Beginning at the first of this month, I moved most of my cleaning clients to afternoon appointments. This was the first step in planning our fall schedule.
Em wants to return to homeschool and I feel more confident and prepared than ever!
One of the lessons I have learned though, is that we need a more regular schedule. The odd, ever-changing one I had before was frustrating, and it left me trying to squeeze in homeschool and my personal writing time into odd-shaped holes in the schedule.
After examining all of my client cleanings, I realized that over half were in the morning, during this early bird’s most productive writing/teaching time! That didn’t make sense, so I changed it, and with few exceptions I have nearly all of my client cleanings starting at 1pm.
This allows me to carve out a morning schedule of writing, and then incorporate homeschooling into the mix beginning in the fall.
It is a busy, yet workable, schedule now. Now that I’ve gotten two huge parts of my day figured out – housecleanings and writing – I can create a good schedule for homeschooling and decide what subjects will happen on what days. And I have plenty of time to figure that out – because fall won’t be here for five more months!
Big Changes on the Horizon
I’ve pulled our crib from the attic and wiped most of it down and began to set it up. We are weeks away from certification as foster parents and then it is just a matter of waiting for a little one to be born or come into care. We are open to all, but the room is pretty small. It can handle a toddler bed or a crib, no problem, but not something bigger. I’m pretty sure it was originally intended as a nursery or a sewing room.
It makes me wonder if Louise Abney, one of the original residents to live in this house, stayed in that room first. She was just two years old when her family moved into the newly built house.
We will be taking advantage of daycare during the day – both now and in the next year or two. I still have to work (my cleaning biz contributes around one-quarter of our monthly income) and in the fall we will be homeschooling, so I hope to have time set aside specifically for Em, to maintain our solid relationship and reassure her of her place in our hearts.
The goal with all foster care is reunification with the birth family – and I am certainly on board with that. If it becomes obvious that the child’s needs cannot be fulfilled by the bio parents in the eyes of the court, then we hope to adopt. Either way, the goal is care and love – in whatever form and future that takes.
When I was pregnant with Em, a full eighteen years after my first child was born, I had plenty of shocked looks when I told them her sister was nearly 18 years old. They shook their heads and asked me if I was crazy (“The end was in sight!”) and I told them that, if I did this again, it would take both medical and psychological intervention. And here I am, eleven, nearly twelve years later. Apparently, I was wrong – it has taken menopause and a move to the city to accomplish this major change!
It has been a long road to this decision and it will be a longer road still as we experience the ups and downs of the foster care system and welcoming a new life into our family. I welcome the challenge. I have learned a lot from 29 years of parenting. I added it all up and realized that IF we get a newborn and IF we end up adopting him or her, by the end of it, I will have 47 years of active parenting experience. Considering I am 47 (nearly 48) years old right now, that seems like a whole lot of parenting experience!
Then There is the Neighborhood Kid
And if all of the parenting/fostering plans weren’t enough, we do seem to have a young man here in the neighborhood that continues to seek us out. Well, he seeks out my husband, who is quickly becoming a father figure to the young man.
This is something that R needs desperately, as he lost his father last year to a car accident.
R is fourteen, and definitely in that stage where they think they understand it all. I think we all remember that age, don’t we?
He has had a particularly hard time this past week as it was the one year anniversary of his dad’s passing. He shows up on our doorstep at least 3-4 times per week, looking for a meal, looking for a ride, and Dave invites him in and helps him out.
I have stepped back and decided to let Dave run with this. I’ve done this for a couple of reasons.
- The kid made a rather transparent attempt to steal from us – which deterred me from wanting to get too close to him. What can I say, I have trust issues!
- He needs a father figure right now, not a mother figure – his mom is alive, but has stage 4 kidney disease and is on dialysis. Whether her life is measured in weeks, months or years, I do not know, but she is there now. Later he may need someone like that, but for now, what he really needs is a male role model.
Where this is all heading, I have no idea. For all I know, he might end up in the foster care system in the next year or two. We have talked about it a couple of times, but really, who knows what will happen? For now, we are simply trying to be there for him and help him out as much as possible.
Writing – Looking Good
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Em’s homeroom teacher, Ms. L…
As you know, for a long time getting Emily to produce writing in a timely fashion was near impossible. Since we returned from break I have really noticed a switch. She seems more confident in her work and is now one of my most efficient workers. Her grammar and conventions have also improved significantly. It is always bitter sweet when they no longer need your help!
I was so excited to hear that. And I was even more pleased when Em read her project paper to me yesterday. She had picked out the subject – What Foods to Feed Your Puppy – and written it in an informative and personable manner. I love it when you can hear their voice in the words they have written – no bland, stilted writing for my child, she made me proud!
This got me to thinking about writing prompts and possible writing projects this next year. I did a little bit of rummaging about on the internet and found a great list of writing prompts for Middle School students: 100 Not Boring Writing Prompts.
Be sure to check it out!
My Creative (yet slightly creepy) Kiddo
Em creating this mask and came walking up to me one evening, playing it menacing and scary. I have never been a fan of scary movies and frankly, it was a bit much. I asked her not to do it to me again. But I did take some time to admire her work.
Later, upon noticing that her eyes and lips were visible in the photographs, she asked for some pantyhose she could color black. I happened to have some black knee-high stockings I didn’t mind her having and she taped the pieces over the eyes and mouth holes. She could see just fine and it really completed the look.
Creepy, creepy, CREEPY!
Our Morning Reading Adventures
We recently finished the trilogy of “Bad Books” by Pseudonymous Bosch (Bad Magic, Bad Luck, and Bad News). I also purchased, but we have not read, the Secret Series by the same author. Em has really enjoyed these books.
Right now we are delving into “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill
After we finish that I have the 30th Anniversary edition of Hatchet to read to her. Perhaps then we will also see the movie and compare it to the book.
Emily reads well, but she and I both enjoy this reading time first thing in the morning. It is a great way to start our day. I sip coffee and read in a variety of weird voices for the different characters and she slowly sips her tea, gets dressed and brushes her hair.
At the end of it, she pulls out her cello and practices for 20-30 minutes each school day. She improves with each day that passes. This means less angst when her juries and the two scheduled public performances sneak up on us.
Overall, things are falling into place. Life is good and I feel like we have solid momentum forward. I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated as we add a new member to our household!