Back to school

It’s been a busy couple of weeks! Emmett went back to school (he started kindergarten this year!) and Madeline is so, so, so jealous. She’s so ready for school, but because she’s too young for for real school I decided to start homeschooling her (well, homeschool “lite”). We probably only spend 15-20 minutes per day in actual “school” mode, but we try to review and refer to things we learned in school throughout the day as well. She calls me “Teacher Mom” now. She’s so proud of herself every time she learns something new or accomplishes a task I’ve given her. Oh, and I let her name her school. It’s “Madeline’s sparkly school pink school.” Because of course it is.

Emmett has been enjoying school. He’s making a lot of friends, and I’ve met his 5th grade reading buddy (he usually finds us in the morning to say hi to Em and to tell me about what they read last time). We’ve had a couple of instances where we’re out and about and I hear “Hey! That’s Emmett! He’s in my class! Hi, Emmett!” He’s always eager to be rid of me in the mornings, telling me bye with a “seriously, go away now” voice, while I’m talking to his teacher. Every day when he comes home from school he unpacks his bag and says “I have a present for you, Mom!” while handing me his folders and notebooks. Occasionally he brings home some homework (it’s not a real assignment, usually just a worksheet that the other kids did while Em was pulled out of the regular class). Sometimes he’s tired and cranky after school, but he’s actually usually pretty happy to do homework. He likes to show me that he can do it on his own (though most stuff is done hand-over-hand). Every time he draws a line, counts, or writes a letter correctly he says “Mom! I did it!” with the biggest smile.

As for me, I’m still teaching in the mornings (trying to get in as much as I can before daylight savings hits and I lose an hour – they don’t have that in China, after all), and sometimes in the evenings as well. I’m trying to keep up on housework, but I usually feel like I’m drowning and too tired to keep paddling. Both kids have decided for the most part that they’re done with naps, so my afternoons are usually filled with cranky (but not quite tired) kids, and they’re both usually asleep by 6:30 or 7.

I’ve started on Maddie’s Halloween costume. She’s going to be, as she put it, “a scary, sneaky princess witch,” so I’ve got my work cut out for me. Emmett has been knocking on our bedroom door at 5:00 each morning yelling “Trick or treat!!!”

Most days feel like I’m just barely hanging in there. I’m so, so tired. But I don’t think I’d change anything. I’m slowly but surely purging the house of things we don’t need or use anymore. It’s a good feeling to get the “stuff” out and to make everything a little more simple. The kids are happy to be apart from each other during the day (she cries that she misses her brother, but she’s honestly happier with him out of the house). Emmett is happy to be finally interacting with kids who aren’t his little sister.

Oh, and I keep forgetting to lock the fridge and freezer. I found a gnawed on ham in the living room recently, and she ate a small tub of ice cream for breakfast yesterday. Need to work on that.

Things are good, and the days are somehow too long and too short at the same time. I’m trying to make the most of each day, and am working toward the goal of a clean, organized, happy home. Some days are more successful than others. Ok, so few days are successful, but I keep the goal in mind and keep working toward it. It’s just on the horizon. I know it is.

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