Thursday, October 11, 2012

School & Stuff

So, I know that it's already half way through October.  I don't care.  I'm still going to post about school, even though it happened nearly two months ago.  And all these photos were taken pre-camera break (which might explain a few things.)
It seems like ages ago now.  We were still in the midst of the unpacking chaos.  Which was a beautiful time for four of my children to leave the house for eight hours each day.  I missed having the girls around to go deliver things to all corners of the house, but I made up for it with my ability to work so much more efficiently with only one child at home.  I hope I never forget the feeling I had during those early back to school days.  It was liberating and exhilerating, being able to choose what to do with my time rather than having it dictated for me every moment of the day.  Sure, I had TONS of things I had to do and I still had to keep an overactive two-year-old both happy AND safe, but I had control over my time.  Such a precious gift.
This new life came with a boat load of adjustments.  Everybody has to get up a couple of hours earlier, Shaggy gets home a couple of hours later, but we seem to have survived the worst of that adjustment period. 
The first day of school was crazy.  We didn't really know when the bus would come.  And there were butterflies swarming around in our stomachs about all the uncertainties of this new life.  The kids didn't know their way around school.  They didn't have any friends to ease the jitters of the first day.  They weren't sure they had everything they needed.  And they didn't know when they'd be home again.
S, ever the impatient one, was the first one out the door.  Do we have an awesome driveway, or what?  I still feel giddy that we actually get to live here, surrounded by all this beauty.  But more on that later.
S did not want to miss the bus.  She barely paused to let me get her picture.  It was a good thing that her bus driver wasn't on the right schedule during the first couple of weeks.  It was acutally light outside when she got picked up back then.  Now, she and K have to walk down the driveway in the dark to catch their bus.
My first baby girl, on her first day of high school.  That smile is hiding her frantic hope that her mother would finish taking her picture before the bus came.  Which she did.  I certainly didn't want to add to her butterfly collection.
But I did sneak a picture as the bus was leaving.  I have to be allowed to be sentimental sometimes.
And then I went back up to the house to get the next two ready to go.  R was terribly excited for her first day of Kindergarten.
She didn't seem to care so much about her peers.  She tromped all around and discovered cool things and generally had fun waiting for the bus to come.  As did J.  But then again, he always discovers cool things.
Even though I had done some research and made some calls, nobody could give me an estimate on when the bus would come.  So we went out early and waited.  And we waited and waited and waited.
And took some more pictures because the light was nice.  We talked to some neighbors out walking who assured us that there were lots of other people waiting, too.  Which was nice to know because I was beginning to think that we had somehow missed the bus.
And then sleeping beauty woke up and Shaggy brought her down to wait with us so he could leave for work.  Good thing he didn't know how long it would really take him to get to work.  These days, he also has to leave long before the sun comes up.
We waited some more.  And the kids wanted some pictures with B.  I was happy to oblige.
We were still waiting when Shaggy motored off to work.
And we waited and waited and waited some more.  Until I decided that waiting for an hour for the bus to come was long enough.  So we tromped back up the driveway and hopped in the van.  The kids were so disappointed that they didn't get to ride the bus.  They've had enough of the van recently to last them a lifetime.  But they did get to school on time.  Welcome to rural life.  Where the bus ride is five times longer than the drive to school.
It turns out that our particular bus didn't make any pick ups that day.  Mechanical problems.  On the very first day.  It didn't fill me with a whole lot of confidence in this whole 'bus to school' thing.
So, on the second day of school, anticipating another long, long wait for the bus, I also brought my camera along. 
I can hardly believe that we get to walk down this every morning.  Apparently, the popular thing to do around here is for parents to drive their kids down the driveway and wait for the bus in the car.  That seriously cracks me up.  Ok, maybe if your driveway is, like, 5 miles long.  But otherwise, why live in the country if you don't care for nature?  We have marched down that beautiful driveway in the heat and the pouring rain.  We've endured mosquitos and spiders and humidity.  And I am loving that time I get to spend outdoors with my kids before they're shuttled off to school.  We've discovered giant spiderwebs that span the whole driveway, dinosaur leaves, tiny green frogs the size of my thumbnail, beautiful rocks, three-legged turtles, bird nests, acorns & crickets galore, and what J calls Halloween trees.  It's simply amazing just how much there is to discover around here.
We have since firmed up what time the bus actually comes.  But I am reluctant to leave the house too close to that time.  One, I am always afraid we'll miss the bus.  It hasn't actually happened yet, but I'm still afraid that it will.  And two, I don't want to give up this time of discovery and conversation, or the extra play time these three fit in before going their separate ways.
B usually demands to bring along her backpack and baba, and sometimes, to carry J's lunch box. She cried and cried when I dropped J & R off at school the first day. She desperately wanted to join them. 
We have since had many talks about getting bigger, and all the amazing things you can do once you get there.  So far, she seems ok with that.
 Which is a good thing, because I am not ready to let her go just yet.  Among other things, I have to help her develop a better cheesy, on demand smile.
I was nervous that J would be nervous when faced with actually getting on the bus, that he might freeze up and refuse to get on.  That he might give in to his fears. 
But I didn't need to worry.  I'm sad the photo is blurry, but that's a big grin on his face as the bus was driving away.  I worried a lot about J regressing in his battle with anxiety with all the changes, but he's doing wonderfully well.  Other than being unusually quiet for a kid his age in class, he's excelling.  I'm so proud of that boy.
And this is what I get to see every afternoon, after I've had all day to get my stuff done. 
I feel rested and rejuvinated and composed, ready to deal with the chaos that comes during the witching hours of late afternoon and evening.
This is what B looks like when she catches sight of R coming up the driveway after school. 
And this is why I am vehemenently opposed to all day Kindergarten.  Even though I am enjoying my time at home with only B, I'm sad for all the hours that these two little girls will not get to spend together.  For each of the other kids, their Kindergarten year was when they really bonded with their next youngest sibling.  R & B might not know the difference, but I am in mourning for the adventures and hijinks and memories that they will miss.

 Hopefully, they can make up for it in all the in-between hours.
And hopefully, I can use my time wisely and help B with that grin.

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