Last weeks' h/school was not much to write home about. I read out loud, we played a few games, did our extra curricular activities, and just worked at getting through a really rough week. Matthew struggled his way through the week, and the rest of us tried to hang in there while he struggled.
It feels like we're at a crisis point with Matthew in his adjustment to having siblings, and I really, really hope that we begin the downward slide into acceptance at some point in the near future. There's no guarantee that acceptance is on route, but I'm sure hoping. Adopting older children and adding them to a family with only one child can really do a number, long term, on that once-only child. Despite his love for his siblings, Matthew's highly sensitive nature has made his suffering quite difficult and very hard to watch and try to help him through. It really felt as if last week was largely comprised of managing extreme behaviour and having deep and difficult conversations; and I don't think we're done yet. I'm sure some of those conversations have resulted in a few more gray hairs appearing on my head.
Side note: To top it all off, in the van on Friday, Seth began asking a lot of very specific questions about boy's bodies and private parts and how babies are made from men's sperm and women's eggs. I sighed inwardly, having had enough sensitive conversation for the week, but what's one to do?? I've always felt good about being very direct and matter-of-fact about these kinds of topics, because I don't want my kids feeling ashamed about their bodies or reluctant to ask questions or ignorant about how their bodies function. So I sucked up my own wish for a little peace and quiet and had yet another frank conversation and Q&A with the kids about the birds and the bees. I think they're becoming quite learned on the subject! And, to be honest, it turned out to be a nice change of pace to be able to talk about something factually, rather than having to twist my innards inside out looking for the wisest way to respond to the other kinds of situations and conversations that we engaged in last week.
After reading my self-pitying posts last week, many of you were kind enough to leave me a note here; in addition, a few lovely friends emailed or phoned to tell me that they were praying for me and, though the week didn't get much easier as it progressed, I felt totally uplifted and encouraged by those prayers and by the hugs I received and conversations I was able to have. I am honoured to know a lot of lovely people! One friend, as well as my mother, actually gave me muffins - home baked love offerings meant to ease my angst about not having baked since before Christmas...how sweet was that!?! My kids have been devouring them!
Friday turned out to be a pretty good day for me. I decided that we were just going to forget about being home that day and do something a little different. So at about 9:00 in the morning, I packed the kids into the van and we headed off to IKEA. We lingered over breakfast (I still can't believe how cheap their meals are - approx. $11 for the four of us, including beverages for everyone), and then I put the kids into the child care place for an hour. Matthew was dying to go in to the child care place (he likes to tell people that he's been to daycare because he's been in an IKEA child care centre a few times!) and so he slouched just a little so that he was eligible to enter.
I enjoyed a lovely hour wandering the aisles, and picked up a few things to help me organize my pantry a little. It was a restful hour and I smiled my way through my break.
We then headed to my parents' house for lunch (meal #2 I didn't have to prepare) and shortly after we arrived, I said good-bye to them all and headed off for a planned outing on my own. My parents were kind enough to take all three kids to their first h/school karate class, which I understand they all loved.
Meanwhile I got to attend a 2.5 hour Gordon Neufeld-based session on Alpha children. Our province has a Neufeld Chapter that meets once a month, and I'm one of the folks who has taken enough courses to qualify to attend these meetings; however, this is the first I have been able to attend in a year, given that I don't generally have child care.
It was awesome. I'm so glad that I was able to attend because I have known for some time that my middle child is definitely and clearly an alpha child; I need to know more about how to work with him in this area. The coming few Chapter meetings are all focused on alpha children and I'm pretty determined to figure out a way to make my attendance happen so that I can capitalize on the stuff I need to learn.
The day was capped of by my parents taking us out for dinner (note: I didn't have to prep a single meal that day!), and that's how somehow, by hook or by crook, we made it through the week. Now, at the dawn of a new week, I'm hoping for a better start, because we have school to get done and lives to live to the fullest.
Thank you all so much for your kindness and support of me last week. I'm often so reluctant to share some of the hard stuff here, but whenever I have (and I will again...maybe even this week!) you've been so awesome at holding me up until I can find my feet again. Thank you.