So check it out. On the right side of my blog is a link --------->
You can go to that site to play an easy little game! All you do is make a guess on our baby's gender, weight, arrival date, etc. Whoever gets closest to the actual weight, height, date and time little Zoe is born may win a special prize (the gender is a given)!!! So go on over and be sure to leave a guess. It'll take all of 30 seconds. Be sure to put "blog friend" in the spot that asks for your relation to me so I know who is leaving the guesses.
Tonight was a parent meeting at Elaina's school. It was very informative. For instance, they're raising money to hopefully build a bigger facility. They've also extended school hours from 8am-4:30pm because last year's test scores were on the low side (and I do mean low) and they're on warning. The reason the scores were so low is because most of the students are bilingual and their primary language is not English. So they are taking state tests in English and not fully understanding the questions. They are taught English at the school but it's one thing to take a test in your own language and quite another to take it in a language you've only been learning for a few years.
One woman got really upset about the extended day and left. She feels there isn't enough family time at the end of the day as it is, which I agree. I see both sides of the argument. The catcher is that kids who score well on tests (at or above the expectations in place) will get to leave school at 3:30 and not have to stay the extra hour. So it is an incentive for students to work hard.
There will also be no homework as kids will get to do the work in the school, with tutors and teachers. Most of the parents only speak their own language and so they cannot help their child with homework as it is so students are not getting support at home. However, parents are more than welcome to come to school, at any time of day, to help out and help educate the children as well, to read them books and help them with their literacy skills. So parents are NOT cut out of the picture; quite the contrary. They want parents deeply involved.
The principal refuses to budge on this new policy and told parents they're welcome to choose another school, in a firm but polite way. Props to her! This isn't a regular school full of Caucasian, English-speaking children. There are 7 countries represented at this school and those children are learning English as a second language. It can take 7 years to learn a language. They aren't beating information into these children, either, btw. They learn through interaction, exploration, immersion, games as well as through books and projects. Not everything is textbook and memorization. At the end of the day I agree with this course of action, as does Daniel, for THIS school and its unique community of students.
The preschoolers are exempt and still get to leave at 3:30, thankfully, unless they have an older sibling who is required to stay the extra hour. It's already a long enough day for children who are so young. Elaina has been coming home excited to talk about her new friends and share what they did in class. Some days she is super hyper and animated, other days she flops on the couch and falls fast asleep until dinner.
I've been with Elaina every single day of her life, except for 2 days when I was in the hospital after Abigail's birth. This is so foreign. As a stay-at-home parent it's difficult to come to terms with the fact that your baby is now under the care and supervision of other adults after years of being with just you. I've had to learn a LOT about letting go, just in these first 4 days of school. I'm still her parent and still make executive decisions on important issues... but someone else is comforting her if she falls down, someone else is making sure she goes potty, someone else is playing games with her all day long...
But I've also been less stressed with her at school. She's been getting bored at home. She and her sister have started to get into a lot more arguments and I have just been at the end of my rope with her at times. So this is a bittersweet situation; to have to let go but also to have a break from one another as we were both stressing one another out. Believe it or not but parents do need breaks from their kids and vice-versa or emotions begin to run high!
It's hard to articulate exactly what I mean but I'm sure if you've lived in similar shoes you understand. Sometimes I feel like such an awful parent. That I'm messing her up, not meeting her emotional needs, not paying enough attention. I feel like I've become Military Mom. It breaks my heart to think of myself that way. So I've been trying to be better about it. I feel like I'm so much harder on Elaina than Abby and so fairness and equality are two major words rattling around my head.
I've been careful to choose my battles lately. I don't nag and get on them about every little detail. I let them be and explore, so long as they aren't in danger. I try to show them how to solve their arguments without having to tattle and scream in anger. I just feel like I'm constantly trying and I worry about the things/attitudes Elaina may pick up at school.
This parent thing is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It's one thing to burp babies and soothe them to sleep. They're so innocent and needy. It's when they grow up and become more and more independent from you that your heart just splits between wanting to watch them grow, with pride, and between wanting them to need you forever. I now understand why and how some moms just NEVER let go (which is NOT healthy).
This post seems redundant to one I wrote not long ago but I don't care. I have to get it off my chest. I have not cried once since Elaina has gone to school (I'm not really a crier anyway) but one of these days it is going to slap me in the face and I'll probably break down while washing the dishes or something. If I do cry it is usually always when I wash the dishes because my mind wanders to those scary places.