It's just a few short hours (okay, about 38 or so) before our little Plumtree Nursery School lifts off, and if you are reading a rocket analogy in this, well, that's just what our house has felt like over the last couple of days. Not that there haven't been fun spots, like the long walk we took as a family yesterday, but there's a lot of scurrying around, checking lists, childproofing once again as well as making sure that things are also child friendly. All the activity reminds me of NASA before a countdown at Cape Canaveral.
I'm loving how the space is shaping up. Little nooks for housekeeping play, for puzzle work, for blocks. A cozy place to sit and look at books. Our school table sits with it's little stools beneath, waiting for children to come and draw or work playdough or for us to eat lunch together. Lunchtime is when the children best connect, because there's all this relaxed time to just be. Lunch from home is even better; the conversations that surround food from home are usually pretty interesting and funny. I'm looking forward to seeing block structures or hearing the children pretend to cook or sit and read picture books to themselves and each other.
The backyard is exciting too. We had to make some thoughtful decisions in regard to some purchases. This meant spending less on some items (thank you, IKEA!) and spending more on what one might consider a silly thing: mulch. I asked quite a few questions at the nursery and chose shredded hemlock for the fact that it is softest and least likely to cause slivers. I want the children to have fun playing, and this was the perfect option. The hemlock is less chunky underfoot than playground bark chips and just looks and feels nice. The sandbox is filled with fresh, clean sand. I planted a row of bulbs up against the house where the children are less likely to play, so we'd have some color while we waited for our seeds to sprout.
There are lots of open places around: atop cabinets and on some shelves and on the walls. They look like blank, unused space, but I want this school to grow organically. This means that we're going to have to give the children space and time to "move into" the school. When this session is done, our little school should be a reflection of our time together and showcase what the children value. I've got some very fun plans for our first month of winter and each day includes some time to explore what interests the children. It will be interesting to see what the school looks like as summer approaches and this season ends.
Kiddo, in the midst of all this, is very tender and more tearful. He knows that he's to have friends come and play in the mornings sometimes, but little else. As circumstances have dictated that we start off small, many of our everyday toys--some are mine from my life as a preschool teacher and nanny prior to motherhood--will be out and circulating. The guitars and drums and his precious things are all being tucked away in his room, to stay there during school hours. There were some things I was willing to spend less on as the substitutes were suitable, but I am still saving up for a decent wool rug and for a separate play kitchen that I've had my eye on for Plumtree since I first saw it. I want my son to have some separation and feel a little guilty about having even his less-precious toys out, but we all have to deal with the reality of the situation and do the best for now with what we've got.
And we've got a lot. As frustrated as we've been about Joe's former job situation--they still haven't contacted us in regard to insurance continuance or his 401K, nor has his Paid Time Off yet been paid out--I think it's safe to say that it's been wonderful to have him at home and available to help. Today he dismantled the old bolt on the bathroom door so the kids can't lock themselves in. He's done so many things that I don't haven't a clue about, and been such great support. We are trying to negotiate the conflicting worlds of me wanting to feel celebratory that we're really doing our preschool thing (hooray!) and his feeling very rightfully screwed over and the sobering affect that calling up various state and federal agencies to report these violations has had. Having to repeatedly tell his story keeps those circumstances too present for us at times, and we have to make time to just be our normal, everyday selves as we were before. It's easy to let this kind of injustice consume you, but we can't. We've got a life to live, and we have to put it all in perspective and keep going forward.
And besides, we've got a preschool to launch.
10. 9. 8........