School was back in session for all of us on September 5th and while it was hard to say goodbye to summer, we were all ready to transition back to a time of regular routines and schedules. We mapped out a plan on a white board so everyone knew what they needed to accomplish on the first day before heading to the bus stop. We continue to use that daily to help all of us with what is on our agenda for the day ahead.
What made the start of this school year especially exciting for everyone was the fact that Cody was going to be attending the same school as Colin and Kailey. He was so excited to join them (although also quite nervous) and he was ready to get up and get going on the first morning before school. This year, I went out at 10pm the night before to make the chalk drawing in the driveway to save on time in the morning. It's funny because the chalk drawing started one year because I didn't have any signs for the kids to hold and I liked it so much that I continue with it each year.
Overall, the transition for everyone has gone pretty smoothly, but they all handle the exhaustion that comes with the new schedule very differently. Colin was thrilled to head back to school knowing that he would see his friends but also because he would have the same paraprofessional and special education teacher again in addition to his new general education 4th grade teacher. He was SO excited that he came to my bedside fully dressed and ready for school...only, it was 1:00am. He was so adamant that he was ready that I couldn't get him back into his pajamas and he slept the rest of the night in his school clothes. As we start the 2nd full week of school, he wakes up each morning ready to go, follows his checklist (better than the other two), and happily anticipates the start of the day (especially when he knows what he has in front of him). Some of the more challenging things we face with Colin currently have to do with some new behaviors that have started to pop up as he starts to transition into that "tween" phase. There is some talking back, easily getting frustrated when things don't go his way, and some physical behaviors (primarily amongst siblings - he certainly isn't the only one). It seems to (thankfully) be a mostly "at home" issue but I am trying to talk to him about strategies he should be utilizing more so than some of the ones he is choosing. I see that some of the behaviors are more enhanced after school when the exhaustion starts to set in; it seems the exhaustion makes him more irritable. I am hoping that as September progresses on, these things will start to "die down" a bit.
Kailey was also very excited and ready to start school. She was happy to start the year with a new teacher and generally has transitioned incredibly well to the start of the year. While she is also tired and exhausted at the end of the day, especially with her activities schedule, she handles it a lot better behaviorally than Colin and Cody. The biggest challenge we face with her is just a general lack of paying attention/following directions. She can become "spacey" and will immediately forget a task asked of her moments after being asked because she is not totally focused on us. She is the busiest with Karate two nights a week and soccer three days a week (one of them being a weekend game day) but is really enjoying being involved in those activities.
Cody is such a big boy now that he just turned 5 and is in Kindergarten. He loves his teachers (he has a co-taught class with a general education teacher, special education teacher and paraprofessional) and is constantly telling us about different classmates that are his friends. He is excited to tell us about all of the things he is learning and all of the teachers that are "looking out for him" that know Colin and Kailey. The first progress we received noted some minor behaviors that we need to work on with him, but overall it was very positive. On the surface he is transitioning pretty smoothly but he is so tired at the end of the day and that is when we see the most challenging behaviors. He can easily be set off into being upset if something does not go his way and it's hard to get him to transition to some of the activities he needs to attend for Colin and Kailey. I know this transition period can take several weeks, but I do hope we start to see a bigger change for the positive soon. The plus side though is we very rarely see visits from him after bedtime!
As with any change in routines, it is always an adjustment and we are trying to work through it together as much as we can. There is a lot to manage with both of us working full time, getting the kids to all of their activities (sometimes multiple on the same day; thank goodness for helpful friends and family!), making sure the house doesn't full apart, everyone is fed WHILE eating together at dinner, and getting to bed at a normal time with each getting time to read. I often feel like I am running from one task to another to stay on the "schedule" (it can be a flaw of my personality) but we're getting there the more "normal" this all becomes.
We are hoping for a very successful year for all three of them and look forward to the year ahead!