Hmmm. It's September 28th, and this is my only post so far this month.
September has just been one big whirlwind. The facet of my life marked "adoption" has taken over and twirled me 'round and 'round through the month, and I am just now slowing down, trying to stop my dizzying fall and regain a sense of normal. September equals "school" for much of America, and in my house, it's been the biggest adjustment of all with my newer boys.
Most days I would tell you that this adoption journey (this second one, keeping in mind we did the international thing six years ago) is a piece of cake. But I'm learning to keep my mouth shut because September seemed to be laughing at my standard answer and decided to throw me some curveballs with my boys. So I'm learning a few things as an adoptive mom.
These kids are relatively easy, it's true. They are not your typical "state" kids, inasmuch as they really haven't experienced the same level of traumas and abuse as many of the older waiting kids in our state. For that, not a day goes by that I am not thankful to my core that they were somehow spared a lot of grief and heartache. That being said, they still have six and eleven years of history that didn't include my face, six and eleven years of history and learned behaviors and all of that stuff that I am still learning about (and so are they, for that matter).
This year all three of my boys are at a new school, and thankfully they are all three at the same school which has been a new form of heaven for me. No more long drives from school to school dropping off and picking up. When the weather is nice, we can walk! For the most part, everyone has made the adjustment pretty well. Everyone seems to love learning, everyone is excited about making new friends, and everyone likes their teachers. A pretty good outcome. We also have each of them in a different grade. My youngest two are just two months apart, but we decided at the end of the last school year to hold our newest six-year-old back for another year of kindergarten. Best. Decision. Ever. Although there are times it is like having "virtual twins", they really are quite different in both physical size and personality and learning styles, so now everyone is in their own separate grade. No competition, only support and encouragement for each other, and that part is working out perfectly.
The biggest adjustment for me personally has been the eldest child. Most parents get to work their way up to fifth grade with their child, but I've just been thrown to the wolves, per say. Oh my heavens. He has three different teachers, quite a bit of homework every night, special projects that need to be done at home, lots of tests every week, different teacher websites to keep up with for updates/information, etc. I feel like I need a whole separate planner just for my fifth grader. Anyone out there looking for a personal assistant position? That works for free? I could use one, haha.
Waaaaaay back in the day, I was a fifth grader. I was the poster-child of academic excellence -- nerdy as they come, Coke-bottle glasses and all, but straight-A's on every single report card were my specialty. (I remember crying buckets in high school when I got my first B. Seriously. Oh, the drama.) I was always respectful to my teachers (I had the fear of my mother in me), never skipped homework, never did sloppy work, never forgot papers or tests, etc. It was just second nature for me to try and excel at every single academically that I could. Pretty much picture a milder, quieter Hermione Granger, and you would have fifth-grade me.
Fast-forward to now and it is quite easy to see where the universe is having a great big laugh at my expense. Bless my son's heart, before he moved in with us, he was failing most subjects, and understandably so, as he didn't have anyone checking to see how he was doing in school, to teach him how to be a good student, etc. You can already picture this hilarious new equation, I'm guessing -- my total-other-end-of-the-academic-spectrum son + my overachiever former self = good times, good times.
I'm just going to be honest. September has sucked. It has pulled and prodded, poked and shoved, stretched and strained me. I have had several parenting successes, and I have had more than a handful of parenting FAILS. I keep looking for that parenting handbook that I swear these kids should've come with *winkwink*, and I am trying to figure this all out by trial and error. I've rejoiced with my son in his achievements, and I've definitely cried some tears over his failures. Trying to find a balance between where he is coming from (failing many subjects) and where I would like to see him (hello, straight-A model student, of course, *winkwink*) has been one tightrope act that I have yet to master. Slowly but surely, he is adjusting, I'm being tweaked myself, and we are actually this close to a straight-A report card. We could not be prouder, and it is amazing to see the sense of confidence he is gaining academically. But oh how he has challenged and tested us in other areas as well. We're smart enough to be thankful for the fact that he is challenging and testing us and not just quietly keeping it all to himself, but dang, if it hasn't been a trying month for my husband and I with this one.
In the midst of all of September's drama, I have also struggled with my other two shrinking in the shadows. As most of my focus has constantly been on the eldest, thankfully the other two have still been marching ahead in their own education and thriving. But it has also weighed on me that I have yet to find a good balance where am not just focusing most of my energy on one and not the other two. Dang, how do you mothers of three (or more) do it? Again, a parenting manual would've been nice (haha) because I've had to figure this mother-of-three thing out all by myself, and dangit if I won't be trying to figure it out until the last one turns 18!
Coincidentally, September also marked six months of being a new family of five. Last week we hit the six-month-mark, which is pretty hard to believe! For those of you that have been wondering, we're still not official and are technically just waiting on the judge to set a court date. If you feel so inclined, say a little prayer for us that we get a "good" judge that sets dates earlier than later (I've heard we could expect a court date as late as the end of the year, say WHA????, and that would be no bueno), and that my kids will all be able to write our last name on their school papers sooner than later. It's been official in our hearts since the day they moved in back in March, and not a day goes by that we don't tell them that, but I know that it will just help them feel that much more secure and confident when it's officially recognized by the state as well. They're old enough to understand all of it.
So that's my September in a long-winded nutshell. How was yours?