September 5, 2010 – New Adventures

     With the first week of school behind us, I’m looking forward to one last blast of summer as the kids return to their favorite brainless activities, like playing video games around the clock and running wild with the dog.  I’ve already cleaned the entire house – a wonderful and mindless activity – and with Sunday looming large  with its beautiful sun and a welcome chilly breeze, I’m enjoying my first cup of coffee and thanking the Lord for another day.  As Mom would say, “today is a new day.”
     The return to school is always a period of adjustment for everyone and , in true *family* fashion, we took it over the top.  There were tears, there was fighting, there was begging and pleading,….. but I promise to behave better this week.
     Owen has asked to attend PA Cyber like his sister.  Well, okay, it was more like hysterical pleading after a bad first day – the kind that, as a mom, breaks your heart and makes you want to abandon all reason and go yell at the mean kids on the bus while speed-dialing PA Cyber for another enrollment form.  Little things add up for him, like the dead librarian and a new bus driver after 4 years,  until they snowball into a full-blown meltdown over mean kids, a more demanding curriculum in 4th grade and his sister’s shiny new school-issued laptop.  Four days later, he was still – though without the tears – requesting cyber school and I told him we will discuss this choice over the weekend (to be continued…..)
     Meanwhile, back at the ranch – home-schooling after one week is no picnic – it’s your worst family holiday dinner multiplied by ten.  I’d rather give birth to her all over again (the EXACT same way) than repeat the first week of school with her.  She was distracted, ornery, uncooperative and just downright rude.  It all started with breakfast, which she refused to eat and it just careened downhill from there.  She kept leaving the table, rolling around on the floor on her back and complaining of how tired she was.  I soon learned the fine art of threats – I mean, warnings – and how effective the threat of a call to daddy or sending her to “Owie’s” school can be.  Magical.
     The dog, meanwhile, was making his own adjustments during our lessons… to his squeaky toys, a forgotten plastic bottle and every electrical cord in the house.  You could say he was the most focused  member of the house.  Focused on interrupting me every five minutes (no exaggeration here) so that I could extract his ball from under whatever piece of furniture he’d stuffed it under (and don’t think he doesn’t do this on purpose).  After an hour “time out” for him to nap in his crate two days in a row – I think we’ve come to an “understanding.”  Or at least a ceasefire, until the next bathroom break.
     Navigating the first week  of home-schooling,  I feel like the captain of some strange aircraft  I have no idea how to fly.  And all week long I wanted to run screaming from the cockpit.  There is so much information to go over and I, perfectionist that I am, just have to get it right – right away.  The knot in my stomach relaxes a little more each day, as we crawl toward a groove.  We will still hit the occasional turbulence, which is par for the course with a five-year-old (with or without diabetes),  but I am at least now confident that we won’t crash.  Or, if we do, I’m taking everyone with me.  As I face week two, and in the words of Nancy Thayer, “it is never too late to revise – in fiction or in life.”

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