I do remember promising with the last update that I would do better than a once-a-month post. If you will look at your calendar, you will find that I am one day ahead of the month deadline and, if I post 1st Day of School photos this week, I will be well on my way to breaking this abysmal blogging drought.
In the past month, some things have remained frustratingly the same while others unraveled at the seams and had to be patched or refashioned into something completely different.
Join me after the jump for this month's Fort W. news.
This week is Back-To-School Week for the big girls and First Day of School Week for M3. This week is nothing like I'd imagined it would be. Not at all.
Through a total fluke, I learned on August 2 that the enrichment program that I thought was available in both the morning and afternoon at the girls' private school for the preschoolers (where M3 had been placed) which would turn a half day program into a full day one, was only available in the afternoons. Which meant that M3's placement in the afternoon preschool section became less of a glitchy inconvenience and more of a dealbreaker for her attendance there.
Because I had not specifically requested morning placement, M3 had been placed in the afternoon section. Keeping in mind that all the discussions preceding her placement anywhere were oral and I never selected anything placement wise on a form because I had no earthly idea if the child would even be school ready when she finally arrived in the States, I'm not going to bear the burden of blame for not checking a box on a form that I can barely remember. Bygones.
Once I realized that the before care was no longer being offered (I swear to you, I believed they had it), I also quickly realized that without something changing I would be running myself ragged taking the big girls to the building at 8:00 and having to have M3 there around noon. No way that is happening with my work schedule, our one vehicle situation ( vehicle that costs entirely too much to fill with gas ), and our one driver lifestyle.
To make a long and ridiculously frustrating story short, M3 is going to attend all-day kindergarten at our neighborhood public school this year. She will ride a bus that only carries pre-K and K kids to a building that only houses pre-K and K classrooms.
Aside from the inconvenience of having children at two different places (with two different schedules, vastly different policy manuals, etc) and the added layer of red tape that comes with public school, I have spent more hours than I can count laying a foundation with our private school regarding M3, her needs, her quirks, her cognitive functioning, her background, her multitude of test results, and the list goes on ad infinitum. I have had a total of two very hurried, rushed and abbreviated conversations with the principal and the teacher assigned to M3. The description of falling without a net is not overdone in this situation. Forewarned is forearmed and all that--I worked so hard to make sure that everyone would be ready for M3 and to pave those avenues of open communication.
If I thought I didn't have time to do all that paving with the previous school, I would love to have that level of 'busy-ness' be my norm again. Starting from scratch with not only the child, but also the entire school itself is not my ideal. At all.
Yes, I'm relieved that the transportation and time-in-seat issue has been solved. I don't, however, like dumping a kid like M3 unceremoniously into the laps of some unsuspecting educators and just crossing my fingers that everyone will be up to speed on older internationally adopted children. If one more person tells me, "It will be fine. Stop worrying about it." I will lose my mind. Things are most definitely not fine nor will they likely ever be again. The psychologist who tested M3 impressed upon me over and over and over how important laying the groundwork would be, so I did it. For nothing. Because next year when she goes to the school I intended for her to attend this year, I will have to start all over again with an entirely new data set and list of variables.
In other news:
There has been some progress in the look of my husband's eye. Namely, we can make out that he does, indeed, have a pupil. There is also some blue visible around the rim of his iris. While this may make his eye look a bit more pleasant for those who make eye contact with him or put drops in his eyes, the "progress" has meant nothing for his vision. He still can't see. Still can't work. Still can't drive. And, while in the scheme of things this is progress overall, it hasn't shortened that "eight months to resolve" window established earlier this month. For those keeping score, that's April of 2011.
I'm still working all the time. I spend an inordinate amount of time in my husband's pick up truck (which, as you might imagine, is not a vehicle I would choose for myself under any circumstances) and oftentimes drive home from after being away from the house for over nine hours only to have my entire family pile into the truck and have to be driven somewhere.
I have gone from being a hands-on, doing everything with and for my children kind of parent to a see-my-kids-for-three-hours-a-day-if-I'm-lucky parent. It is no way to parent and it certainly is no way to live. The entire situation is made more frustrating by the fact that the choices I have made have always been about my kids and being able to take care of them. You can't very well be a ball breaking career person with huge responsibilities and killer hours if your husband could be called away for a year at a time. Well, I suppose you could and people do, but taking care of kids is hard enough. If I'm doing that by myself for a year at a time, I have no desire to be working in an inflexible situation. I have tried to find and keep jobs where I have some flexibility built in and where, if a child gets hurt or is sick, I'm not worried about losing my job for staying home for a day or two.
That comes back to bite you when the reason you've made these decisions (wanting to give your children a more full-time parent in light of your husband's demanding civilian and unpredictable military schedules) is moot. You're not going to be making enough money at those flexible jobs to take care of everyone and everything so instead of working killer hours and being fine financially, you're working killer hours and squeaking by.
The most depressing thing (and it's quite a contest...lots of contenders) is that the kid who needs me the most is seeing me the least. Second most depressing is that this situation has no end in sight and there is no way to make it any better any faster.So, we're charging ahead and thrusting a kid into a situation where the adults are ill-prepared and uninformed on her situation and needs and everyone will be behind a steep learning curve for the foreseeable future.
Let's just hope the first day goes well and that I can make it back to the house after dropping the older girls at private school to trek to the public building with M3 so she doesn't see her mom missing yet another important moment.