June was all smiles as she embarked on a new year at her new Montessori school. She'll be going five half days per week. (A little more than I'd like, but when you move to town late in the sign-up game, beggars can't be choosers. Besides, it's preschool, so I can pull her out now and then whenever I feel like it!) As luck would have it, the school is owned and run by a family friend of ours who grew up in my hometown in Missouri. What are the chances? It's nice to know she'll be in good hands.
(And now I shall force myself to include these terrible photos with the parental units for posterity):
(Quick! Everyone go for Mom's boob!) (How did this woman even get out of hair and makeup anyway?)
I didn't expect any problems at the drop-off, and there were none, but suddenly on days 2, 3 and 4 our normally sweet little June was waking up like a bear. An angry grizzly, to be exact. As Joe said, it was like having your favorite teddy bear suddenly furiously mad at you for no explicable reason. The food is not right! My chair is not right! I want bananas! How dare you give me bananas?! You are not paying enough attention to me! (Even as we sat next to her gently patting her leg and offering condolences.) So, it seems that starting school did affect her after all, just in a different way than what we've experienced with Georgia. June is her own person and is by all means entitled to her own emotional bumps in the road, but sometimes the fact that she normally takes everything in stride so incredibly well means that these bumps take us by surprise. This week we're sticking to a stricter bedtime (now that her nap has been dropped) in the hopes that our mornings will be more peaceful, and so far it's working.
At drop-off there's a carpool lane, but when we pick her up before lunch we get to walk in. I know there are many wonderful models of preschool, but I have to say that there is something about the Montessori environment that is just so wonderfully calming. Already Waylon is making himself at home in the few minutes that we're there each day; he'd love to stay if he could.
(This is not a post about Georgia. I shall simply say it only got worse from there.)
Overall, last week was a bit rocky. In addition to June's moodiness, after the long Labor Day weekend, Georgia struggled to go back to school. It was also Week 1 for me of our "new normal", now that both of the girls' schools have started. And that was a harsh reality. I guess what I'm getting at is this: school is not the promised land for me that I had been holding it out to be. This was a fun, but long, summer of endless unscheduled days in a messy new home in a town where I know exactly one other family. So, to make it through mentally, I just kept telling myself, "Well, when school starts, we'll have more of a routine, we'll get to know people, and the girls will be gone for a little while so I'll be able to make more progress." I don't regret thinking that way, because it helped to get me through. However, I was wrong. Yes, we do have more of a routine now, and that feels very, very good. The sum total of time that the girls are away is only two hours and twenty minutes each day, though, once you account for the fact that the hours of their school days do not perfectly coincide. Add in driving for two drop-offs and two pick-ups, plus the fact that I've got Waylon with me at all times, and well, it's not that my primary goal in life is to get away from my children (as it may sound here), but let's just say I was on crack when I thought this would feel like "freedom" or when I assumed I'd suddenly become more productive at home. The reality of school is that it just means I can no longer jaunt off on big city adventures with the kids whenever we want. I know it's only Tuesday, but Week 2 is going much, much better now that I've adjusted my expectations. Want to feel like you're knocking it out of the park? Just lower the bar. : )
That probably sounded like I'm being sarcastic, but I'm really not. Our life is good, it's just full of changes, and I'm usually the slowest to keep up. June, on the other hand, always seems ready to go get 'em, and we're proud of her for that. We don't even care what year she graduates - it's all written in chalk anyway.