I wasn't planning on teaching again this year, but when it came down to it, things fell into place too perfectly for me to not feel like that was the right direction for our family. I feel so incredibly lucky that things have worked out this way because I really never planned to work after I had children, and if the stars hadn't aligned so perfectly I never would have.
When I left work last year right before I had Pearl, I knew that I wasn't going to be coming back to teach. I didn't want the stress and pressure of getting babies out of bed early and dragging them into school with me (because by some miracle I am allowed to bring my children with me). So I had pretty much thought that I was done. But then this summer the founder of the school (Gail Williamsen) offered me a position as a teacher mentor, helping the teachers in the classrooms plan for and know how to work with the students that have disabilities. That position basically gives me the flexibility to come and go when I (and my kids) need to. I try to be there Tuesday through Thursday for about 3 hours in the morning, but if I can't be for some reason, I don't have the pressure of a classroom full of kids that need me. It is the best of both worlds because I am still working with these precious little students that I adore, helping them learn to succeed, but I definitely feel like my number one priority and obligation gets to be to my own babies. It is such a blessing.
Like I said, George and Pearl get to come with me. Pearl sleeps most of the time that I am there (she has her own little room with her Pack 'n Play set up), and I wear her in a sling when she is awake. The kids LOVE her. George gets to go to his very own class this year (last year I kept him in with me), and he is loving it so much. I was really worried about this at first because I hadn't planned to put him in pre-school this year at all. I still felt like 3 was a little too young for that. But holy cow, he was ready for it way more than I was because he is sad when it isn't a school day (he is just there the same three mornings a week that I am).
Now that things have all worked out this way I have realized the enormous blessings that have come from this. What a blessing to have G in such a beautiful school, learning with the montessori methods and materials that I have come to value and love so much. The tuition for his class is $200.00 a month-- a price we could NEVER afford right now, and what a blessing it is that we don't have to pay for a dime of it since I am teaching there. What a blessing for me to keep up on my teaching skills and still have the opportunity to spend some time working with these little ones that truly brighten my life. What a blessing that I am able to contribute to our family financially and take a little bit of that burden off of my incredibly overloaded husband. And most importantly, what a blessing that I am still able to mother my children, to feel like they are getting all of me that they need, and to realize that this change of scenery is good for them. There are other parts of our lives that are challenging (and even this isn't perfect-- I still sometimes would rather stay in bed and cuddle than get up and get ready), but in this area we are feeling full of blessings and are so grateful.
Here is G, in all of his first-day-of-school glory. He was so excited and happy.
A little kiss before we left. Nevermind the fact that I look like I am in pain.
And then there is John. I do not know how on earth he managed to make his hobbies and passions his school and career path, but his classes this semester (things like aquatic entomology and limnology) cannot possibly feel like school to him since the homework involves things like this:
hi gross little guy!
Remember how he has been collecting and preserving aquatic insects for the past couple of years just for fun? Yes, well now he is required to. It is almost comical when he calls me up and tells me that he HAS to go on an overnight field trip to a river or lake somewhere with one of his classes. Last night I helped him sort and label some of the samples from his most recent gathering expedition. I decided that I was most helpful in the labeling arena-- picking up dead, squishy bugs with forceps really doesn't thrill me that much.
His job on the left, my job on the right, thank you very much.
I am glad I was paying enough attention last night to realize that John has been using our plastic food containers to sort bugs in. I asked in horror if he has always been doing that, and he never really answered, which means that of course he has. I kindly suggested that he could just go ahead and keep those little tupperware containers as his very own bug sorting ones. I am positive that before this conversation those had just been getting put in the dishwasher and then put away in the cupboard ready to store leftovers in. Ew.
As much as I dislike looking at the jumble of icky bugs floating in my tupperware, I have to admit that they look kind of cool once they are sorted into their vials.
Here was last night's finished products, all lined up and ready to be organized into the boxes of bugs that live above my computer. John said that I was talking in my sleep about something being "so gross and disgusting." Can you really blame me when this is what I did right before bed?