off to college next year, he's still so young at heart in a lot of ways and is the guy who willingly helps his sister with her algebra homework, wrestles on the floor with the baby or discusses Redwall books with his little brother. Just recently he joined the 3 little kids for their nightly bedtime reading of The Return of the King because Brendan never read it to him as a child and so he was due. August seems so far away still, but I know it will be here in the blink of an eye and even though it's hard to imagine the next stage of his young adulthood and what it will mean for everyone in our house, I have no doubt that he'll be ready to rise to the occasion even if the rest of us are still in denial.

In lieu of Saturday night dates, which are virtually non-existant lately, we have been doing a lot of brunch. This alone time together is really important for our relationship. Let's be honest, we have a lot going on and it's easy to let our marriage sort of take the back burner but in the long run taking time for each other is actually very important for the family as a whole. I love this man and I like spending time with him, the food is just a bonus.

A few weeks ago we couldn't even get a brunch date and by mid-week I was going crazy trying to get a moment or two alone together. So, I put together a cheese tray for us and got all the kids on board to help babysit (divide and conquer approach) so that we could have a mini-date. As soon as he pulled into the drive way from work, Finn took Oisín up to his room, Micah took Oscar to play legos, and the little girls went with the big girls. It was spontaneous and last minute and probably not as fancy as a night out, but it was 23 minutes for just us and it was perfect.

There, I think I've covered most of the important stuff from January. Which means I can get away with a wordless post next time. Just need to charge the camera battery and actually take some photos.


Special K said...

Love your posts! Love your larger-than-life family and someday we'll recognize each other at some event.

I feel you on the education front. We're considering moving for a lot of reasons but the education part is pushing it to the forefront. Local, just a better school, and it's SO HARD.

Hope all stays well with your pregnancy and what sweet kids to divide and conquer babysitting duties so you could enjoy a few words in peace with your hubby.

Keep blogging, you have a knack for it. I better not see "well here' s the baby at 3 months old post" before a "he/ she has arrived!"

Samantha of the Ojibirish11 said...

Hahaha! Don't worry, I will definitely post about the baby :)