I have had some requests for an update on how Elijah and Priscilla are adjusting to public school. This will by no means be a comprehensive report as I am piecing together two months worth of one-word answers and filling in the gaps with pure speculation, but I will do the best I can. School officially started August 23rd. Elijah entered second grade and Priscilla began afternoon kindergarten. Neither of them seemed particularly nervous. There were no tears when the bus arrived and, unfortunately no clues about what happened in the classroom when they came home. I went with the “no news is good news” approach and assumed they were adjusting well and making friends. About four days into that first week Elijah forgot to put his homework in his take home folder. I was tempted to run him back to school but decided that the best consequence would be for him to have to miss his recess the next day and catch up (I was also not to keen on having to put shoes on everyone and load up the van). I did end up e-mailing Mrs. Hall to tell her that I was aware of the situation and to please contact me if she started to notice any habits of forgetfulness in Elijah. The next day, while her students were in music class, Mrs. Hall called me at home to break the news. It turns out my son is quite distractible. He is doing well academically but gets lost in his books and personal thoughts. I have had three conversations with Mrs. Hall (and one phone conference with the bus driver) regarding this predicament. It is just so hard for him to sit still! At first I felt a lot of pressure to discipline these habits out of him and prove to Mrs. Hall that I was a perfect parent but Elijah is pretty insistent on behaving like a seven years old boy. She now knows to touch him on the shoulder when she asks him to complete a task and have him repeat to her what exactly he is supposed to be doing. Parent Teacher conferences are in November so we’ll see if that plan is working. He is making a lot of friends and is enjoying Boy Scouts. About two weeks ago I caught Elijah looking at himself in the mirror and saying, “yep, I’m starting to look like a real kid”. I can’t imagine what the context of that inner dialogue must have been but judging from the look on his face it seemed to be quite a compliment.
Priscilla is a complete mystery. She is so happy to get on the bus every afternoon and skips home when she gets dropped off three hours later. I was shocked when I showed up at the school Open House and her teacher told me she was working on pulling Priscilla out of her shell. I had never seen this so-called shell before and felt a little gypped that I was only privy to the louder, more expressive aspects of her personality. I was also a little surprised by our family picture taped to the classroom wall which included a lovely drawing of the goldfish “Janie” we don’t actually own. At first I was concerned by the amount of homework she was being given and all that she was expected to know about letter sounds and handwriting but she is steadily rising to the challenge and has a teacher’s aide giving her extra help with phonics. I am astounded, quite frankly by how quickly kindergartners learn and grow. The other day she walked in the front door brimming over with excitement. “Look what my friend Hoku gave me!” she squealed, pulling 25 cents out of her backpack.
“Why did she give you money?” I asked.
“She said if I’d be quiet on the bus, she’d give me a quarter!”
It was a proud moment for all of us.
Benji is too young for Brummitt Elementary but he does take his “Library School” very seriously. Library school is every Tuesday for 45 minutes and his whole week revolves around it. The moms are discouraged from being in the room while the preschoolers are singing, listening to stories and playing games but I can hear what is happening from a few feet away. Ben is one of the more vocally expressive children, offering almost continual insight on every subject. Most of these tidbits begin with “One time …..” and from there a story which may or may not be related to anything ensues. He still has Priscilla in the mornings and then naps most afternoons so he doesn’t feel that lonely. Next year when Priscilla is gone all day I will have to find some more organized activities for him to get involved in. Benjamin is 100% silly from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning until he crashes on his spider man pillow at night. I adore him.
Mary is small and feisty. Most of her communication derives form the word “no”. She is not as of yet walking but can climb a set of stairs in 5 seconds flat. She has an affinity for her father and has just learned to give real puckered lip kisses. We are all amazed by every single thing she does.
All in all I am pleased with how the school year is progressing. As I told my sister-in-law Michelle, I am learning that no situation is ever perfect so you just have to make a choice and stand by it. It’s an exciting time for the kids as they become more independent. I am doing my best to guide without smothering and to temper my reactions. And now if you’ll excuse me, I have some homework to sign.
Priscilla with her backpack waiting for the bus