Considering I was the one who filled out the application, I don't know why the phone call was answered with such shock, then dismay. It was the local primary school indicating that Ellis' name had been drawn out of a hat of 10 names for the one available preschool place. I'd put the application in during one of the lowest moments after discovering about Baby Oops. I was very deep in the how will we cope/survive/make ends meet phase.
Since then, its fair to say I have moved to a place of much more confidence in my ability to cope at home with the 3 of them. But the question of what to do about nursery, if anything, still lingers.
Its something I have spent many a sleepless night mulling over. What is best for Ellis? What is best for us as a family? Is my desire to homeschool based on an idealised version of what kind of parent I would like to be (perfect) versus the kind of parent I actually am (semi-grumpy with a short attentions span and a strong need for my own space)?
Of course there are no easy answers. Ideals and reality crash spectacularly into one another at the best of times, but particularly at moments of great flux and change. After discussion and tears and worry and some relief (we were told we wouldn't be getting any sort of funded place for preschool initially), Ellis started "school" on Monday, for two reasons:
1. Ellis has asked for school every day without fail for the last 6 months. The begging and pleading that has gone on here is astounding. Most every time we have left the house to go anywhere, big blue pleading eyes have gazed at me and asked "Are we going to school?" "No" I would reply. "But I'm a bigger boy," would be his resolute answer.
As much as I have my reservations about the system, I can't help but feel its unfair to deny him something he wants so badly, based largely on my poor experience. I have read the studies on home education versus school education, I know the benefits and drawbacks of both. I am not thrilled about it, but I feel uncomfortable in placing my own baggage squarely in front of the path he wants to take.
And you know what, each morning he is running out the door--not the normal bribery and coercion that it takes to get him to go anywhere else. And the terrible attacks of rage that had been taking over his normal sensibilities haven't happened at all this week. So far, so good.
2. I need help. I know the cape and the underwear on the outside of my clothes made you think I was superwoman (or maybe just losing my mind), but I am not. The single hardest thing about being an expat family is not having close relations nearby to help. I can confirm that it is really not much fun being 7 months pregnant, wrangling a 10 month old and chasing an Ellis.
Kevin works a lot. In fact, he works so much I am actually banned from telling anyone how much. While I like to think I can do anything and everything without assistance, I can't. Some people are able to pay for help in these situations. I am not. Someone to entertain wee man a few mornings a week for free is a welcome gift in a time where I struggle to walk to the bathroom, let alone head to the park.
Even as I read this back, I hear a tone of justification in my writing. Which, I suppose, I am, but only to the nagging voice in my head who once swore up and down that no child of mine would go to school. But hey, children have their own ideas about things. Whether they want to go to school or be born a year after their last sibling, how naive was I to think I was ever the boss?
And so, ultimately we will try it and see. Day by day, week by week, month by month, we will make the decision together as to what the future holds...
As an aside, isn't that an awesome picture Kevin took of Ellis? I seriously think it is my favourite ever!!
Oh and for anyone who was wanting to order hats after the shop closed, I have reopened both the folksy and etsy shops for a few weeks. The lead in times are a bit slower, as I am slower, but custom orders should ship within 2-3 weeks.