Have you ever been going along with your life, doing what you always expected to be doing, trying really hard to keep everything in your realm within the scope of "How I Planned It" only to find that something starts to derail?
And then, because the derailment was not in the plan, you try to casually force it back into place because you think that if you just will it, it will self-correct and get with the program?
Then one day you wake up and realize that huh, maybe nothing actually derailed. Maybe the one that needs to self-correct is you.
That is kind of my life right now.
We have decided to move Rex (6) into the American DOD school next fall. Hopefully, I think, he'll be accepted into the German Immersion program, but I'm not worried about it. He will or he won't, it's out of my hands and I'm glad we don't have to make that decision.
In lieu of our decision to change him from German to American schools, Jason and I have been focussing on bringing his English up to speed this past month. We're horrified to see how much he's lost and how totally confused he is. He goes to a Dutch school and they tell him "i" sounds one way, then he comes home at night and we tell him it says something different.
He refuses to read and we can't blame him.
And thus we enter a chapter called "My Life As I Didn't Plan It."
The time has come to take Rex out of the morning German program. He's doing well in the after-school program and we want him to have the social and German experience. This means one thing and one thing only -- I have become a Home School Diva.
Don't worry about hell anymore, it's apparently frozen and quite lovely this time of year if you like to ski.
I have to be honest. My Big Mothering Plan involved having a bunch of kids close enough together so that they would play and learn and interact and leave me alone to do my thing. I clean, they play. I feed them, they play. I surf the internet, they watch TV. Predictable and low maintenance mothering. Throw in a few timeouts, a word about Jesus here and there, some outside schooling and sports, and we're in business.
Then Rex came along and completely changed my plan. He doesn't just need English lessons, he needs coordination lessons. He needs to be comfortable with a ball. Do you know what Rex does at recess? He stands by The Pole. I just learned this from his teachers.
The German kids ignore him (since he won't speak to them) and he's too afraid to try anything new, so he waits quietly for recess to be over.
Then he comes home and asks us periodically if we would teach him soccer "like Harrison."
When I ask him why he doesn't play at school he says, "If I try the other kids will laugh at me!" So he doesn't and I want to die.
The next six months is "Project Teach Our Kid Stuff" and I'm amazed at how much we underestimated him. Not only does he run me for two hours straight in the mornings with school until I finally cry Uncle, but he's like a really dried up sponge that just can't get enough. Piano, soccer, reading -- this is, by far, the best and most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life.
I'll be working with him until the fall to get him ready for first grade. At first I was worried we wouldn't get there, but two weeks into this I'm realizing he's far more capable than we ever imagined. The other day, he drew a diagram of a pully system for his animals and asked if he could please build it.
The scary thing? It was totally right. He even had a list of required supplies.
So I'll take this train with him. I think the ride will be far more entertaining than what I was doing in the kitchen.
Annie Valentine is a wife, mother and columnist. Readers can contact her at email@example.com or visit her blog at regardingannie.wordpress.com.