Life With Nine Kids

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One of Those Days

Yesterday I had one of those days. It wasn't a bad day it was just a tiring day. I had the 'I'd rather be almost any place but here today' feeling. Everywhere I turned there was something new to do, and a million things I hadn't done. I like having projects, kids, a home to care for, a husband to care for, aspirations, some-day dreams, right-now dreams, parties, gardens, homeschooling, animals and home-cooked meals... but it is sometimes totally exhausting. When it gets like that I try and remember just about everything I have created in my life I not only made and created but I wanted! So I take baby steps to get back on track. I literally tell myself to keep on going. Do one thing at a time... and if I'm not enjoying it (at least most of it) then 'it' should probably go. I can't make my husband and kids go, nor would I want to, but I could: not throw parties, do boring homeschooling stuff or none at all, sell my animals, not garden or grow things, get rid of a whole bunch of our stuff and I could make boxed dinners. But none of that would make me happy.    

All of the things below were extremely frustrating yesterday but none of it is today. Today most of it is funny. 

Jelly on the bathroom wall.
Honey and peanut butter all over the jars, the peanut butter lid screwed on crooked.
Too much toilet paper in the toilet.... Everett! I scooped it out with my hand. Later he drops keys in, too. 
My flip flops go stick-flop-stick-flip across the kitchen floor; it's time to mop.
The longer I scrubbed the bathtub the more I realize how bad it needed scrubbed.
The fridge handle looked like a science experiment.
My bedroom door was sticky. This makes me frown. The fridge door is at least more understandable.
Why does my almost two year old throw food he doesn't like onto the floor? Oh yeah he's a baby.
Of course I forgot the cable guy was coming over and of course I have no bra on and a low cut cotton dress on. Of course my bangs aren't curled so they fall in my face. Of course when the cable man comes in the yard the dogs go crazy, the guineas start squawking and the geese start running and flapping their wings all while some chickens quietly crowd around to see what the big deal is. Of course I looked like a crazy bird lady.
Of course the baby has a shirt on but no pants...or underwear... when the school bus stops in front of my house. Kids on the bus go wild with hilarity. This does make me laugh out loud.
Of course I forgot there were some wet towels in the basement that should have been washed days ago.
Why did I let the dogs dig big holes in the yard? (I wanted them to catch and kill the moles that were digging up the yard). But now there are huge holes in the yard. On the bright side... no more moles. On the other bright side? My husband comes home, gives sympathies to me for all of my stresses and compliments the last three nights of dinner as being great. 

Right now Everett is whining and pushing my CD drive in and out of the computer. Today he learned to spit. It's totally not funny! ;)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

School Starts for Layla

What a busy, crazy, lovely family filled summer. For a moment I think that I hardly remember it. And then I read my blog or look at pictures of my happy children. Where does the time go? 

Layla has changed so much since last January when she started public school. Gradually as she started going to class she started seeming happier and more fulfilled. By the time first grade let out in May Layla seemed much more at ease and even happier. Public school was a pretty smooth and effortless transition for her and hard but not unbearable for me. When summer arrived I was thrilled to 'have her back' in a way that I see some parents talk about and feel when they have their kids "back" and out of school for the summer. That's one thing I like about homeschooling, it's not a seasonal thing to have my kids at home, it's permanent. Last year it was fairly easy to have her start public school, because she started in January. I knew in roughly four months she would be home again. This time it's a wee bit different. She's in for the year. Her first full year of public school. So when that bus pulled up to our steps and I snapped this photo tears welled up in my eyes.

A few weeks ago she told me she was staying home this fall and was back to homeschooling. My heart swelled. We were having such a good time. She's a completely different kid. She's so at ease, so happy, so much more patient. I know over the years I've given her the love, time and patience she's needed to gain self confidence and work through her sensory issues and that makes me proud of the effort and trials we've both faced together.

Throughout this whole summer we haven't had one problem like we used to have: no anger, no bad outbursts, barely any tears, no unhappiness. She's been simply content and happy. (Bad moods are not long lasting when they do happen now, everyone has them sometimes of course!) Maybe this is how smooth things will be from now on, maybe not, but I'm delighted seeing her sunshine filled smile a lot more often. Her gratitude towards me is beaming, her humor is as witty and as sharp as ever, her radiant energy keeps all of us alert. She always has needed me and loved me, the difference now is she shows it in her actions. 

When she told me she was back to homeschooling this year I hugged her and let her know that I liked that idea a lot. (That's another thing, she hugs me more now, and we hold hands and take walks.) I didn't tell her yes or no to homeschooling this year. I knew she wasn't ready yet, but she's enjoying being home so much she didn't want it to end. I didn't either. Since the school is such a good school and it is good place for her right now I figured I should not expect her to really stay home. Not surprisingly a week later she wanted to go back to public school for "one more year." I told her that even though I want her home I know this school is the right thing for right now. She happily agreed. I was so happy for her mature decision and that she wanted to be with the family too. Choosing something that is right over something you just want is a very mature decision. I was always afraid her going to public school would somehow mess up or change our homeschooling family dynamic. (An idea that maybe only a homeschool parent would understand...?) I realized quickly you can't change the family dynamic when you have a strong family. 

It's still hard because even with most good schools there are things that make me uneasy. I'm sad for the little boys she talks about that don't hold still in class and lose recess because of it (kids NEED recess and it should not be used as punishment), it's disappointing kids are given sugar everyday multiple times a day in the lunch and/ or classroom, it's super disappointing to me there is only one recess a day, it's hard for me to understand boxed up standardized learning and her being away from home so much. But it's okay. The confidence she shows and the schedule she is given at school is what she wants. The independence and structure and book learning is what she likes. I'm not going to tell her that's bad, it's not. As long as she's happy and has good role models at school I'll support her. Even though I miss her. 

Yesterday morning five year old Penelope said she would "miss Mommy if she went to public school." Layla said, "I miss Mommy too, but it's just what I have to do." That was the first time she ever said she missed me, the last school year she always said she didn't miss us. :)

I always want to remember this transition in her life, how hard of a baby and toddler she was and what an extraordinarily young girl she has become. She's so thankful and responsible for things, people and her actions. She's so watchful and content. I'm so very proud of her, and our family. Go Layla!!!