So, aside from the (not uncommon) reluctance to get out of bed and face school, the 75 minute separation process once I did get him there (all three kids that constant five minutes late), the skeleton onesie pyjamas being worn at school all day and the kicking, fighting, biting, beside-himself meltdown after the final bell this afternoon... aside from that, there's this feeling. The word that fits, I think most accurately, is bewildered.
I think the hardest thing to get my head around is the inconsistency. I am bewildered by what is different from one morning to the next. By the need to make decisions about what is best for this amazing, complex 9 year old boy, with conflicting evidence from day to day, week to week, about what those best things might be. He can be such a joy to have around, and he adores me - his anchor, his mum - like nothing else in this world. But these things won't give him an education. Hugs and teddies aren't going to make him friends. Social thinking can't be learned from one person alone.
At the moment, we are part way through the intake process at Cheshire school, a transitional school for kids with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, for Ash, as recommended by his psychologist. It's an investigative process, where actual enrolment isn't decided until a certain stage of the process, and we are not there quite yet. We're part way through. So, there have been a lot of considerations to think about, and the possibility of big change ahead. But the possibility of it not happening is there too. It's up in the air. Good things on both sides - the change, or not to change. The private, specialist school, the increased transitions, the hectic schedule for me as the driver (an extra two hours of driving a day), but the chance that this is what will work for him. And the possibility that it won't.
The principal / psychologist from the school observed Ash in his current school and classroom the other day, and we spoke a little later that afternoon. There were a lot of good points, and I agree fully with them all - he engages well with his peers, with assistance can work on the required tasks, seems generally liked by others, doesn't seem anxious within the classroom space. She could see a few things we'd spoken about as well, but the areas of concern were more subtle. These are all true things. I started to wonder if maybe this new school idea won't be the necessary goal. I hope we can avoid the big change, despite the potential benefits, for the sake of appreciating the things Ash likes about where he is at, things he would have to sacrifice to change schools. And, to be brutally honest, save the money, and driving.
But then, today, pyjamas, the morning refusal again, and the chair-tossing, workbook-ripping, heart-breaking meltdown over the end of the day, over time running out, and him not being able to do his show and tell after all. Just a final straw, on a hard day. The red beast took over, he says, and while it took half an hour to come back to a calm place, five minutes after we got home he was all hugs and apology. He's a beautiful boy. And I can easily see it. Tackling life is just a bit too much to ask sometimes.
Twin girls are on their way, and we put on a beautiful party to celebrate for my lovely cousin. Her bestie and I organised the party, and I got to do my favourite parts of a party - styling and decoration :)
So, a couple of weeks ago I took the kids over the border once more, off to Adelaide with a car full of silver trays, white tablecloths, paper flowers and vintage books. I'd spent my spare time in the weeks before making tassle garlands, a lace garland, designing activity cards and creating paper flowers. We stayed with my little sister and nephew, giving the kids a fun end to their school holidays running amok with their cousin for a day or two before the party! I took the chance to do some baking with my sister, using our family favourite chocolate cake recipe, and trying out her thermomix when making the cinnamon buttercream icing.
When setting up Bec's space, it was great that the fairy lights and tissue paper balls still hung beneath the decking roof, left from her wedding party last year. We added a range of umbrellas and parasols, to suit the 'baby shower' theme, in a mix of white and magenta (our party theme colours). I loved this, they looked so whimsical and gorgeous! Across the fairy lights, I strung the lace semi-circle garland that I'd made diagonally, and added the tassle garland around the edges of the decking area.
On the morning of the baby shower, tables were set up and all covered, including the permanent BBQ, with white tablecloths and fabric. Silver trays, cut glass, burlap strips, fresh ivy, vases of fresh magenta and white flowers, potted colour, gilt frames and vintage books were all placed around the tables, including two activity areas. But the food table was my favourite, everything book paper, magenta and flowers, it was so pretty. It looked even more magical in real life.
The party was really fun and happy, with our make shift photo booth (wall) and a gorgeous array of food and drink to share. I even hopped in front of the camera for a few myself (the evidence is below). Bec felt adored, everyone loved the styling and look of it all, and there are some very fun photos to keep! I call that a win :)
For guests and friends, the rest of the photos can be seen (and web-quality copies downloaded) at http://curiouser.shootproof.com/becsbabyshower