Anna likes her teacher, likes that she gets homework sheets sometimes in 1st grade, is making new friends, and gets to walk home from the bus stop all by herself. (It's a block away . . . and I watch from the front yard still, even though she doesn't want me to. hehe.) I feel like Anna is gone at school so much, but the boys must still be time consuming enough because I don't have too much time to dwell on missing her. Which is a good thing. Oh my, she's growing up!
Benjamin did not have any crying moments, asking me not to leave, or hard transitions for preschool this year. Whew! One year older must make a big difference, and I think it's also going well because he is attending a fantastic preschool, and has great teachers! His main teacher said that he's warming up, shares during circle time, and plays with the other kids, but that he's one of her quieter boys. Ha - not at home! Ben hasn't said he doesn't want to go (a good sign!), and almost seems like he looks forward to the three mornings a week he has preschool. And he's already telling me about lots of things he's learned at school. Woo hoo!
And then there was one (Caleb). The older kid's school schedule leaves me with alone time with the babe for 3 hours, 3 mornings a week. What do we do with all that one-on-one time? I talk to him. A lot. I didn't realize how overpowering Anna and Ben's noise, questions, and conversations were until they were both gone. Ah, the quiet. And it seems like Cabers is becoming more communicative now that his noisy older siblings are gone. Good for Caleb. We also go to MOMs group things, the library, walks or park, run errands, or just hang out at home together. Sweetness.
I have loved how the kid's school schedule has made me more scheduled in general. I get up at about 7:30 because I don't want the mornings rushed. We initiated "no TV before school" and the kids don't mind a bit. (We don't have cable or any channels, so really it's "no movie time" before school.) It makes for leisurely breakfasts with good conversation, and sometimes there's even time for coloring or books after Anna and Ben are all ready. I've just been feeling more productive since I have to get up and get going. Anna and Ben go to school at 9am (Ben only goes three days a week, and I pick him up at 12pm).
After they're gone, I let Caleb watch one movie in the morning (the ones he likes are about 45 min - to an hour) so I have some time to get stuff done - laundry, computer, clean, whatever. (If it's a morning Ben's home too, he chooses something to play with, since it's not his "TV time") After that, we do something fun together for a few hours until lunch (either we have something to go to, or we do our own thing). Lunch, chatting and nap time for Caleb around 1pm. During Caleb's 2+ hour nap I have Benjamin entertain himself for half the time (he usually chooses this to be his TV time), and then I do a game or craft or something with Ben the other half. So I have another hour to myself. Yay! I usually prep for dinner during that time, or clean up lunch, or eat my own lunch (I don't typically have time to feed myself during the boy's lunch), or fold, or if I haven't used the computer in the morning, I'll typically do it then. And, if I'm being honest, sometimes I just relax some too.
Then Anna comes home at 4pm, and I spend some time with her while the boys play; help her with her homework, get her a snack, chat with her about her day. And she gets a little TV time before dinner, or time just to unwind. Then it's dinner around 5:30, family time, and bedtime at 8pm. Then Ethan and I have 3 hours to ourself. Ahhh. I know it seems simple, but this little schedule makes me happy. I love it. AND I don't feel completely exhausted in the evenings now . . . so I'm actually starting to work on my endless list of projects again. Oh, and I've been going to bed at a decent hour too. Having a regular sleep schedule is something I've always struggled with (I always want to stay up later to enjoy my kid-free time a little longer), but it's been working well so far this school year. I typically do 11:30 ish - 7:30 ish. And do I dare admit that during the summer I had gotten in the habit of letting the older two watch TV every morning when they woke up (around 7:30), and I'd sleep/lounge until Caleb woke up around 9am. This new schedule feels so much better, I hope I keep it next summer too! Ok, enough with the specifics . . . it's just new and exciting for me, and for such small changes, it makes a world of difference. I hope we keep it up. :)
Caleb, finishing up his lunch after everyone else was done. Such a good eater. hehe.