Shopping cart turned luggage cart.
We totally cheated when buying two of Zinashi's Christmas gifts, buying her things that we would have bought anyway. Oh, maybe we bought slightly nicer (more expensive) versions, but they were still items we would have gotten before our next trip. However, she was thrilled with her own rolling suitcase and kid-sized headphones, so I guess we all won. She is constantly playing travel, either going to the airport or being on the airplane. This is why taking my family on vacation made my list of three intentions for the year. She loves traveling, but also craves the familiar, so mostly we will go places that she knows. A trip back to Kansas City to see everyone we love and show off Elvie will be the first trip. I'm pretty sure Zinashi already has that suitcase packed and ready to go, though we don't yet know just when we'll be able to safely travel with Elvie.
Playing school is better than actually doing school, but little does she know, it's the same thing.
One of the reasons that we decided to homeschool is that we love to travel and want to cultivate that love in our children, and we prefer to do it in the off season. It's cheaper, for one, and less crowded, for two. We find that the trip is much more relaxed when we haven't spent every last penny on airfare and aren't battling large crowds. With that and Zinashi's other needs in mind, I walked into the school administrative offices last week to ask if we could enroll her for two days per week in the public Montessori school. I felt it was reasonable, and it would give Zinashi a chance to try it out without the stress of going every day. Then, if it was a good fit and we decided to enroll her full time in the fall, it would be easy to travel and not have to worry about keeping up with curriculum since Montessori learning is at the child's own pace.
I had high hopes, but it didn't work out. Even though there is a space on the form asking how they can better meet the special needs of your particular child, when I told them what we actually needed, which is to introduce her to classroom life gradually, it was met with a curt, "She has to go every day. It's all or nothing." So we chose nothing, and I sat down with her that night and told her. She was disappointed, but mostly because it's something our ten-year-old neighbor gets to do, and she thinks that everything he does is something she should be able to do, too. If there are more compelling reasons to enroll her in school in the future, then we will do it. For now, though, we were firm. The answer is no. Let's make homeschool work for us.
The next morning she got dressed, packed a backpack, and walked into the office. "Teacher, I am at school," she said, "What should I do at school?" So I proceeded to give her little lessons to copy from the white board. Each day she has done the same things, gotten dressed, packed her backpack, and started calling me teacher. It is working for us. She is learning, and she is more confident, and it feels less like pulling teeth. She asks now for things that she knows they do in "real school" and doesn't ask to actually go. I think she feels better, knowing that we have decided, but that we have also listened to what she'd like to experience. This sometimes means worksheets, which cracks me up. She also wants homework. No problem. I can do that.
Always in style, that girl. The layered look is her fave.
We have been reminiscing a lot lately about the early days with Zinashi. For Christmas breakfast, she wanted to have the same thing we had the very first day when we brought her home with us, so we did it. She's been asking to see pictures and watch videos, both of our month together in Ethiopia as a brand new family and the months after she arrived home. She told me that she wants to be younger, so she can be little and cute. I told her that she is cute now, and that I love all the things she can do now, and how much better we can communicate with each other. But I understand what she means, too. If I could choose time to live over, I would most definitely choose that first month with Zinashi in Ethiopia. It was hard, and it was stressful, but it was also really beautiful and peaceful. I love our life now, and obviously I wouldn't trade having added Elvie to our family or come so far in Zinashi's healing for anything, but our past with Zinashi is precious, and I would indeed do it all over again. In a heartbeat, I would.