Thank goodness, I only need to endure one more last-week-before-holiday evening of schoolwork, running through things the boys need to send into school, things to sign, answer, email, respond to. It's a wonder their lunches even get made at night.
Julian finally finished his "Heritage Figure" project sentences tonight. It was a serious, serious struggle, but I'm noticing some important trends.
First, he's completely single-minded on how to do something -- he has a specific idea in mind, and nothing else will do. This clarity is a benefit in many ways, but a liability in others. It makes him inflexible and unadaptable if he makes a mistake. Tonight's struggle centered around persuading him that if he starts a paragraph with the school-prescribed "I know many things about X...." that the next sentence doesn't have to start with "First,....". Then he insisted on writing his sentences on paper with the exact right sort of lines with it that he gets from school, which we didn't have. Once we got past these requirements, he cranked through it.
The other thing I've noticed is that Julian does much, much, much better with schoolwork after dinner. Even if dinner is late -- and it has been ironically because of these projects -- his mood, cooperation, and willingness to work around setbacks is a total 180 from when he first gets home. Partly he's motivated for dessert, but partly I believe he needs more transition and non-school-related time than Gabriel does. He gets snacks at the CDC, so I know he's not starving, but somehow the food and ritual of dinner (often not a pleasant experience for us; he's rude and noisy and obnoxious) resets his mindset.
I'm also noticing that Julian's lunch is coming home largely uneaten. That's routine for Gabriel, but Julian eats a lot more in general, and he's not nearly as resilient as Gabriel (who is?).
These are important lessons for 2nd grade next year, when he'll have 6 book reports (and a really really P.O'd mom about dioramas and other crafting projects). More and more, Julian would really benefit from having some home downtime and a big break from his school environment (including CDC) before delving into schoolwork. This has been true about Gabriel for some time, who also really needs chill time at home to work on his various projects, humming to himself, concentrating for hours at a time without interruption, but it's dawning on me that Julian is needing it more now too. This all points to their need for me to be at home with them after school, more as they get older and take on bigger projects at school.
Meantime, things at work are looking up and I'm liking the work part of my life more and more, even as I struggle more and more with balancing it with my home life. Every school project or missed event or lacking extracurricular is evidence of that lacking balance.
Can we all survive sticking out my original plan of working at least until Katrina starts 1st grade?