Thursday, August 21, 2008

Magic School Bus

On Saturday we took Amelia(o) back to the feed store, where he was warmly received. They remembered Pip and assured us that he went to a good home. Amelia(o) looked big and lonesome in the cage we brought him in, and it was hard to walk away from him in his new cage at the feed store. There were still plenty of new chicks, and even quail chicks... so small they could fit in a teaspoon. All very tempting, but I've finally learned when to say "later."

I marvel at my ability to overlook the obvious, to remain hopeful in the face of sad, and glaring reality. I made one last visit to the yard to look for some decisive evidence, something conclusive to convince me that Amelia(o) did not have to leave. I was hoping she would be sitting on an egg, but instead I found her doing a series of poses and postures that were decidedly cockerel-like. Argghh. If you are reading this and thinking,"Geez, what's the hold-up? Of course he's a rooster..." well, what can I say? It's no fun to let go of someone everyone in the family loves, a companion to Betty, a fine bird... hen or rooster. So, yes, I stalled. And when I look back, I realize I've known all along this little fellow was no chica.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or, you might ask: Which comes first, the home or the school? There are 2 distinct cities we seem to have narrowed our search down to for finding our house. They are far apart, in many ways. So when we thought we were settled on City 1, I enrolled the boys in school and immersed our lives in all the details involved with registration and commuting and tracking down transcripts. It was a total shift in geography and forward thinking... cart before the horse kind of stuff. I will spare you the details, but it did not work, so I had to hastily, apologetically revert to moving back to City 2. City 2 schools are really peeved with me for being a last minute entrant... imagine the thrill of being on the bad side of 3 different registrars.

Max is in school now, and looking about as small and lonesome as Amelia did. It's a very big school, with a lot of students. His personality, his particular vulnerabilities, make "normal" situations especially challenging for him. I don't think most people can appreciate how hard he works just to do things most of us take for granted. Crowds and stimulus are overwhelming for him. Disruption, changes and new environments are painfully difficult for him to adapt to. He struggles to cope with unruly behavior, with loud noises, with the pressure of typical social interactions. And he will muster all of his courage and effort to comply and do everything right and good, so much so that he will agonize over the littlest details. Sigh.

When he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, they recommended homeschooling for him and I think it has made all the difference. His year in Montessori was good too. He was able to branch out and his world grew with his confidence. If his new school interferes with his confidence, with his ability to learn and feel comfortable, we may return to homeschooling. Sigh. Lots of sighing, I know. It relieves pressure.

OKay. Who remembers when we brought home 2 little bantams, and named them Fantam, the Dark Bantam and Buttercup? Do you see any butter here? Can you even tell which one we would have named Buttercup? Fantam is the rounder, plumper, fluffier chica in the foreground and Buttercup is the lean and lanky, very dark chica in the back. We've talked about holding a chica re-naming contest, because she is so very unbuttery!

Betty and Amelia paired-off and henpecked the 2 bantams, but now Betty is without her companion. I think she is slowly warming up to Buttercup and Fantam. She still lets them know she is top of the pecking order, but I see them together in the same areas of the yard, so hopefully they will develop a happy, friendly dynamic.

William and Alex start school on Monday. They are each going to high school this year, and they will each attend a campus best suited to their needs and interests. Naturally their needs and interests are the point and foremost in our thoughts, but please, let us pause and consider the tactical, logistical tangled web I am facing. 3 campuses, 3 start times, 3 pick-up times, 3 compass directions + 1 super mom to coordinate it all and 1 super sister who is already heartbroken to be missing 1 brother. I am filling calendars and drawing up flowcharts, but I cannot help but believe that magic will have to come in to play, somehow. I may have to start drinking coffee after all.

When I asked for your help and encouragement, well, I had no idea how much support and good thoughts we would receive. Every bit of it is appreciated, very much. The comments and exchanges keep me sane and reassured, you give me an extra reason to smile, to renew my resolve. So, thank you. Thank you.


Lesley said...

Big changes at Garage Mahal — phew! Thinking of you in this difficult period.
Do we still have a date for the quilt show?

nikkipolani said...

Three schools sounds like it'll keep you quite busy. I'm still hoping and praying that the property of your dreams will come along. Natalie, that first photo of Amelio is magical, indeed. How do your bantams feel about Betty?

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

Yikes! That's a lot of different things that you'll have to do every school day. Don't worry, you'll be able to do it. Make some new friends at each of the schools to help whenever the logistics don't mesh all the time. :-)

On the bright side, Garage Mahal will become decidely feminine during the days -- Maria, yourself and all those hens.

And of course, your readers are always here to lend a virtual shoulder to lean on.

Mama Spark said...

Ok,I know what you need to do.Move to Michigan and become my neighbor!! Won't you be my neighbor? We could have the most amazing Halloween parties.
Hope you get a chance to settle soon!

amy smith said...

oh my.
you are brave.
very, very brave.

Laura Jane said...

Oh Yikes Natalie. Gulp.

Its a phase, its just a phase (hoping, denial, I'm right with ya!)

My heart is in my mouth too about Max. Well I remember the anxiety about a special kid who needs to fit in and survive (please God, will she ever get any better at the things you described to a T)

I'm with ya!

Tilly said...

I agree with Tami - ask for help! Most mums understand what it's like to be stretched beyond your limits so would be only to glad to help out. Still sending good vibes and extra special settling in good wishes for Max.

Sabine said...

Oh help, and I thought I was going trough a difficult phase in my life!(looking for a room for my son in another city, daughter going to another school in september, and living without a living and dining room for the next 4 months, due to renovations).
I wish you all the luck in finding a home, and oh dear, I can imagine how you worry for your son! Big and crowdy schools are so unpleasant and overwhelming...

Julie said...

I got tears in my eyes reading about Max choosing your house. What a sweet boy!

Ms. Ellaneous said...

I just came across your blog, I am in the middle of sending kids back to four different new schools. They have been homeschooled for two years and are going to attend the public schools. I am sighing an awful lot too! I laughed out loud about the late entry, we signed the freshman up three days ago! It was great to find your blog at just the right time. Good luck with the transportation. Wishing you a little magic.-Amy