I got both kids to sleep, snuck out of the bedroom, and wandered around the apartment. I enjoyed the quiet, contemplated putting in some laundry, surveyed the messy zones and mentally prioritized what needed to be addressed. Within five minutes both kids were up again, most likely a side effect of the rainy day spent mostly indoors and the limitless kinetic energy still swirling in their tiny bodies. I was crestfallen. Sweet freedom, snatched from my fingertips! I went back in and Ella wanted to nurse, Ben wanted me to snuggle. I whispered to Ben furiously, “You were both just asleep! What happened!?” He said, “Ella woke me up. Hug me.” I was still mad but I felt the edges soften a little. It is amazing how often seemingly important immediate demands conflict with the things that offer long term satisfaction and linger in sweet memories. I took a deep breath of Ella’s freshly washed hair on one side and wrapped my arm around Ben on the other and I felt free in that moment, suspended in the sensation of being aware that these times of long bedtimes and short personal time won’t last forever. Ben is already five, he is not going to want me to hold him while he falls asleep for too many more years. Already when I look at his wiry body jumping and running around and hear more logic in his thoughts, I can see that he is about to make the switch from little kid to big kid. I’m pretty sure when his baby teeth start falling out he’ll have crossed over. Ella is already moving out of the realm of babyhood, she recently started answering questions with “ken” or “lo” (yes or no in Hebrew) or by shaking her head. Just like that, she’s a tiny person with a clear opinion. Ben is thrilled that she is seeking out his attention and playing with him more and more.
I’m really enjoying watching my kids this week! Sometimes I find it so hard to balance the necessities of caretaking with actually enjoying my kids, other times it’s easy. Overall, this week feels like the most successful so far in terms of homeschooling. The kids are generally familiar with the schedule and the places we are going. They are also becoming more of a team so I find them much easier to deal with. I notice much less rivalry and I hear “It’s not fair!” far fewer times each day. Ben and Ella are both making friends in the homeschool community, which is awesome to watch. I absolutely love the groups of people we have met so far, and I feel very relieved that we made this decision. I have seen beautiful changes in Ben in just a few months of being at home and taking individual classes rather than being at school all day every day. He does complain sometimes about going to the classes and says that he just wants to stay home all day, but it is entirely obvious that he needs the physical exercise and the mental and social stimulation.
I am ready to call it quits for the night but I hope to be back soon with a more specific homeschooling update and some photos of our adventures!