2 Cor 12v9

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The One Where I Boast A Lot About My Children

As you know, we made the difficult decisions two months ago to go back and keep going with our pre-loss life. Same house, same ministry, same school. After a long away from them all, we didn’t know what to expect. We just had to hold on and see what happened.

 The boys have just broken up for the half term holiday, and so far their time back in Morecambe has been great. We came out of parents’ evening last week with glowing reports for all three boys, which has given us a massive boost.

 Turtle has gone back into school like he’s never been away, and is buzzing with the responsibility that comes from being in Year 6. He’s on the student council, he sets out the games and equipment at playtimes, and he’s also House Captain. After learning about World War II each week at school, he comes home and acts out the battles on paper and with his brothers. He’s collected quite a stash of books on the subject and went into great detail about the Anderson shelter they built in their year 6 classroom. His writing stamina has improved, and although he’s needing some extra help to catch up with maths, he’s improving all the time. He seems stronger in his convictions than ever, and is really thinking about his future.

Ace couldn’t have asked for a better teacher – she was with him when he was in reception class, so they understand each other really well, and we are seeing a very different reaction than last time he was in school permanently. Back in Year 2, he was coming home every day stressed, uncommunicative and worn out from all the concentrating he had to do; in the last few weeks we have seen very little of that at all. He is doing independent work much more frequently, and out of the eight weeks he’s been back, he’s won Star of the Week three times! He seems to be able to express himself far better than he used to, and although he is still impulsive, we’re seeing improvements in that area all the time. He loves teaching his two younger siblings how to do things, and is really good at naturally encouraging them to try new things.

And Rocky, who we had no idea how he would respond to school, has blown us all away. At the top of his report at parents’ evening, it just said, “Wow!” Speech has always been difficult for him – his vocabulary was okay, but he struggled to pronounce so many consonants that very few people could understand him. He has suddenly learnt nearly every letter he needs (just ‘k’ and ‘g’ to go!) and his confidence has grown hugely with it. He is in the top portion of the class for numeracy and literacy, and making friends really quickly. It seems there’s been a lot more going on in his quick brain than his cheeky exterior wants us to think! He turned five this week, so as well as being to talk much better, and growing tall enough to reach the light switches, he's feeling very grown up all of a sudden. 

So although things are far from perfect – we are still working towards finding some sort of rhythm to make life work and get our household in order – things are far better than expected. To watch each of the kids grow more and more in different areas, and know that taking our year off from real life seems to have been the best decision we could’ve made, has given us all confidence for the way forward. 

Monday, 1 October 2012

Confessions of a Pro

Here's some stuff that you think I'd have worked out by now. I'm not sure if it's reassuring to other, newer parents, or just scares them about their own future, but today I felt the need to confess that after ten and half years of parenting five very different children, I have never managed to work out....

...how to cook a meal (I could actually just put a fullstop there, but I’ll carry on...) without having a small person hanging on me or crying at me or destroying something that they shouldn’t have been playing with that I sacrificed to them for the sake of a few moments of quiet.

...how to tidy up properly while the kids are in the house without getting REALLY stressed out at them or using the TV to make them zone out while I work around them. I usually settle for untidy-but-nice-to-be-with mummy over grumpy-but-tidy mummy, and as a result we live in happy chaos.

...how to remember everything we need every time we go out. I feel like I bring a kitchen sink with me wherever I go, but I inevitably forget the obvious things like tissues, or a change of clothes for a toilet-training child, or drinks on a hot day, or coats on a rainy day, or cash for a place that doesn’t take cards.

...how to get anywhere on time AND clear up behind us on the way out. It can only be one or the other.

...who sat in which seat in the car last time we went somewhere and whose turn it is to sit in the front/middle/back this time. If I cared about it as passionately as the kids do, I’d make a laminated rota to make all our lives simpler. But I just don’t.

...remembering to really actually check the appearance of every child before we arrive at our destination. I’m usually so happy to have got them all where we are going that only as we enter the door do I realise that someone has jam on his face, someone else has yesterday’s dirty t-shirt on again, another has shoes on the wrong feet, and the toddler has no shoes on at all due to the quickfire motion I used to wrestle her into the car after she tried to escape from the house in the wrong direction.

...how to say no to a child who wants to be read to.