1. Week One. We've been back in the US for a week, no extra curricular activities have started, and my husband and I don't go back to teach for two weeks. A perfect time to ease my twelve-year-old into homeschooling with a lighter lesson load, right?
Wrong. Unlike every other new school year, she seems to have zero motivation, or a big distraction in her new baby brother. Every time I check on her, she's reading, writing her novel, or playing 2048 or some new word search game on her tablet/computer.
I try to tell myself it's only a first week. Out loud I have a break down about my inability to manage life and declare she'll have to enroll in school. I pull myself together and plan for a better next week. Maybe the problem was not enough structure.
2. That weekend, one of her rats gets sick. After much back and forth with the vet school on their emergency line, we hold out until Monday, since she's drinking and eating (but only vanilla Greek yogurt). On Monday, the vet diagnoses a lung infection that went to her ears. She comes back with 6 medications/supplements she has to be fed per day. Plus, she has to go back to the vet every morning to spend 30 minutes in a nebulizer. Except my daughter gets muddled and thinks its a sodomizer...
I try, try, try to encourage my daughter to schedule work time before she leaves and take along work every morning, but she has three rats in three cages to feed (sick rat has to be separated from companion; third rat we bought gets attacked by said companion, hence three cages) plus medications.
In an effort to keep my daughter focused, I forbid her from doing any work in her room without permission, and despair of her ever getting a proper education, despite the fact she's in seventh grade and doing Algebra I and is on her fourth year of Latin.
3. I go into work for a meeting, leaving everyone in charge of the baby, plus a bottle of formula. I return two hours later to the relief of everyone and a very unhappy baby. I have never felt so popular. On the downside, I have to go out and buy a breast pump. I am not blind to the irony that now I am finally laid back enough not to mind giving a baby the odd bottle of formula, I have one who isn't interested. I start to make plans to nurse the baby in class and slap a Title IX lawsuit on anyone who complains.
4. Week three - almost a full school schedule, and the semester begins for my husband and I (I'm teaching two classes two afternoons). I have to get up extra early each morning to pump milk. Before I go in on Tuesday, I try to nurse the baby. He is outraged that I dare to make him feed not on his personal (random) schedule and starts screaming. I leave in trepidation. Half way through, I text my elder daughter as I don't dare call my husband to see how things are going. When she doesn't reply, I imagine the worst. Eventually, she texts that things are OK. They survived by trying to keep him asleep all afternoon.
That same afternoon, $250 and a week of daily vet visits later, the rat dies. If Saint Francis isn't pleading for me at Judgement Day, I want to know why.
5. Off to class again on Thursday, leaving half a bottle of breast milk and one of formula. Get home to find the baby has taken about an ounce, but surprisingly not grumbled over much. Apparently he knows where the real stuff comes from and isn't going to be persuaded otherwise. I think we have to resign ourselves to the fact he is going to fast the few hours I'm gone, and count the weeks until we can give him solids.
6. TGIF - really, really TG. Trying to catch up with housework as we've got two people staying this weekend. Promise my daughter I will take her and her friend for frozen yogurt if she finishes her work, but she spends so long on a Galileo report there's no hope of that. I've just broken down and said I'll take them anyway. I need the
7. And I'm not even thinking about the fact we are flying with my elder daughter to Boston and MIT at the end of the following week. Yes, I have a three-month-old and a college freshman. Proof that God has a sense of humour.
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