Thursday, 26 September 2013

Settling into the School Routine

It's been a few weeks now since both children started back at school: my two year old daughter to the old school, less than five minutes from our house; my four year old son to the new school, twenty minutes from the house. We've managed to get the school run down, and I'm finding it less tedious than I expected.  I download podcasts to listen to when I'm on my own, and on the way there, when it's just me and my son in the car, we talk.

It's a twenty minute stretch when neither of us is distracted by anything else that needs doing or anybody else that wants our attention, and it's an absolute delight.  Mostly we talk about how he's going to be an astronaut one day, (I have instructed him to video-chat me from the space station and told him he'd better not bring me his laundry when he gets back to Earth), but all kinds of topics come up as we discuss things he's trying to get his head around.

For a while now, I've been vaguely worried about how to bond with my son now that he's outgrown the cuddly stage (which my daughter is delightfully ensconced in). As it turned out, all I needed to do was to find some peaceful one-on-one time--though that's no easy feat!

Anyway, my son has settled into his new school, although he is not impressed by having to work in the afternoons as well.  He was absolutely shattered for the first couple of weeks, though that seems to have eased, thankfully.  He's still starving when he gets home, and packing the lunch is an ongoing problem (I can't find an acceptable sandwich alternative to peanut butter, and it's looking like we might just have to do pasta everyday.)

Still, I'm pleased with the level of communication I'm getting from his teachers, and although we're still feeling our way into the school, so to speak, I think we made a good call. I'll be going in to observe in another couple of weeks, and this weekend, I am volunteering to help at a school event.

Surprisingly, the transition was harder on my daughter.  There was a last minute class-change, and now she's in a different room with different teachers and a much bigger class. She misses her old teacher and still doesn't seem to have transferred her affections to her new ones, which is a great shame. On the other hand, she has adjusted to the new routine now, and I was able to observe her last week which reassured me that she was perfectly comfortable in her new environment. She has a 'best friend', and unlike her brother, she likes to talk about her day, bubbling over with the same litany, regardless of what actually happened.

More regrettably, she's sort of dropped her nap. Not completely, but she used to go down without a problem between 12:30 and 1. Now that's not happening, and unfortunately, we have a limited window before we go to pick her brother up. If she's not asleep by 1:30 (and maybe even that would be too late), it's not going to be worth it for her to go to sleep.  So I've given up putting her down and instead she sleeps in the car when we do the afternoon school run.

It's frustrating because she doesn't get to sleep out in the car before we have to wake her, and then she always wakes up insanely cranky. Still, it's working quite well as an interim step, when she's not really ready to drop her nap, but no longer needs the full ninety minutes either. Now I've just got to get used to a daily routine that doesn't include getting my daughter into bed after lunch.

Also to an afternoon routine where our starting location for activities is at my son's school. There are plenty of parks along the route home, so generally we pick a playground, spend an hour there, then head home to tidy up and get dinner sorted. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but it's surprisingly jarring to be at a different end of town, and I don't feel that we've quite streamlined the process yet.

So to sum up: much change to our daily routine; we're still getting used to it.

Further to my last post on Disney Princesses, we're going to be doing Disney on Ice this weekend, which I'm genuinely excited for, since I've always liked ice-skating and I hear good things about the show. I also hear bad things about the attending merchandise onslaught. Fingers crossed we survive it!