Friday, October 24, 2014

School routines, speaking English, and current ages...

We’ve settled into a nice routine now with Andrew starting school.  I was so worried about how we’d (me, mostly - let’s be honest!) adjust to the new schedule, but it’s working out nicely.  Today was a Pro-D Day and admittedly it was nice not having to go on a whirlwind of getting everyone ready and out the door by 8:30, but it’s really not so bad doing the drop off and pick up.  And the girls absolutely LOVE that the first 10-15 minutes of the school day is ‘family reading time’, which means they get to play and feel like they’re a part of the class every morning.  They have taken to it so well that they are often the first ones in the door in the morning, with big smiles, waves, and enthusiastic, ‘Hi!’s’ for the teacher.

The little girls in the class have taken to the babies and love to hug them, try to pick them up, and yesterday were delighted when Margaret gave them kisses.  Margaret and Emily of course lap up the attention from all their new friends!  Andrew enjoys that we stay so I can read him a story or two, and a few of his friends sometimes sit with us and we chat.  It’s nice to have that connection with the kids and to feel like we’re a part of a little community there.

One issue I’m finding that holds us back a little bit is the language barrier between us and so many of the other parents and kids in Andrew’s class.  We are the vast minority having English as our first language, and I’ve discovered that the majority of children in Andrew’s class in particular speak very little English, some of the kids don’t speak English at all.  This is obviously hardest on the teacher, but I’m finding it prevents us from socializing in the way I’d hoped we would easily do once Andrew started school.  I feel like this could lead people to the word ‘racism’, but it’s not about that at all.  I’ve lived in Burnaby for the majority of the 18 years I’ve been on the mainland, and as an English speaking caucasian born and raised in BC, I don’t think it would make sense that I’d choose to live in Burnaby if I was racist!  It’s definitely a multi-cultural city, and for the most part I’m fine with that.  I don’t care what culture a person is from, my issue is with language.  I feel it would benefit everyone if people living here spoke enough English to carry on a conversation without it being a struggle, or without it being obvious that there’s a complete inability to understand each other.  I’m not saying I haven’t been able to converse with anyone at the school whether from here or from somewhere else, but I can’t deny that it’s an obvious issue.  And it is for Andrew, too, because there are kids he just can’t chat with because they can’t understand each other.  It’s great that the kids are learning English now that they’re in school, but I have to admit that it DOES bother me when I hear the parents speaking nothing but their native languages as I don’t feel it promotes getting the children learning the language we speak here.  Practice is key - I can only imagine how challenging it is to learn a new language, I’m not saying it’s easy or that their native language should never be spoken, but if the kids don’t hear English outside of the classroom I don’t see how they’re going to learn it well.  That’s my rant on the subject...Andrew’s teacher did say that he speaks very eloquently (he really does have a great vocabulary and if you had a conversation you’d know what she means...He seriously is a little old man and she picked up on that the first day she met him!)  I think he can be a help with promoting language because he’s so outspoken and not afraid to strike up a conversation with anyone.  But I do admittedly feel a tad frustrated that ultimately he’s being a bit held back by it.


Our current routine tends to be this:  I get up around 10 to 7, get myself ready for the day (or at least partially), make coffee, get a little snack for the kids (yogurt, cheese, a few crackers, something just to tide them over for a few) then I go finish getting ready, make all the beds, pick out clothes for the kids.  I usually try to feed them breakfast before dressing them (our go to is mush and some banana each but sometimes we have toast or cereal, bagel with cheese).  Once everyone has eaten I get the girls dressed and get Andrew to dress himself (athough I sometimes help or he’ll take forever because he doesn’t really want to get ready).  The kids usually watch some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while I get us ready to go.  Or something on Netflix.  Andrew watches more than the girls do, they tend to be running around and playing and asking for juice (‘My some juicy cup!’ is Emily’s latest), or racing up the stairs and bugging at the gate while I get ready….

Last week I decided to dismantle the gate at the bottom of the stairs.  We are just so sick of having 3 gates and want rid of THEM ALL, but we need the one leading to the kitchen for times when I can’t deal with the girls in there with me, and we need the one at the top of the stairs to keep the girls from going downstairs in the night.  Those gates will likely be up for another 6 months or so is my guess, but not having one at the bottom of the stairs has been glorious.  No more feeling like we’re high jumping to get to the bottom of the stairs (we took to stepping over it rather than open and close it every freaking time…!!!)  BUT the one down side to no gate there is that the girls like to follow me upstairs, and hang out bugging at me while I try to get ready!  They beat at the gate and end up fighting with each other, and once Margaret tumbled down 3 stairs.  It’s a bit of a concern but for the most part they do so well with not getting into mischief and - knock on wood - but there have been no falls on the stairs where anyone has actually gotten hurt.

I just realized I strayed from ‘what our current routine is’, but whatever...

I love the age of 2!  It’s challenging in its own ways for sure, but it’s so much better than all the time before this, in my opinion.  The girls talk so much, they understand an absolute ton, you can’t reason with them completely obviously but definitely more than ever before.  They jabber away and talk to each other, it’s SO CUTE listening to them talk to each other!  And something I find fascinating about twins is how they play together.  Kids their age will usually play AROUND each other but not actually TOGETHER yet, or at least not in my experience watching kids at that stage, and thinking back to how Andrew was.  The other day the girls found a little wooden toy car and sat opposite each other on the kitchen floor.  The one with the car would say, ‘Set, goooo!’ and push the car to the other girl, she’d giggle and then do the same back.  Often times they will chase each other around laughing hysterically.  It’s just super cute, and heart-warming knowing they have a built in play mate.  People always told me how great it would be once they could be ‘friends’ and start playing together, and it’s happening.  Do they fight and hurt each other and scream at each other and cry because sister stole her toy and want to do completely separate things?  Yes, they do all of that, too!  But the moments when they’re content with each other and I get to witness the bond they have - those moments are indescribable.

Of course I love the age of almost-6 as well.  Andrew is so inquisitive and has so many interesting thoughts and ideas to share.  Something I really love about him is how loving and genuine he is.  On Tuesday after school I made a special treat of hot chocolate and put out some cookies and cut up strawberries and various treats as the girls and I had done a grocery shop before picking Andrew up that day.  The girls had finished up their few sips of hot chocolate that I gave them, and took their bowl of strawberries to the living room to watch Mickey Mouse (I do limit their intake, but it’s their latest obsession, especially Margaret!)  So Andrew and I had a little bit of mommy/son time sitting at the table and he said, ‘You know what, Mommy?’  I said, ‘What?’  He said, ‘I don’t just think but I KNOW that you are THE BEST Mommy in the WHOLE WORLD because of this party you’ve done for me for after school and for all the nice things you do!’  Such a sweet moment.  He also out of the blue last week told me that he loves the baby blanket I made him.  I did a big cross-stitch blanket for him before he was born, he rarely uses it now so I don’t even know what made him think of it.  But he said it was one of his most favourite things in the whole world because I made it for him and that meant that it was full of love.  He really has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thoughts on Thanksgiving...

I’m not really that into Thanksgiving.  Which is not to say I’m not thankful, because I have SO MUCH to be thankful for, and I try not to take all that I have for granted and be mindful of how good my life is, because it IS good.  I have my own set of ‘first world problems’, rest-assured, but I definitely know I am very lucky to have the life that I do, and particularly the family that I do.  I have love and support in my life, a roof over my head, a house I can be warm and cozy in, I never have to go hungry.  Did I mention my perfectly special and wonderful and did I say PERFECT not-so-little family that I am thankful for EVERY SINGLE DAY?!  I love James and our 3 amazing kids (and, yes, even Fifi, despite that she sometimes drives me crazy…) SO much, and couldn’t imagine my life without them.  I am so, so lucky, and ever thankful for what I have.

However...there are a few reasons why Thanksgiving as a holiday isn’t really tops on my list.  First of all, there’s the extra-mass slaughter of turkeys (and, arguably, pigs) at Thanksgiving time, which I can’t in all good conscience be thankful for, as a vegetarian because of my love for animals!  Sure, we enjoy our Tofurky at times (although generally just at Christmas) but yeah...Not huge on the ‘sacrificial turkey day’, personally.  The biggest reason for Thanksgiving being a bit of a downer for me, though, is because of the fact that the worst day of my entire life EVER happened at Thanksgiving time.  Three years ago yesterday I had my miscarriage, but it was the day before that we celebrated Thanksgiving at my bro and sil’s and that’s when things really started to go downhill for me.  I actually ended up at the ER that night, so the miscarriage was starting at that point.  I remember the day like it was yesterday, I remember sitting on my bro and sil’s couch and Andrew came over and I sat him on my lap and I remember feeling something flutter in my belly, only it felt almost a little more like a ‘pop’ than a flutter.  Not something anyone could have heard, but I remember instantly feeling like something just wasn’t quite right.  It wasn’t because of Andrew being on my lap, it could have happened at any time, it was GOING to happen and WAS happening...He sat on my lap all throughout my twin pregnancy (well, at least until I was way too huge to even HAVE a lap anymore...which probably happened around 20 weeks with twins LOL) but yeah...I really associate ‘Thanksgiving day’ with the day I ended up in the ER and was thrown into facing the fact that I was most likely losing my baby...and then the next day going through the worst experience ever (for me).  I honestly felt as though I had nothing to be thankful for that Thanksgiving, given all I went through.

But I WILL say, that even though the girls’ birthday party was on the same day as the anniversary of that horribly day, I had a really great day yesterday and didn’t even ‘remember’ what day it was until halfway through the day, and even though for a split second there was that familiar pang of remembering, it went away as quickly as it came.  I can recognize that it was a bad time, but I can also recognize all that I have, and I honestly couldn’t imagine not having been celebrating the birthday of my two beautiful little girls, Margaret and Emily.  They bring me a double amount of love and smiles and pure JOY, and I am SO lucky to have been able to have not just one but two babies at once!

I still don’t know exactly how I feel about Thanksgiving, but I also realized recently that with Andrew being in school now, and learning more about holidays, it’s important not to just discount them completely just because they may have affected me badly in the past, or because there might be certain aspects to them that I don’t like.  I can talk to him about some of my issues (he knows my stance on turkeys, for example!) but it doesn’t mean we can’t still be thankful and at least do SOMETHING to celebrate and show our thanks for what we have.  

The girls' Frozen-themed 2nd birthday party

Yesterday we had the girls’ birthday party.  They’ll be TWO on Tuesday!  I still can’t get over that.

We had a Frozen themed party for them and it was such a hit!  I stayed up way too late the night before putting up the decorations and getting things organized.  Normally I’d be totally annoyed that Christmas decorations are ALREADY in stores, but I felt like I lucked out at the dollar store with the 3 big snowflake decorations I bought the day before the party.  I just happened to be there...and just happened to see them...and I feel like the decor was really brought together by those snowflakes.

The girls only napped for about 15 minutes yesterday, which was a bit frustrating, but Andrew and I managed to decorate the cupcakes (that I’d made first thing in the morning) in that time, and got the ‘Pin the nose on the Olaf’ game set up.  When Margaret and Emily came downstairs they were so excited to see Olaf (or, ‘Offoff’ as they call him!)  When I got them dressed in their birthday outfits - Anna/Elsa t-shirts with a big ‘2’ and their names on them, and super adorable blue tutu skirts, and their new black sparkly shoes) they were SO excited.  They absolutely love clothes, especially Emily.  They were twirling around in the skirts, and were so excited about their Frozen shirts.  ‘Oooh, pretty!’ Emily kept saying.  

For the food we decided to make things easier for ourselves, and had the event catered with Greek food from a restaurant nearby.  We also got some chips and cheesies and nibbly type foods but the Greek food was the main and it was SO DELICIOUS, everyone really seemed to enjoy it.  It was nice to do something different than what we usually do, and so much easier for us to just order in.

For the cake we got a big Dairy Queen ice cream cake (which in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with!) and I added some Frozen cake toppers to it.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  We’ve been told by people with twins that you should ALWAYS get two separate cakes to make sure the twins always feel like individuals, and last year I made giant cupcake cakes for each girl to ‘smash’ into for their 1st birthday.  This year we had one cake (the ice cream one) that said, ‘Happy 2nd Birthday Margaret & Emily’ on it.  Then with the cupcakes Andrew and I made we had one that had an ‘M’ and one with an ‘E’ and each girl got their own cupcake (with 2 candles each, that they managed to blow out all on their own!) to devour as they wished while we went and cut up the ice cream cake.  Truth be told I don’t think they had any of the actual cake (ice cream), but that’s just because they’d had enough by then with their cupcakes.  One day we might do two separate cakes again, but truthfully I plan on the girls KNOWING they’re individuals, but at the same time being comfortable with being twins.  At this age I don’t think 2 cakes is so important, but they got their separate cupcakes anyway, and they seemed to love them!  Last year was a whole different experience because they hadn’t really had sweets much before their birthday, whereas now (not that they get a ton of sugar because they don’t, but!) sometimes they’ll just randomly yell out, ‘CHOC-AT!’ because they’ve decided they want some, or Margaret will scream, ‘CAAAANNNDDDDYYYYY!’  LOL  But they NEVER get a WHOLE CUPCAKE complete with icing given to them so they were pretty much thrilled!

It was all family at the party.  I thought of inviting a few friends and their kids but I think we’ll stick with ‘just family’ for the first several birthdays and then they can invite their friends once we start doing ‘all friends’ parties, which we’ll be doing for Andrew this year.  (He already has 4 new friends in his class that he talks about every of whom seems to quite like him as she gave him a card she made with hearts all over it!!  Yet he claims it’s ANOTHER girl who is his girlfriend...LOL)  Including the 5 of us there were 13 people at the party.  

The girls had a blast just spending time with everyone, and of course everyone got a kick out of them because they say such cute and funny things.  Andrew was super moody before the party and I had to threaten to put him upstairs in his room and not let him even be a part of the party, it was that bad.  Then the party started and he completely switched gears, thank goodness.  He was a bit obsessed with when I’d let him have one of the Frozen lollipops, and after that when it would be time for cake (can you tell my kids all inherited my sweet tooth?!) but he was really good over all, and enjoyed ‘helping’ the girls open all their presents.  I think he was pleasantly surprised that they got toys that he would enjoy too, and he has already claimed several of the cake topper characters (the set came with all the main Frozen characters, although I only put Elsa, Anna, and Olaf on the cake).  The girls got a great assortment of stuff and while it’s of course a lot of stuff, it didn’t feel over the top which was nice.  James and I gave them musical Anna and Elsa dolls (Barbie size), Andrew gave them Tinkerbell nightgowns (which are ADORABLE and he picked them out all by himself, the girls LOVE them!), and Fifi gave them some tights with cats on them, and some socks with foxes on them.  My parents got them some play strollers for their dolls (that they LOVE, they used to have some but had destroyed them over time...well, they destroyed the new ones a few hours after their party...but we’re going to try to fix them and make them more sturdy!!), kid-Anna and Elsa dolls with some trolls, and several cute outfits, my bro and sil got them several cute dresses and as well brought them back some t-shirts from their recent trip to Berlin.  My aunt and uncle got them some bristle blocks (which Andrew is also loving!), a ballerina puzzle, some cozy jammies and an outfit, and my cousins got them some cute sweaters and Minnie Mouse toys.  So it was nice that they got some new toys but I love that they got so many cute outfits!  I LOVE their clothes and they look so ridiculously cute in everything, it really is something that makes me so happy - dressing my kids and enjoying their outfits!  Andrew too, of course!  He’s absolutely adorable and every bit the clothes horse as his sisters =)

Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the kids were all so well behaved.  The girls went to bed SO easily (unlike the night before when they ran around upstairs and refused to sleep till almost 10pm…) but unfortunately didn’t sleep through the night as we’d thought they would after such a big day.  Margaret has been sleeping horribly this past week.  Here’s hoping the age of 2 will be the magical age when both girls start sleeping through the night on a regular basis...although I’m not sure why I’m even saying that, given that Andrew was nearly 4 by the time he started sleeping well!!!  But here’s hoping, anyway =)

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Countdown to Halloween

Even though I feel like I have some sort of flu bug and really shouldn’t have gone anywhere at all today, Andrew and I ventured out to a huge Halloween store in Queensborough (New West) for some mommy/son time (after first purchasing a new car seat for one of the girls - we are going to start forward facing them now, which is exciting...I know a lot of people have issues with this and think rear facing for as long as possible is best, but we feel the girls are ready and it’s going to be nice to be able to actually see them in the rear view mirror now!)

The Halloween shop is HUGE, and I think it’s a new tradition that we will go there each year.  Last year I went but Andrew wasn’t with me, so today was his first time seeing all the creepy real-seeming zombies and witches and ghouls and so on.  They have tons of cool displays set up where you step on a little thing that says, ‘Step here’, which triggers the character to start doing its thing.  A zombie girl started begging for help and then lunged forward toward us and I thought Andrew was going to go right through the roof, he jumped so high!  You could hear kids crying and screaming throughout the entire store.  LOL  It was awesome!  Haha.  Andrew loved it, he wasn’t being tortured being there, it was his dream come true.  Halloween has been his favourite day of the year since he was two if I recall correctly, so this store was right up his alley.

We mostly got little decoration type things (I find the store fun to look at but it’s crazy expensive for what it is) and one ‘major’ purchase (a zombie baby...of course!) only because we had a 20% off coupon to use.  A zombie baby is on Andrew’s Christmas wish list (yes he already wrote his letter to Santa, what can I say, the boy likes to be prepared!) and I knew it would be difficult for Santa to get back to the Halloween store in order to put a zombie baby away for Christmas I decided to get it for him as an early Christmas gift.  It’s also a really cool Halloween decoration for our collection, so really, we all win.  I’ve decided I want to wait to decorate till after the girls’ birthday it’s quite likely our house will be decked out in ghosts and pumpkins and skeletons galore by their actual birthday.  Which is fitting, actually.  When we came into the house today with the zombie baby, Emily saw it first and said really enthusiastically, ‘Oooooh, pretty!’ (which means I can no longer feel special when she comments on how ‘pretty’ my hair or my outfit is, because all I’ll see in my mind is the zombie baby...but oh well).  I thought she should have been frightened by how creepy it was, but the truth is, instead of a mobile the girls spent their first several weeks of life looking up at a really creepy witch that we had on the mantle in our old living room.  They were basically Halloween babies - I had decorated the house a few weeks before they were born in anticipation of not being able to once they arrived, so their first experience of living with us was a house full of creepy ornaments!  We even bought a life-size skeleton to add to our collection last year.  Halloween is in their blood!

The significance of certain dates

I can’t believe Margaret and Emily will be turning TWO in just over a week.  How did the last year fly by like that?!  It feels like just yesterday they wore their adorable little ‘birthday princess’ dresses to their cupcake themed party!  This year’s theme is going to be Frozen, and I’m just putting the last finishing touches on their party plans.

Their birthday will always be around Thanksgiving.  Their first birthday was on Thanksgiving Day so we were able to have their birthday party on their actual birthday.  Andrew has always had his party on his actual day because he’s a New Year’s Eve baby (although most likely we’ll do his bday party on a different day moving forward as it might be complicated to invite his school friends to a new year’s eve event, since people usually have plans that day).  We’ve never had to face the question of when to host their birthday parties because it just always worked out to be on the actual day.

This year the girls will be turning two on a Tuesday, which isn’t going to work for pretty much anyone.  We could have held their party the weekend AFTER their actual day, but we agreed it made sense to do it the weekend BEFORE.  Their birthday is the day after Thanksgiving, which is a Monday...and a lot of people do their Thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday it just made sense to have the party on the Saturday.

Saturday, October 11th.

Likely anyone reading this blog knows the significance of October 11th for me, but if not the archives for 2011 will give an all-too-clear image, in case you’re curious.

October 11th, 2011 was the worst day of my entire life.  I honestly think I’ve had a touch of PTSD from it.  I still haven’t got over it, and even found myself blubbering and crying over it to James just last week.  I think because I’d had the invites for the party made up, which reminded me yet again of the date, and the terrible significance, and I just couldn’t help but delve into it again and wonder why it happened and how I’ll ever deal with the FACT that I will never, ever have answers.  I can’t ever get over it because of that.

But ANYWAY.  I remember that day every day, so I decided that there is no reason to just mope, I can remember what happened without it affecting the whole day.  And instead I can focus on celebrating the amazing amount of HAPPINESS that I get from the twins I was so lucky enough to have just one year and 3 days after that horrible thing I had to go through.  I may never understand WHY it happened the way it did, but I couldn’t possibly trade in my two girls for anything, so ultimately all I can be is grateful for what I have, and ultimately I wouldn’t have what I do now if what happened hadn’t, so, there we go.

So it is that the girls’ 2nd birthday party happens to be on the same day as the THREE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of my loss.  Which is crazy, too - I can’t believe the girls are turning two, but how can it be 3 years already since that happened?!  Time has definitely lessened the burden of the pain of it, I do see how time helps.  It can’t ever fully heal it, but it isn’t debilitating to me anymore the way it once was.  It just ‘is.’  It’s not good, that’s for sure, but who could expect it to be.

There will always be a sadness in me from what happened, but I am so lucky to also be filled with the huge amount of joy my 3 children bring me every day, and I always hug and love them extra amounts, in honour of the baby I lost, because I feel like I truly know just how precious all of my babies are.  And in going with the Frozen theme of Margaret and Emily’s upcoming party, I know that I have to just ‘Let it Go’, and remind myself of all that I have!  I’m excited about their party and getting to celebrate our love for them with our family.  And give them their Frozen dolls that they are going to LOVE, and Frozen shirts with their names and age on them...It’s going to be a HUGE day for them, they have no idea =)

Settling into our new routine

Today Andrew told me that he was able to reach the soap and tap in the bathroom to wash his hands without even having to stand on his tippy toes.  It reminded me of Raffi’s song, ‘I wonder if I’m growing.’  Hey, I can reach the tap now for the very first time today!  Awww, my little boy really is growing up...and he’s not so little anymore!

He’s really enjoying Kindergarten so far.  He just completed his first week in full time Kindergarten, although he missed Friday due to illness.  I started coming down with a cold on Wednesday and he started feeling symptoms of it Thursday evening.  He decided Friday morning he couldn’t possibly go to school given how he felt, but I thought it was important to at least TRY so off we went to drop him off (it was a bit easier because Margaret had gone downtown to my mil’s for the day, so I didn’t have to haul out the giant stroller to take Andrew to his class with just Emily to carry!)  Sure enough when his teacher asked if he was well enough to stay he said he wasn’t, and I brought him home, but at least we showed up and didn’t give the impression of not even trying.  Quite a few people in the class were sick and the teacher knew I already had a cold, so it wasn’t a surprise that Andrew came down with it.

I really love his teacher and I’m just so pleased with how everything is going so far with Andrew’s own experience at school, as well as mine there.  I was bummed when we found out he didn’t get accepted to the school we actually live WAY closer to, because I liked the convenience factor of having it so close.  But the one we’re in the catchment area of, even if we ARE right on the EDGE of the catchment area, literally takes 2 minutes to drive to (maybe 5 if there’s traffic!)  It’s not a big deal AT ALL.  Walking would take a lot longer but it’s not that far...I just haven’t done it yet usually due to weather, but also because Andrew’s still getting used to the long days and I don’t think he’d fair too well if we added walking 20 minutes to and from school to his day at this point.  But we’ll get there eventually!  I do want the extra exercise for myself, although truthfully just the act of getting everyone ready when normally I wouldn’t, and getting out of the house every day like that has made a world of difference for me already.

I’ve joined the parents’ council to feel like I’m more connected to what Andrew’s doing, and I’ve already met some really nice people through that as well as a few of the parents’ of other kids in Andrew’s class and the other Kindergarten class.  Everyone I’ve encountered at the school has been SO friendly, including the principal, who I have to say I am really impressed by.  He’s super involved with the kids and really takes the time to talk to the kids AND the parents and genuinely seems to care about how everyone is feeling about their school situation.  I honestly couldn’t feel much better about the experience so far.

A few days into school, Andrew’s teacher asked me to stay for a moment after all the kids went into class in the morning, because she had something she needed to talk to me about.  She’d been looking at the kids’ information and noticed that Andrew was born in 2008, which means he technically could have started Kindergarten last year (which we knew).  The way she presented it was that no one legally HAS to do Kindergarten, so he would have to be bumped up to a Grade One class because of his age.  I was dumb-founded, because the way I’d heard it was that you were allowed to hold your child back as long as they’d be 5 when they started school, which Andrew is.  He was ready to do Kindergarten last fall and definitely we COULD have enrolled him then, but it saddened me the thought of him starting school when he was 4, and being 4 for half the year.  If I was a parent who was working full time and Andrew was going to be in daycare if not school, it would be a no-brainer and we’d have put him in Kindergarten earlier.  But because I’m a stay at home mom, it just didn’t make sense for him to start school so young and have that whole year taken away from us being able to just hang out and have that special time together.  He got to have more bonding time with me and his sisters and I don’t regret for one second the decision to hold him back.  I also think it’s advantageous to be one of the oldest kids in the class, which he is because of our decision to start him in school once he was actually 5-almost-6 rather than 4-almost-5.

Sure enough because it had been our choice to hold him back, it wasn’t an issue and he was ‘allowed’ to stay in Kindergarten - which his teacher was happy about, it wasn’t that she wanted him to have to transfer.  Quite the contrary, she wanted to keep him in her class so badly that she’d offered to the principal to make her classroom a K-1 class so she could offer him the Grade One cirriculum despite the rest of the class being in Kindergarten!  But the principal was able to just make a note in his file that he’s indeed meant to be in Kindergarten and all was well.

We were a bit taken aback by the whole questioning of it, though, and started to wonder if maybe we SHOULD bump him up to Grade One.  He’s very mature for his age anyway, and his teacher said she DID think he would be ready to do Grade One should we decide to go that route.  But in the end, after talking it over and me chatting a bit with the principal and his teacher about it, we decided to keep him where he is.  For one thing, he’d lose the advantage of being on the older side if we bumped him up, and as well he’d miss out on what Kindergarten does have to offer.  Even though it’s much more play based than Grade One, that’s not to say they don’t learn a lot, too.  I also have such fond memories of my own Kindergarten experience, and I didn’t want to take that away from Andrew.  Let him just be a kid and when he’s finished Kindergarten he can move onto Grade One and so on, just the way it should be!  It’s heart-warming to know that he’s doing so well, adjusting perfectly, is enthusiastic about school, and has already shown signs of learning and maturing just in the few weeks he’s been in school so far!  He has also made a few friends, which is so wonderful.  

I’ve had a really hard time connecting with others in our community, despite living here for several years.  Part of that is just because of my personality, being so introverted and not really having an easy time putting myself out there.  But I have to say that I feel like we’re a part of a community now through Andrew’s school, and I’m already loving that aspect of it.  It’s forcing me to put myself out there when normally I wouldn’t, and while it’s easier to not have to break out of my shell, it’s been so good for me to be getting out most days of the week, having to chat with other adults, and feeling like there are opportunities for us to be involved with things.  It’s definitely complicated at times with the girls, but for the most part everything is still doable, and they get to enjoy being out and experiencing new things, too.