Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time...

I remember a television commercial, back in the days when my homegrown children were small and precious. It played the Christmas song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," while parents frolicked and rode carts through a store, gleefully throwing school supplies into their carts, and the children trudged miserably behind them. I thought it was horrible. I couldn't understand why any parent would be happy to see their little ones depart the nest. I just knew I would never feel that way.

And now I find myself humming the same little tune, counting days, and thinking about riding on my shopping cart. Yes, the girlies are going to school this year, and yes, I am happy about it. Well, kind of. I'm sad because I would prefer to have them at home, but I would also prefer a whole lot of other things that definitely aren't going to happen. My first choice definitely is to homeschool, but after almost three years of enormous effort, I have concluded that my girls do not want to be homeschooled. They demonstrate this by their complete disregard for us as their parents...and quite frankly, if your child does not regard you as their parent, and respect your authority, I do not recommend trying to homeschool them. Not unless you enjoy activities like beating your head against walls.

So we are sending them off to school this week, two to the public school, and one to the little private school she went to a year ago. Again...not my first choice, or even my second for that matter, since I would love to send all three to the private school. But alas, Boo is too old for the private school which only goes to grade eight, and LaLa has burned her bridges there, shall we say. They really can't, and shouldn't have to try, to manage her special needs and her not so special behaviors. So it is what it is, and these are the choices we are left with.

To be fair, the folks at the public school have been very kind, and are scrambling to come up with a good plan for both girls. I am hopeful that we will find this to be a positive experience. Of course Boo is getting nervous, so her angry behaviors are ramping up, but she is a smart girl with limitless potential. The school was impressed with her work samples, and feels she can be an excellent student. LaLa is delighted at the new and endless opportunities school will offer her to make bad choices. I tried not to laugh, or even snort when they gave her the pep talk about how she would have to be responsible for herself...behaving, getting to class, writing down assignments, doing her homework. But we'll see. Maybe for once, she'll take the help offered and run with it. Of course we'll have to be careful not to get run down by any of those flying pigs on the way to the bus stop.

'Tater, on the other hand, is thrilled to be going back to her little school, her beloved teacher, her familiar classmates. This time, she will return a grade level ahead, all caught up, having worked very hard to accomplish it. I am happy for her. I am also happy she is going alone, unencumbered and unembarrassed by her sisters' endless behaviors. 'Tater is a quiet girl with a quirky sense of humor, a good student and very eager to please. I suspect she will do very well.

The first day of school comes even before the last days of camp wind down. At the end of it all, the camp gifts us with two weeks of "Stillness", which is really comp time for the crazy hours of the summer season. It will be less than still, since I have a LIST, but I won't start school with the boys until it's over. We'll see the girls off to school in the mornings, and then we'll work and play hard for a few weeks. It will give us time to reconnect with the boys, get caught up on a million things that get neglected all summer, and maybe even slip away by ourselves for a night.

By the end of Stillness I plan to:
  • Get the girls settled into their school routine
  • Reconnect with the boys
  • Finish the LIST
  • Be ready to begin the school year with the boys
  • Have a few laughs with my darling husband
It seems like a good plan, and I'm going to work hard to make it happen. We are also employing some new behavioral strategies with the girls, which I may report on later. So far the results have been interesting to say the least. I'll save that for another day.